What Is Conversion?
Primarily, the word "convert" means to change or to turn. For example, wood is converted into paper; ore, into iron; skins of animals, into leather; and leather, into shoes. Therefore, "conversion" is the act of turning from one thing, or use, to another.
It Is Turning From Wrong To Right
Biblically, "conversion" is a spiritual change, the process of turning to God (Acts 15:3). Paul said the Thessalonians, in their conversion to Christianity, "turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God" (1 Thessalonians 1:9; cf. Acts 26:18; Acts 14:15; Acts 9:35)
1 Thessalonians 1:9 "For they themselves report about us what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God,"
Acts 26:18 "to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, in order that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me"
Acts 14:15 "and saying, 'Men, why are you doing these things? We are also men of the same nature as you, and preach the gospel to you in order that you should trun from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and all that is in them."
Acts 9:35 "And all who lived at Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they turned to the Lord"
It is the turning of man from the love and practice of sin to the love and practice ofrighteousness. In conversion, the direction of life is changed; the powers and faculties formerly devoted to sin are purified and turned to God to be used in His holy service. Thus one becomes a new being and enters a new state. Conversion is the process which takes the sinner our of the kingdom of Satan and translates him into the kingdom of Christ, which is the church. It is, therefore, the whole gospel process by which a sinner becomes a Christian. Hence, the converted person is a changed individual.
Conversion Is Not Pardon
Conversion is not synonymous with pardon, yet pardon follows conversion. Christ said:
Matt 13:15 "For the heart of this people has become dull, And with their ears, they scarcely Hear, And they have closed their eyes Lest they should see with their eyes, and Hear with their ears, and understand with their heart and return, and I should heal them.(quotation based on passages from Isaiah 6:10 and Psalm 119:70)
Mark 4:12 "in order that while seeing, they may see and not perceive; and while hearing, they may hear and not understand lest they return and be forgiven."(quotation based on passage from Jeremiah 5:21)
The apostle Peter said:
Acts 3:19 "Repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presense of the Lord"
The prophet Isaiah cried:
Isaiah 55:7 "Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the Lord, And He will have compassion on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon."
Hence, people must turn to God that their sins may be forgiven. Pardon takes place in the mind of God, and not within the heart of the sinner. man obeys God's law and turns to the Lord; God, then, forgives his sins Mark 2:7; Hebrews 8:12; Jeremiah 31:34). Thus, turning to the Lord is something the sinner does, and pardoning of his sins is something that God does for him.
One Must Become As A Little Child
By the phrase "as little children," Christ did not mean that people are to become little children in age and stature, but like little children - innocent, teachable, trustful, humble, and obedient. The kingdom of heaven is not composed of little children, but of people as little children: that is, with characters like them (Matthew 19:14). In this life no man can ever become purer than he was in his infancy. So Jesus said, "Except you turn and become like little children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven"
Return to Special Studies