By Gab Salamanes,
QUESTION: Are miracles signs that a Christian group is truly of God and is saved? And, is it true that many Pentecostals are attracted into Charismatic movement because Pentecostals are so legalistic in this doctrine of Holiness in that it hinders church growth?
MY ANSWER: The age of miracles is not past, because the God of Miracles did not cease to exist, neither His power to do it. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb.13:8). Yes, there are counterfeit miracles, because there are different powers distributed by God to all His creation, even to Satan who was one of His original angels. There is evil power that can make a miracle, but there is also divine power that can make a miracle. A good Christian can also perform miracles even his life is not consistent with God’s word. The gifts and callings of God are without repentance. But Matthee 7:21-23 speaks of spiritually-gifted believers of Christ who can work wonders and miracles but will be rejected by God in the last days for not bearing the fruit of righteousness, holiness, and truth. It is doing the will of God that is important. Rejoice not because we have the power to cast out demons, but because our names are written in the book of Life.
God did not ask us to aspire for gifts (1Corinthians 12). Gifts are gifts, they are freely given to us by God based on our capacity to handle and use it. But God is looking for the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Not because you have the power to heal, and power to work miracles then you are already accepted by God. It is God who work through you, not you yourself. Therefore, God can use anyone to be a vessel of miracles. But God did not say you will escape hell because He is using you in the ministry of miracles. No! I would like to tell you that there are so many souls agonizing in hell today because of their failure to handle the gifts and calling of God in their lives while they live on earth before. In fact, many pastors, evangelists, men of God, women of God, and Christian leaders are cursed to hell by God for abusing the authority and power that God has given to them. Many were filled with vain glory, thinking that they are something when in fact they are nothing.
Even if you are a soulwinner and miracle-worker, if you still live in sin and harbor unforgiveness in your heart, you will still go to hell if you died if you did not repent of it. God is just. He will not bring to heaven a pastor of million followers if the pastor has more than one wife, or is guilty of greed for money and honor. A man of God on earth who accepted the applause and praise of men without giving God all the glory will be thrown by God to hellfire for taking the glory of God to himself.
Holiness, Righteousness, and Truth are serious matters; serious enough that if you will not abide in these heaven’s eternal standards will prevent any Christian from entering heaven’s holy gates.
(1) Follow peace with all men, and (2) holiness, without WHICH no man shall see the Lord (Heb.12:14). The reason why you won’t see the Lord because no unholy person will ever inherit heaven. The reason why you won’t see God because hell will be your destination if you will not live in true Holiness and purity (Matthew 5:8). I do not say I am pure and holy enough that is why I can say all of these. I can’t manufacture my own holiness. I have to depend wholly and totally to God, surrendering my whole life to Him in order for His holiness to envelop my soul. But righteousness is holiness in action. Righteousness is obedience to God’s word, living according to His will.
Now, miracles are signs that shall follow believers (Mark 16:27-18), but they are not the basis of salvation and eternal life. That is why in my ministry and in my preachings, I stress purity before power, because you can have power to work miracles as a privilege of being a believer of Christ, but consistency to use this power on good relies heavily in your personal consecration to the holiness of God.
Some old-fashioned Pentecostal churches gone out as Charismatics, thinking that Holiness and the standards of separation from the world hinders their growth and soulwinning endevour. This is a big mistake. True growth means lives changed, broken relationships and broken hopes restored, backsliders restored, sinners turning to be saints, smokers no longer smoke, drug addicts freed from this bondage, women becoming modest, men no longer fight with their fists, thieves no longer steal, idolaters no longer worship idols. This is Holiness. However, I knew a group of Charismatics inside Roman Catholicism who sing, worship, and praise like traditional Pentecostals, but when you look at them, they still speak, act, and dress like the world. Some also speak in tongues, prophesy, and operate in spiritual gifts as the Pentecostals are, but you will find out that they still worship Mary, worship idols and graven images, sing worldly songs, dance like disco, dress like prostitutes, believe in purgatory, wear gods of jewels and paints, tattoos, pierce their bodies, etc. Is God glorified? NO!
Charismatic movement is truly operating under the power of God’s Holy Spirit, we cannot dismiss it. However, as what I have said, spiritual gifts and miracles are good and beneficial only to the recipient if the recipient was brought under the sanctifying power of God. But even if you speak in tongues, prophesy, or heal the sick and cast out demons, if your immoral dressing is not changed, you have only failed God.
The true purpose of God pouring out His Holy Spirit to all people and Christians in all religious denominations is to bring the Spirit of Truth and Holiness to them. The sad this is, instead of relying to the power of God’s Spirit to lead them into truth and holiness, they feared abandoning man-made doctrines such as the trinity and trinitarian baptism, and worldliness, because of their reputations in the sight of men. Only if all Christians who claim to be Spirit-filled will allow the Spirit to do His internal work in their lives, God will transform them into holy children of truth.
The reason why classical, old-fashioned Pentecostalism still exist today is simply to have the safest place in this world while Charismatics is falling into worldliness and spiritual decline.
Thus, I remain Pentecostal. Not just Pentecostal by signboard, but also Pentecostal by principle, practice, and power. Somebody proudly say Pentecostals are upset to the what God has done in Charismatic movement, because they think that, we Pentecostals believe that God cannot fill a sinner’s heart with His Spirit. This is incorrect. We, Pentecostals believe that whenever a sinner turned to God with humility, sincerity, and heartfelt repentance, God will baptize him with the Holy Spirit. However, the purpose of this Spirit baptism is not to make that sinner more sinner, but to give him power to overcome the sinful nature and lead him a life that is consistent with God’s Word. Anyone who profess to have received the HOLY Spirit but do not live in the Spirit of HOLINESS are not capable of entering heaven. Again, miracles and authority are good if we use them right, but despite of all these things, God will still look for a holy life no matter what.