Chapter 17: Nicodemus

February 7, 2007

This is the story that moves me and my first stop in that hypothetical time machine. Maybe it’s the double catch that intrigues me or how clearly Jesus sees trough the practiced pretension of self assured NicO. Either way, I look back on this story from the vantage point of testing on my own heart, because this is the hurricane that blew into my own life from who knows where.

So here’s the catch. Jesus clearly identifies this to be the stuff you must know about in order to really live. But you can’t know about it until He plunges you through the complete death of everything your nature has wanted since your first birth.

“It is impossible for finite minds to comprehend the work of redemption. Its mystery exceeds human knowledge: yet he who passes from death to life realized that it is a divine reality. The beginning of redemption we may know here through a personal experience. Its results reach through the eternal ages.” DA167

I can confidently say I had a relationship with Jesus for decades before I knew any real change in my life. What I know now of conversion, I had considered mechanically through the trying on of repentance and observance of Christian expectations. It was just enough–I knew Jesus, but didn’t see the kingdom. And wanting to witness could not replace the need for complete change. I can say with surety that I did not really know that conversion existed beyond the definition of the word. So I proved that spiritual things are not discernible naturally. It sounds tragic, but we have to begin here.

There is no other conversion than the one which starts with the death of self, and self dies very hard. But it can die, and many are unaware of this reality. There is conversion. There is real change. There is sight beyond reason and observance of human ideals and beliefs–even Adventist ones.

I want to talk, teach, and experience conversion for the rest of my life. And here lies another catch. Those I most want to share with have no idea what I’m talking about? “It can no more be explained than can the movements of the wind.” DA166. The Sabbath, diet reform, even the Sanctuary service is easier to “get” than conversion. Why is that? Maybe because only Jesus can raise the dead. I need to learn from Him who to talk to, and trust that His seeds sprout.

So do you want to know what is the best thing that has ever happened to me? Someone coming up to me and saying, “What is that you have?” This has happened more often since I experienced what Jesus calls birth, even though I havn’t quite learned how to talk about it to those who Jesus said can not understand. I keep going, because He didn’t say they will never understand but that until birth into Spiritual life, they can not.

“The Christian’s life is not a modification or improvement of the old, but a transformation of nature. There is a death to self and sin, and a new life altogether. This change can be brought about only by the effectual working of the Holy Spirit.” DA166


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