I am a Charismatic in the eyes of other people, and indeed I am that in terms of Biblical conviction and spiritual experience. I feel though as Charismatics in Scotland we are maybe going round the same roundabout we have been going round for years and failing to have any significant impact for the Kingdom of God in Scotland. Our concentration on looking for more healings, more signs and wonders, is making the wrong things central. These things matter but what is God really calling His people to in these days?
Signs and wonders were there in the Old Covenant. What is the essence of the New Covenant spoken of in Jeremiah, ratified by the shedding of Jesus blood who was put forward as a sacrifice for sin by God Himself, as distinct from the accompanying signs which verified both covenants, albeit that in the New these signs accompany the many not the few, as God sovereignly chooses? I think our pursuit of more healings, more signs, more wonders, is hindering what is truly on God’s agenda.
Still thinking this through for myself, but it arises from reading a book by someone committed to signs and wonders, a truly good man, and feeling strangely empty and disappointed, feeling, as I say, that I was being taken round the same roundabout, just by another face and another name, using slightly different language…
Don’t get me wrong. I thank God for signs and wonders, healings, prophecies etc., but there is something more that God has in mind to do. He is waiting I believe for our coming into line with His desires. God’s sovereignty and our responsibility are both there in Scripture. Someone said on Facebook recently that in answer to a question about the reconciling of God’s Sovereignty and our Responsibility, Charles Spurgeon said that in Scripture God’s Sovereignty and our Responsibility are friends: there is no need to reconcile friends.
Maybe I have not grasped what you wanted to emphasise. The essence of the new covenant is surely that we who have been convicted and quickened into life by Holy Spirit are now no longer under the Law of sin and death but are under the new Law of Life and love?
That makes no mention of chasing signs and wonders. Our new life is Holy Spirit enabling us by His love to live as He would have us live ie Him living in and through us and all that this results in.
Sovereignty and our responsibility: the sacrifice made by righteous God in human form demands responsibility for our obedience and listening in order to follow Him.
That reminds me of some wonderful words in Psalm 85:10 that first fascinated me about 20 years ago. Part of that verse means there was sundering, then reconciliation.
I believe that God is calling us to be holy. To live as Jesus taught us to live, as hard as that sometimes is, and to love as Jesus taught us to love. I worry that we are becoming thrill seekers and celebrity followers. I worry that we are over concerned with growth and under concerned with connection both with God and with his people. It’s hard to resist the pull of the dominant culture but I long for people to know the extraordinary beauty of God’s presence, out of which come all the signs and wonders that we need.
When at a recent Christian event I was saddened to see the supernatural seminars (prophecy, signs & wonders) packed out and the Bible teaching (truths for daily living) seminars empty. Is this a sign of the times for the church? There seems to be a drawing into hyped up mysticism and sadly not biblical as far as my meagre understanding of scripture. The church body seems to be scripturally malnourished. I read recently that “until prophetic messengers stop giving the people what they crave (sugary words of destiny) and start feeding them what they need (the word) we will have spiritual babies with empty bellies and rotten teeth”.