Perhaps he didn’t have enough faith?
This is sad to hear, but important to notice. Do not test God. God never tells us to prove our faith by ridiculous show. We prove our faith by doing what Christ prescribed in His Word. We obey. We love. We submit. We preach. We follow.
Yes, Paul was bit by a snake and didn’t die. And yes, Jesus appears to say in Mark 16:15-18 that anyone who believes in Him will be able to handle snakes, drink poison, heal the sick, cast out demons, and speak in tongues. But as we learn to Take Back the Bible we have to interpret Scripture with Scripture. We have to search the whole of the Bible in order to correctly apply its truths.
1. Jesus was not referring to every Christian in this passage (though principally, some of it applies to us). Suffice it to say, miracles are not something that God is gifting His children to perform in this dispensation. I know that was a powerful comment with no biblical citations. And I agree that such a thing is completely unacceptable here at Taking Back the Bible. But, as I mentioned above, an understanding of biblical principles requires a study of the whole of the Scriptures. This particular matter is quite involved and, admittedly, is hotly debated. I would love to delve into this subject in more detail, but the time and space provided on this topic keeps me from diving in.
2. In conjunction with the above point, James 2:18 does in fact tell us how to work out our faith . . . and it doesn’t involve miracles. “But someone may well say, ‘You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.’” How do I know snake-handling isn’t the “works” he’s talking about? James immediately follows these doctrinal comments with application for us. He tells us to watch our mouths because our tongues are full of evil (chapter 3). We’re told to avoid conflict, lust, the world, pride, presumption, and arrogance (Chapter 4). We’re instructed in how to use our money and are exhorted to be patient, cease complaining, pray for the sick, and much more (Chapter 5). But never once is it insinuated in any passage of Scripture that we should parade dangerous acts in an attempt to witness to our faith.
Do you want others to see your faith?
Love God and love them.
Your faith will be obvious.