Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Mark Dever: Biblical Thoughts on Conversion

What spurs "Biblical Conversion"? Is it spurred by a choir singing old timey hymns for an hour, is it a preacher sharing stories about people dying in car wrecks and going to hell or is it something different. Can people be manipulated into  false assurance thru a thirty minute invitation? What brings Biblical Conversion? Mark Dever gives us his take, from the Bible

Biblical Thoughts on Conversion

We find many people who join the church who are not believers. Instead of focusing on the need for conversion though, many become tolerant to the hypocrisy. The suggestion that people can change is regarded with skepticism. Our mentality is to adapt, not to try to fundamentally change things. We are who we are, and we are taught to be proud of it.
There is no denying people have a deep longing for change. We are not content, so we re-arrange furniture, buy clothes, change where we live, change our work hours, or even change our spouse. In and of ourselves, we end up defeated in our own choices.

It is obvious to non-believers that Christians are different, and it comes from change. We read in 1 Thessalonians 1:8-10:
8 For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. 9 For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.

After Paul left Thessalonica, conversions happened, change happened, and it made a difference. Verses 9-10 tell us the Thessalonians turned to God from idols to serve God and wait for His Son from heaven.

True conversion will always involve turning in faith to the true God from the false ones, which we set up for ourselves. It will always involve realizing that final answers don’t come here, but we wait for the coming justice of Jesus.

In the Old and New Testaments, conversion is the idea of turning. It is the act of turning from sin to Christ in faith. As Christians, we believe there are countless people throughout history that have come to know God. We acknowledge conversion is a miracle and experience the joy of knowing that you really can be forgiven of your sins against God.

3 Steps to Conversion

1. We’re called to repent of our sins and believe in Christ.
In Acts 26:20 Paul summarizes his Gospel proclamation: “…but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance.”

True repentance always accompanies saving faith. This faith is not mere knowledge or the approval of some facts. There must be a personal trust in Christ if it is to be saving faith. That’s where the problem comes in – human depravity.

So what do we do? What we need is to be converted. We need the Holy Spirit to convert us. Everyone is either a believer or an unbeliever, converted or unconverted. There is no middle ground. No one is born a Christian. You must be converted to be a Christian.

2. God must give us the gift of repentance of faith.

3. God uses means to give us this gift: the preaching of the Word and the right of baptism.

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