The miracles of the Bible were very real

Did the miracles in the Bible really happen? Recently a friend (who isn’t religious) gave me a book that claims they didn’t happen, and they can all be explained as natural events that people just thought were miracles. Which should I believe, this book or the Bible? — L.McC.

I sincerely hope you will believe what the Bible says — not just about miracles, but about God and His love for us. Our greatest need is to know God, and the Bible alone tells us how we can come to know Him in a personal way.

The Bible calls the miracles “signs” — and that’s what they are: signs that point us beyond ourselves to God. They demonstrate to us that God isn’t just some kind of impersonal force (like gravity); neither is He distant and unconcerned about us. God cares about us, and the miracles prove this. God also is all-powerful, and the miracles clearly demonstrate this.

Remember: The people who wrote the Bible weren’t naive or unsophisticated. They lived closer to nature than most of us do today, and they knew that miracles were highly unusual. When a miracle took place, they knew God was at work, and they were careful to record what took place. As the Bible says, “We did not follow cleverly invented stories … but we were eyewitnesses” (2 Peter 1:16).

Yes, the Bible records many miracles. But the greatest miracle of all is that God loves us -- in spite of our sin and rebellion — and Jesus Christ came into the world to forgive our sins and take us someday to heaven. Open your heart to Christ today, and discover the gift of His forgiveness and presence.

I have a friend who claims that Jesus has already come back to earth, and only a few special people (including him) have been given the privilege of knowing about it. Could he be right? — G.C.

No doubt your friend is sincere in what he believes — but unfortunately he is not correct, because this is not what Jesus Christ taught about His return.

When Jesus Christ came into the world slightly over 2,000 years ago, His birth was virtually unnoticed. Only a few shepherds and a small group of foreign wise men came to pay homage to Him; as far as most people were concerned, He was just another baby, born to an insignificant peasant couple. Even after His death and resurrection, many still refused to acknowledge Him as the Messiah.

But the second coming of Christ will be far different! When Christ returns to establish His Kingdom, the Bible says He will come with power and glory, and the whole human race will see Him. Jesus said, “You will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven” (Mark 14:62). The writer of the last book of the Bible also looked forward to that day: “Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him” (Revelation 1:7).

The most important question about Christ’s return, however, is this: Are you prepared for that day? Or are you prepared to meet Him when you die? You can be, by confessing your sins to Him and by faith trusting Him alone for your salvation.

A man I work with says he isn’t concerned about missing out on heaven, because he believes that when he dies he’ll get a second chance to believe in Jesus. In the meantime, he says he intends to keep living it up. Will we get a second chance after we die to believe in Jesus and be saved? — Z.M.

Nowhere does the Bible teach that we will have a second chance after we die, or that it doesn’t matter what we do with Christ in this life.

In fact, the Bible clearly teaches that once we die we go immediately into God’s presence. The Bible says, “Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). In one of His parables, Jesus told about a man who had ignored God and His Word all his life. When he died, he pleaded for mercy — but it was too late; his selfish ways condemned him to an eternity separated from God (see Luke 16:19-31). For him, there was no second chance — and neither will there be for us.

This is a sobering truth — and we mustn’t take it lightly. The time to put our faith in Christ and trust Him for our salvation is now. Even tomorrow may be too late; how do we know if we will still be alive? The Bible says, “Now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). If you have never faced your own need of God’s forgiveness, I urge you to turn to Christ and commit your life to Him today.

Then pray for your friend, that he won’t continue deceiving himself into thinking he doesn’t need to give his life to Christ. God loves him, and Christ gave His life to save him. Urge him to open his heart and life to Christ without delay.

I believe in God, and I guess I believe in Jesus. But I have a friend who says she talks with Jesus every day, and she says she knows she’ll go to heaven when she dies. I wish I had her kind of faith, but how can I get it? — Mrs. B.T.

The most important thing I can tell you is that God loves you and wants you to have the same kind of close relationship to Him that your friend has. More than that, He has done everything necessary to make it possible.

Let me answer your question by posing three questions. First, who are we? The Bible says we aren’t here by chance; we are here because God created us, and He put us here for a purpose — to live for Him. But the Bible also tells us that something went wrong — and that “something” was sin. We have rebelled against God and chosen to go our own way, and because of this we have become separated from Him. As the Bible says, we are “without hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12).

The second question is this: Who was Jesus Christ? The Bible tells us something very wonderful: Jesus Christ was God in human flesh. He wasn’t just a great man; He was God! And He came into the world for one reason: to become the complete sacrifice for our sins. By His death and resurrection we can have hope — hope of forgiveness and new life today, and hope of life in heaven.

But one question remains: What must we do? The Bible tells us that salvation is a free gift, purchased for us with the blood of Jesus Christ. But like any gift, we must receive it — and that is what you must do with Christ.

The Rev. Billy Graham, whose column appears in Faith & Values, can be contacted at “My Answer,” c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, NC, 28201.