What is a miracle?

What is a miracle? 

Our culture today uses the word “miracle” to mean just about anything that is amazing or extremely unusual. Even within the Church the word “miracle” is loosely used for everything that amazes us or not easily explained. But what really is a biblical miracle?

There is no universally agreed-on biblical definition of miracle but probably the most useful one is: A miracle is a supernatural event, that cannot reasonably be explained in terms of human abilities or other known forces in the world, that is a direct act of a supernatural God and understood as a sign pointing to God as redeemer, judge, and Savior.

A biblical definition for miracle is important so that we do not depreciate an actual miracle by using the term in an insincere way for non-miracles. For example, over the last few weeks I heard multiple times, “It will be a miracle if NC State wins the NCAA tournament.” Well, it might surprise the Duke and UNC fans, but it wouldn’t defy the laws of nature. So that wouldn’t be a miracle.
When we look at Paul’s ministry to take the gospel to the Gentiles we see that Christ accomplished His work through Paul by the power of the word of the gospel, deeds of the gospel, signs and wonders (miracles), and the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:18-19).
What about signs and wonders (miracles) today? Did God de-supernaturalize the Church when the apostles died? Should we expect that God might send signs and wonders and work miracles in the same way today when we share the word of the gospel and do deeds of the gospel with the lost world? I say yes, but most likely not in the same measure that the apostles experienced miraculous power as the Church was being established and God's Word was being given by the Holy Spirit. I don’t see any persuasive reason given in the New Testament that God has declared that miracles were suspended after Christ and the apostles. But there are lists of miraculous gifts for the church (not just apostles) in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10. I believe that God intends to support and empower His word and His people with miracles in our day especially on front-line missions. The more we are involved in the lives of unbelievers, praying and speaking the word of the gospel for their salvation, the more we will long for God’s supernatural powerful work to be displayed to awaken their souls from death.

Don’t forget, If you are a Christian, it took a miracle for God to supernaturally change your nature from dead in sin to alive in Christ. It is called the new birth (John 3:3). The devil uses all kinds of spiritual weapons to thwart salvation of those who are dead in sin and against Christians to keep us from producing fruit and not pursuing Christ-likeness.

Let us pray for signs and wonders to awaken the hardened heart to see that there is a loving, all-powerful God desiring them to be made new by the power of the Holy Spirit through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

See you Sunday, loving the God of miracles: Steve

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