Chapter 44: The True Sign

November 29, 2007

“What they (the pharisees) needed was not intellectual enlightenment, but spiritual renovation.” DA430

How focused have we been on intellectual knowledge to get us somewhere spiritually? Some may call this knowledge “present truth.” While clearly no amount of knowledge can guarantee conversion, it seems that knowledge can tip the scales toward or away from conversion. Not all knowledge is equally valuable, and there are many very religious people promoting their superior variety of intellectual enlightenment. Just recently I encountered a man who was very excited about the 144,000 whom God needs to reach perfection in order to vindicate His saving work.  This teaching presumes that conversion hinges on attainment of a few to guarantee that perfection may be had by all who believe come resurrection day. I assert that conversion hinges on the attainment of One. This idea of the righteousness by faith is knowledge also, and it started an avalanche of conversion in my life. Maybe the greatest of all miracles–a converted life–come in stages. I’ve felt a tremor of the change God has in mind and it shakes me still today.

“The highest evidence that He (Jesus) came from God is that His life revealed the character of God. Such a life is the greatest of all miracles.” DA431

Regardless of the details of how conversion works and the role knowledge plays, I can say with surity that miraculous conversion is possible and available now through Christ. I am against all knowledge (religious teaching) leading away from such a miracle as a changed person.

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“Beneath the apparent refusal of Jesus, she saw a compassion that He could not hide.” DA423

This quote tells of the Canaanite woman who begged for crumbs of mercy. I feel apparent refusals from God at times when I pray earnestly for solutions to runaway problems. I may not even know in what direction to search for answers, but I finally look up. Can I see compassion even after apparent refusals from God? The problem which made me feel powerless continues to defy human reason and energy and our only qualification to continued the request is our need against the backdrop of His mercy. Do we then see compassion?

Jesus told Nicodemus “Unless you are born again, you can’t even see the kingdom of heaven.” What this woman saw was a character trait of Jesus that even the disciples missed. Was it because Jesus was saying what they wanted him to say, and because they were feeling like rebuking her too, that his compassion was hidden from them? They would see his compassion later. After being reborn, they too remembered this apparent rebuke and saw the kingdom of heaven unveiled.

I’ll try to remember this for next time problems overwhelm me. It seems as though the greater then need is realized, the better I may see compassion.