Does God heal today? Certainly, if it is His will to do so. Does he heal "on demand" through the so-called "gifts of healing" that some claim to have. No He does not.
Healings performed by the apostles were never carried out at "healing meetings". There was no religious service, no emotional fervor produced by hymn-singing and preaching, but instead direct and positive healing in the open, on the spot, for all to see; or in private by an apostle (see Acts 3:1-10 and 9:36-41). These miracles followed the pattern of the healings of the Lord Jesus Christ. For the most part, the Lord healed by a touch or by the spoken word and the results were evident.
Both the procedures and the results of modern healings are widely different from those of New Testament times. There are many failures and often a lack of permanence in the improvement achieved. Such was not the case with the apostles. In those days, a man who had never walked was healed in an instant and could run for joy (Acts 3:1-10). A dead woman was restored to life by the quiet prayer of one apostle and his spoken word to the corpse (Acts 9:36-41). Healers of today belong to non-Christian groups, Spiritualists, and others as well as Charismatics. The Holy Spirit cannot be the common factor. It is much more likely to be a result of the power of the mind of the healer upon the mind and will of the person who has come to be healed.
The Scriptures give us an insight into the work of the Spirit in the first century and in the "world to come (Christ's own words to describe the coming kingdom of God on earth, (Luke 18:29-30). Those who had Spirit gifts are described as having "tasted . . . the powers of the world to come" (Hebrews 6:5). Spirit gifts were but a foretaste of the powerful work of the Spirit of God when Christ returns in power and great glory. At that time there will be the resurrection of the dead (1 Thessalonians 4:13-16); the saints will receive the gift of everlasting life (Matthew 25:31,46); Christ will reign over all the earth from Jerusalem and will be accompanied by the saints, who will be kings and priests (Zechariah 14:9; Revelation 5:10; 20:4; Psalm 2:6); the wicked will be powerfully rebuked (Psalm 2:5,9; Isaiah 11:3,4); the earth will become beautiful and fruitful (Isaiah 35:1,2; Psalm 72:1 6); it would seem that the physically afflicted will be healed (Isaiah 35:5,6); and countless other wonders will be worked by the Holy Spirit of God at the hands of the Lord Jesus Christ and his glorified saints.
The Bible provides us with a very positive test by which to determine the validity of the claims of those who say they are speaking or working by the direct influence of the Holy Spirit. The test does not question the conviction or sincerity of those concerned, and it does not question the subjective experiences which they are often said to have had. The test goes to the root of the matter: What is the doctrinal content of the message? Does it accord with Bible teaching? In other words, in our day, does the Gospel preached by, say, Charismatics, harmonize with the teachings of Christ and his apostles? It is for this reason that we are commanded to "try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world" (1 John 4:1).
Alongside this standard, the widespread evangelical movement is found to be woefully astray from Bible teaching. What they have to say about life after death, the devil, the Godhead and the Lord Jesus Christ, baptism and many other matters does not ring true. It is incredible that a community, if they are indeed truly gifted by the Spirit, could be basically at fault in this way, not in the beliefs of a few individuals amongst them, but in the message of the movement as a whole. When we examine carefully what is taking place, we discover that they place more stress on guidance by the Spirit than on the guidance in true teaching by the Word of God.
The Word of God is the divine instructor of the mind and provides us with ample guidance on the everyday affairs of life. Therein is set forth clear teaching on the choices to be made in almost every aspect of Christian living. We neglect it at our peril. Moreover the Word of God is food for the mind and strengthens us in making the Christ-like choice. In other words, the Word of God tells us why as well as what we are to choose.
If we humbly accept the teaching of the Word and resolve to follow it, we can rightly seek the blessing of God in prayer. He has promised never to leave us or to forsake us. When our choice is difficult to resolve even with the Bible in hand and on the heart, our course is to commit our way to the Lord in prayer and, without expecting direct revelation from Him, proceed to do in faith that which we believe to be wise before Him.
These simple guidelines are sufficient for the needs of life. Paul gave detailed tuition to disciples in his own time, many of whom had Spirit gifts, and concluded by saying:
Acts 20:32 And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified
-- from an article on this topic by Harry Tennant
For a full discussion of the Holy Spirit and the gifts available through the Apostles in the first century see:
The Holy Spirit (please click on the title)
I hope you have found this helpful.