Question:

I have a friend who believes, like many people, that spiritual gifts still exist. He says to believe that they don't is limiting the Holy Spirit. I told him that I see that as the opposite being true. To say that some have the gift of healing today and many many others don't is saying that God is a respecter of persons, which we know He is not. For someone to "call" on the Holy Spirit to "perform" some act limits the Holy Sprirt, as I believe that He is everywhere at once and everyone has access to Him. It's not as if He needs to be called out of the clouds to come into our presence, but He is always present and our power is in prayer. If we pray believing that He will heal someone and knowing that His will be done, then we must accept that and in the fullness of His time we will understand everything. Am I close?

Answer:

There are two problems which need to be addressed. First, the claim that anyone can limit God's power is facetious. "For the LORD of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back?" (Isaiah 14:27). The question has never been about what God could do. The question has always been what God has chosen to do. God could choose to miracles today, but that isn't what God said was His choice.

Miracles were not done simply to be doing. They were gifts that helped confirm that those delivering the words of God were from God. "God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will" (Hebrews 2:4). The gifts were no longer needed once the word was delivered and confirmed, "But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things" (I Corinthians 13:10-11). Your friend is contending that God didn't mean what He said.

The second problem is that the definition of "miracle" is too broad. See: Do miracles happen everyday? The definition being used is so broad that any change in the world is being called a miracle, thus the impact of true miracles described in the Bible is being watered down. The birth of a child is a great event, but it isn't a miracle. Despite the repeated claims, true miracles, such as those found recorded in the Bible, do not occur today.

God's answers to our prayers are not miracles. He does answer our prayers -- sometimes in ways that leaves us in awe at what He accomplishes. But those answers come through God's providence -- His manipulation of His world from behind the scenes to direct the course in the direction He wishes it to go.

Thank you so much for answering my question so clearly. These are scriptures I will memorize. I appreciate your time in answering me.