Class: The Holy Spirit: Miracles and Providence


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The Holy Spirit: Miracles and Providence

By Don Ruhl

The Holy Spirit And Miracles

Miracles were worked by the power of the Holy Spirit.

1Co 12.4–11

Heb 2.4

However, the mere the presence of the Holy Spirit does not automatically denote the workings of miracles. Some people see in every biblical reference to the Holy Spirit an implication of the miraculous. The Holy Spirit certainly has miraculous power and He will use it on the last great day to raise our bodies (Rom 8.11). However, this is far from saying (either explicitly or implicitly), that miracles happen automatically or simply exude from the presence of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has a will, He can decide to withhold His miraculous power (Heb 2.4; 1Co 12.11), if He so chooses, and He has according to His promise (1Co 13.8–10), because the perfect or complete thing has come.

The nature of miracles:

All physical ailments were healed – Matt 4.23–24

All were healed who wanted to be – Matt 12.15; Mark 9.20–25; Acts 5.16

Healing and other miracles happened instantaneously

Luke 8.43–47

Acts 3.6–8

Luke, a physician, was competent to observe an immediate healing.

All miraculous cures were complete, bringing perfect health

John 7.23

Acts 3.16

Acts 4.9

Miracles superseded or suspended the laws of nature temporarily

for a specific purpose.

Mark 16.20

John 20.30–31

Heb 2.3–4

Therefore, every event we think is wonderful or inexplicable does not equal a biblical miracle. Was the Lord, or His Spirit, still at work?

Christians have the Holy Spirit, but miracles are not an inherent blessing of His indwelling. Some early disciples had miraculous power, which they received from the Holy Spirit, but not even all first–century disciples had miraculous ability (1Co 12.28–30). Notice the rhetorical questions, which do not expect answers, because the answers are obvious. Let us recognize the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in saints without attaching to it a requirement that a miraculous manifestation is innate with the indwelling. Is the Holy Spirit capable of controlling His miraculous energy? Is the Holy Spirit competent to work any other way?

The Holy Spirit And Providence

The non–existence of miracles does not negate the present–day workings of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not restricted to miraculous work.

We have already observed the non–miraculous, yet providential work of the Holy Spirit. Here are some of the providential workings of the Holy Spirit:

The conversion of a sinner

The indwelling of a saint

His leadership when we mind spiritual things and submit to the law of God

His testimony to the Father about our sonship

His intercessions to the Father on our behalf

God the Father works providentially, and all acknowledge this truth, why can we not accept the proposition that the Holy Spirit works providentially? The Father works through the Holy Spirit to accomplish various works, whether miraculous (Gen 1.2), or providential (Rom 8). The Holy Spirit had a visible work in the first century (Acts 8.18), even as Jesus did (1Jo 1.1), but even as Jesus continues to work today behind the scenes (Heb 7.25; Matt 28.20; 18:20), so does the Holy Spirit (Rom 8.26–27; Gal 5.22–23).

The nature of providence To work in harmony with the laws of nature and the daily affairs of men, directing such events for the benefit of mankind (Matt 5.45; Acts 14.17); but giving special attention to His children (Pro 3.5–6; 16.3; Rom 8.28). Providence is not a display to dazzle the eyes, causing astonishment like miracles did, but it is designed to cause men, or at least make available to men, the evidence for contemplating God’s existence (Rom 1.20), and His goodness and generosity (Acts 14.17).

Work with the providence of the Holy Spirit. We do not work alone (Phi 2.12–13). Trust that His providence shall supply all things that are necessary to accomplish His will (Matt 6.24–34; 2Co 9.8; Phi 1.19, 20; 4.19; Gen 22.8).

Consider Luke 11.13. Not the indwelling, which occurs at obedience (Acts 2.38; 5.32). Before obedience God does not hear prayer. Compare Matt 7.11.God gives good gifts, but evidently does so through the providence of the Holy Spirit. When we ask for good things God makes the Holy Spirit available to us to do the work of providence.