Prompted by my current reading in Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith, I wanted to talk a little about the conversion experience. When speaking of a true conversion, we often receive a stern look of disapproval because we may appear to be questioning an individual’s faith. On the contrary, we are attempting to promote a clear understanding of what conversion demands. One cannot be a Christian without knowing what Christianity actually is. Groothuis provides 4 requirements for conversion as taught in God’s Word.
(1) God exists as a holy being and all humanity is held morally accountable to Him as Creator. Acknowledgement of sin is primary.
(2) Sin can only be dealt with by the One who stands outside of that fallen state by which all humanity is held captive and are rightfully condemned.
(3) God sent Jesus as an atoning sacrifice for sin in order to provide reconciliation. Jesus alone satisfied the demands of the Law. He justifies!
(4) The path of forgiveness and restoration was made by the finishing work of Christ on the cross and by this work alone. Our good works cannot save us.
Groothuis reminds us that ” a person believes that certain biblical propositions are objectively true; then the person subjectively appropriates these truths as his or her own. In doing so, the person gives allegiance to the object of these truths: Christ himself.” A component of this allegiance is that the saved will seek through Christ to repent of their sin and to submit daily to Christ every aspect of their being. This is sanctification.
It is far more than assent to some intellectual propositions. It is appropriating those truths and directing our worship towards the object of those truths- Jesus Christ.
Faith in Christ, “guides and inspires a new way of knowing, being, and doing.”
Look at the transformational aspect of conversion. It is a total work of Jesus Christ and not of works, yet it effects the ‘being’ and ‘doing’ aspect of our lives. This changes us . Our total worldview changes as we move from a humanistic to a Christian worldview. Daily repentance is a powerful aspect of true conversion.
Ephesians 2:8-9 states, “ For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.”
Now we juxtaposition this with Matthew 7:15-23; ”
15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
True and False Disciples
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
We must be careful to inspect the fruit. “Where faith takes root, fruit takes hold.”
Think about it!