How Is One Converted?
The Bible teaches that man is an accountable being and responsible for all his decisions (Matthew 23:37). Since conversion is a turning, the choice between right and wrong is his own act (Joshua 24:15; John 5:40).
Joshua 24:15 "And if it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the river, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
John 5:40:And you are unwilling to come to Me, that you may have life."
Conversion Is Not Mysterious
The Scriptures do not teach that the Holy Spirit comes directly into a sinner's heart to convert him, independent of his will. Conversion is not "getting religion". This is an un-scriptural expression based upon the un-scriptural idea that God sends an immediate power directly from heaven to convert people whole they plead with him to send down his "converting power". If this process is genuine, why are not all people who thus plead converted?
The theory of conversion by abstract irresistable power of God is false for the following reasons:
The Gospel Is God's Only Power To Save
Often it is asked, "Does not God exert a power over sinners to cause them to turn?" Yes. But the gospel is God's converting power.
Romans 1:16 "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek."
Man's salvation is here considered as something to be achieved. To accomplish this God's power is needed. But, what is God's power to save man? The passage says, with such clearness that none can misunderstand it, that the power to save man is the gospel of Christ. The gospel is God's only power unto salvation and is complete for converting sinners.
Psalms 19:7 "The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul"
There is not a recorded example of anyone's having been converted to Christ without the gospel. There is no evidence in the Bible of any inspired man;s telling an individual that he needed to receive the Holy Spirit to be converted; neither is there command nor example for people to pray for God to send down "converting power" (Neither is there mention of the "sinner's prayer). Conversion is a sane, sensible, and reasonable process. The Spirit does His work in this process through the word of truth and not in some direct, mysterious manner(John 6:63; 1 Peter 1:23; James 1:18).
The Lord draws people to the Savior by teaching (John 6:44-45). He persuades people through His word to turn to Him and live, saying: "...turn yourselves from all your transgressions,...amend your ways and your doings" Ezekiel 14:6; Ezekiel 18:23,30-32; Ezekiel 33:11, 14-19; Jeremiah 7:3).
Man Is Accountable And Does The Turning
The sinner is active, rather than passive, in his conversion; that is, he must do something to be saved. For this reason the phrase "be converted" in the KJV is better rendered "turn again" in the ASV in Matthew 13:15 and Acts 3:19, and "turn" in Matthew 18:3. Other translations, too, show that the phrase is active. Thus, "convert" is synonymous with "turn", and both words denote the action of man. God does not turn us, but He gives the truth and commands us to turn ourselves. Conversion, therefore, is produced as the result of the sinner's hearing, believing, and obeying the gospel (Acts 18:8). If people are not accountable and active in their conversion, there would be no need to preach to them. Therefore , if any of us are lost eternally, the reason will not be because the Lord would not accept us, but because we did not turn to Him and have our sins blotted out (Acts 7:51).
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