MIRACLES AND SALVATION
The Deception of Miracles:
Miracles are acts or events that do not follow the laws of nature and are believed to be caused by supernatural powers. They often fill us with wonder and bewilderment as they are often beyond human explanation. However, not. many are aware that some miracles are brought about by the evil spirits of the devil. Very often it is not easy for people to decipher or identify which spirit is at work in any particular event or situation – the holy spirit from God or the evil spirits from the devil or Satan. The Holy Catholic Church which Christ founded and left to guide and feed the world with His doctrine is always able to do this and cannot be deceived by the devil “Peter, feed my sheep” (John 21: 16) “The gates of hell will never prevail against my Church” (Mathew 16: 18). This is why St. John states that we must first test the Spirit to find out whether it is coming from God or from the devil (1 John 4: 1). These spirits not only work miracles but also speak to us. Some people are spoken to by the Spirit of Satan and they think it is the Spirit of God. Satan is very intelligent and clever. His Spirit can sometimes lure us away by initially telling us to do certain things which the Holy Spirit of God would normally like us to do.
The Dark Side of Miracles:
In its strategy to get us into its fold, it can, not only work miracles in answer to prayers, but also advise us not to commit one sin or another, and urge us to do certain good in order to leave us with the impression that it is the spirit of God that is at work. To obey him in this guise gives him much pleasure and satisfaction, and exposes us to his grip later on.
Miracles and Salvation:
We are perhaps very familiar with the Bible story of Moses and the Egyptian magicians. Working with the Spirit of God, Moses was able to turn a stick into a snake. The Egyptian magicians, working with the spirit of Satan were also able to turn their own sticks into snakes. However to show the superiority of God’s Spirit, the snake from Aaron and Moses had to swallow the snakes from those magicians (Exodus 7: 9 – 13).
Today, in our towns and villages, people with occultic powers from the devil perform such miracles as changing a human being into an animal or making a barren woman pregnant, having a dead person vomit money, and curing some kinds of diseases, including madness.
The True Measure of Holiness:
God drove Lucifer (Satan) and all the angels who rebelled with him out of heaven. But He left them with their powers and abilities. He must have done this in order to test us and find out those who would prefer to associate or worship the devil rather than worship Him who is the giver of all powers.
So those who reject God and prefer the agents of the devil for help may get the help, but will eventually pay very dearly for it, to their regret and sorrow.
When Miracles Lead Astray
The ability to work miracles or receive miracles is no indication of holiness. It is possible for a great miracle worker to go to hell on judgement day. The Bible states this very clearly in the response Jesus will give some miracle workers who on judgement day will try to remind Jesus of their· prowess in performing all sorts of miracles in His name, including casting out demons. Jesus will say to them: “Get away from me, you wicked people” – Matthew 7:23.
Anyone who has strong faith can use the name of Jesus to perform miracles. This faith has nothing to do with the state of a person’s soul. One could be a criminal or a prostitute but has a strong faith. If she calls on the name of Jesus, she can perform miracles with that name. She might still end up in hell at the end if she fails to repent, in spite of the miracles.
Miracles vs. Morality:
Cormac Burke states that “without obedience, we are not going to be saved, because salvation does not depend on having humanitarian or pious sentiments, but on fulfilling the will of God”. Our Lord Himself made this clear when He said: “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord Lord’ shall, enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does, the will of my father who is in heaven (Matt. 7:21) Burke points out that even when we have strong faith that works miracles, or spend our whole time preaching the word of God, fasting, praying and working wonders with. the name of Jesus but are disobedient to any legitimate authority under which we are, (Like the Church, or our husband or our parents) in matters that are not sinful if obeyed, then we are not doing the will of God, and so will not enter the Kingdom of heaven.
What a miracle worker does or preaches may not always be correct or true, for he is not infallible or above error. The promise of infallibility was only made to the Church founded by Christ Himself, and not to every other individual or every member of this Church. And it was not promised any other Church founded by any human being, whether living or dead.
The Fine Line between Miracles and Manipulation:
St. Paul confirmed this error-free promise made by His Church by the Lord when he said in Ephesians 5:27 that the Church is “pure and faultless, without spot or wrinkle or any other imperfection”.
This is why any other Church or a bishop can support or encourage gay marriages (homosexuality) – the very sin for which God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, which the Catholic Church through her magisterium headed by the Pope teaches to be wrong and unacceptable to God because the Holy Spirit guides and directs her as was promised by Jesus- (John 14:26)
The Miracles We Don’t See:
In summary therefore all miracle workers fall into the following categories:
1) Those who have strong faith and are also holy and doing the will of God. They can use the powerful name of Jesus to perform wonders and have hope of eternal salvation if they remain steadfast in this condition.
2) Those who have strong faith but live in sin or are disobedient to legitimate authority under which they are, can still work miracles with the name of Jesus.
3) Those who worship the devil secretly and use his powers to perform miracles. Faith is not needed here (e.g. black magicians).
4) Those who do not have enough faith but to whom the spirit of Satan responds even when they are calling Jesus, Jesus (Matt. 7:23). They may not be aware that they are performing with the power of Satan and not that of Jesus.
Miracles and Moral Responsibility:
Salvation depends on doing the will of God summarized in Loving God and loving our neighbour. The love of God is shown by obeying His commandments and the commandments of the Church He founded and authorized to look after us (the sheep), feeding us with the truth He taught. “Peter, feed my sheep, feed my lambs” (John 21: 16).
Miracles, Obedience, and Salvation:
Having been placed on the way to heaven by means of the graces of God which he had appointed his blessed mother, Mary as Treasurer and distributor and which Mary has released to us because we call on her daily through her Rosary, we now move with joy along this road to heaven.
As we move along, we should expect to encounter not only milk and honey but also vinegar and thorns. This vinegar and thorns represent the unpleasant things or discomfort of life which Jesus described as crosses.
He said that we must be prepared to carry our crosses and follow him if we are truly his disciples or those who love him – Mathew 16:24.
When these crosses come to us, we often see them as suffering.
We believe we are suffering, and often feel like rejecting them without knowing that they are often fore-runners or fore-bearers of our blessings.