There are those who think that if there was an increase in signs and wonders performed by the church for the general population, that many unbelievers’ hearts would change and they would believe in God and be endeared to Him. The simple church focused on preaching the gospel and making disciples of the nations by teaching the full counsel of God, and focused on performing what could be called ordinary good deeds, is not enough to convert the lost soul. More is needed from the church to impress contemporary pagans and idolaters. The church must do audacious things like give sight to the blind and prosperity to the poor and health to the sick and purpose to the confused and dreams to the despondent. Through these things the godless believes in Christ and becomes godly.
This type of ecclesiological speculation ignores the naturally sinful hearts of men and gives man undue credit to ultimately make the correct choice when presented with unbelievable things like signs or wonders. The Scriptures paint a different picture of the hearts of men. If signs and wonders were enough to endear men’s hearts to the only living God, how are the Israelites from the days of Moses to the era of the judges to be explained?
Who was it that asked for the molten calf idol to be made? The Israelites who saw the signs and wonders of God via the plagues on Egypt and the plundering during Passover and the parting of the Red Sea and the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night.
Who was it that grumbled for better food while in the wilderness? The Israelites who were given manna by God and who drank water that miraculously flowed from a rock.
It was those same people whom Moses spoke to when he said:
The Scriptures that record the days of Israel in the wilderness do not seem to teach that if people are given a grand display of God’s power that they will choose Him over false gods and sin. Not only did those who directly walked in the wilderness disbelieve, but the generations of the judges disbelieved; those people did not have the benefit of witnessing the same signs and wonders as their fathers in the wilderness but they were undoubtedly told of what God did for their fathers.
Then the LORD raised up judges who delivered them from the hands of those who plundered them. Yet they did not listen to their judges, for they played the harlot after other gods and bowed themselves down to them. Judges 2: 16 – 17
In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes. Judges 21: 25
So the point is this – despite the Old Covenant God made with Israel, it was not enough to induce men to change their hearts. By contemplating the pervasive wickedness of men and Israel’s consistent inability to abide by the Old Covenant of God, we as Gentiles should be even more grateful for the New Covenant of God which comes through Christ.
The beauty of the New Covenant is that God Himself changes the hearts of those He chooses to save; they are no longer required to fulfill the covenant by their own power, but rather God has done it all, in the giving of His Son on the cross to propitiate the Father’s wrath, and in the giving of His Spirit to all believers to help them and cleanse them daily.
Are the promises of the New Covenant and the knowledge of Christ enough for you, or do you need signs and wonders from God to feel His love and power? The Pharisees in the days of Christ wanted more proof as to His divine claims. The miracles He was performing were not enough for them. Jesus said:
What possible sign or wonder is there that can be performed by the church that exceeds the glory of the resurrection of Jesus Christ?
And what greater power could be displayed by the church that exceeds Jesus being raised from the dead on the third day, in accordance with the Scriptures?