We come to the right conclusion, based on 1 Corinthians 13, that miraculous gifts no longer exist, but we then make the broad statement that miracles don’t happen today. There is a difference between miraculous gifts (performed by men) and miracles (performed by God). The cessation of the former does not demand the cessation of the latter.
We go to great lengths to prove that the Holy Spirit does not literally indwell believers today. We argue that the Word indwells us, Christ indwells us, God indwells us…and because none of these indwellings are literal, the indwelling of the Spirit must not be literal. We draw the conclusion that the Spirit dwells in us representatively through the Word…so that as we study, the Spirit’s influence over us increases. Whether the Spirit literally indwells us our not, the Scriptures are abundantly clear to any honest observer that believers have a very real and very intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit. And yet we detach ourselves from Him.
We argue based on Galatians 1:6-8 and Jude 3 that God’s revelation to mankind was completed in the first century. God no longer reveals law to us. We then draw the conclusion that because God doesn’t speak law to us anymore, He must no longer speak to us at all anymore. How is this even remotely a necessary correlation? And yet so many brethren mock and condemn those who believe that God has spoken to them. If someone believes that God has spoken to them in some way, and it does not represent law or a contradiction of what has already been revealed, why would we tell them that they are lying or self-deceived?
We make the case that Christians are instructed (by both command and example) to pray to God the Father through Jesus Christ. He is our Intercessor and Mediator, after all. While it is true, I believe, that we direct our requests and petitions to the Father, there is no logical reason to conclude that such a pattern forbids all communication with the Son or even the Spirit. “Talking to” Jesus and petitioning the Father are two totally different things, just as petitioning a Judge and talking to one’s lawyer or friend are not mutually exclusive.
In all of this, many believers water-down the believer’s relationship with God. We argue that God no longer performs miracles in the world, that the Spirit is no longer directly active in our lives, that God cannot speak in any way to His people (other than through the Word given 2,000 years ago), and that we cannot utter a word to Jesus, only through Him. While we may acknowledge the potential of a deeper relationship with the Father (through obedience), we have, in essence, relegated Jesus and the Spirit to the annals of history. Even though we may acknowledge the Father to a greater degree, we still limit His power and influence.
It’s no wonder that so many Christians struggle to experience intimacy with God.
And I honestly wonder how we can even develop intimacy with God if we have pushed away the Spirit and the Son. After all, God is three, but one. The unity of the Godhead cannot be broken. How can we have the Father if we have pushed away the Son and Spirit?
I resolve to begin talking to Jesus. I resolve to invite the Spirit into my life. I resolve to be open to the voice and leading of God. And I have repented of pushing God away. It’s not that I expect, necessarily, to hear God’s voice audibly, or to witness a grand miracle before the day is out, but I absolutely do not want to be guilty of limiting God. I want the fullness of the power and strength promised in the holy Scriptures, whatever that may be.