The World and His Church
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Here you will find articles relating to the world we live in each day. You will find insightful articles that combat all the world throws at Christians, and inspiration from His recorded inspired Word, the Bible.

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09
Be Converted
October 9, 2019

Be Converted

By:  Johnny O. Trail

            Conversion is defined as “an experience associated with the definite and decisive adoption of a religion.”[1]  Conversion was mentioned by Jesus at various points during His earthly ministry.  In Matthew 18:3 Jesus said, “…Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”  What does it mean to “be converted” to the extent of one becoming like a little child?

            The Greek word used for converted in Matthew 18.3 is στρέφω (strephō)  The word means to turn quite around or reverse (literally or figuratively): to convert, turn (again, back again, self, self about).  The person who is converted turns himself around morally speaking.  One might say that there is a “revolution” in his life when he is converted to Christ.

            While true conversion is crucial to salvation, one should never seek to downplay the importance of baptism.  Most people in protestant denominationalism tend to do this very thing, and faithful members of the Lord’s body are found defending the very thing taught in God’s word.  Baptism remits sin (Acts 2.38).  Baptism saves a person (I Peter 3.21).  Baptism washes sins away and is the means by which one “calls upon the name of the Lord” (Acts 22.16).

            These things having been said, we have some people in the Lord’s body who have merely gotten wet and have not been converted to New Testament Christianity.  There is more to living a godly life than just being baptized.  Some are under the assumption that all they had to do was be baptized without any expectation of living the life of a servant.

            The fact of the matter is that scripture is replete with passages that teach the necessity of conversion.  Acts 28.27 says, “For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.”  These words are spoken to the Jews who have been given audience to Paul upon his arrival to Rome.  Some of the Israelites who heard Paul believed him, and some did not.  These unbelievers are the ones who have a heart that is dull, ears that are hard of hearing, and eyes that are closed.

            Conversely, those converted to Christ are people who have opened their hearts, opened their eyes, and open their ears to the proclamation of God’s message.  Those truly converted are the ones who respond to the message of the New Testament by taking action.  One must be a hearer and doer of the word to truly be a disciple of Jesus.  James 1.22 says, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”

            In all honesty, we have too many people who are merely warming a pew.  While church attendance is important, it is not at the pinnacle of Christian responsibility.  No person was ever complimented by an inspired writer for church attendance.  They were complemented for being a fellow laborer in Christ.  For being a worker in the church, Paul had the highest regard and praise.  

            The Apostle Peter summed up the major responsibility of all Christians.  I Peter 2.9 says, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”  Those in Christ have been chosen by God to make intercession on behalf of Christ.  That is, we entreat others to become children of God by the proclamation of the gospel.  This cannot be done by people who feel no responsibility towards the lost or no urgency to teach individuals who are lost and dying in sin.

            Moreover, conversion means that a person is very sensitive to the power of sin.  Unlike some of the brethren at Rome, we need to avoid sin.  Romans 6.1-2 says, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?  God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”  Some people who are baptized show no real change in their lives after they arise from the waters of baptism.  There needs to be a revolution in the lives of people who would desire to live a Christian life.  Paul points this out in the very same chapter in verses eleven and twelve.  “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.”

            This might best be underscored by those who obeyed the gospel at Ephesus.  Notice how they responded to the message of Jesus.  Acts 19.19-20 says, “Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.  So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.”  These newly converted Christians understood that their “curious arts” where not consistent with their profession of Christ, and they burned books valued at fifty thousand pieces of silver!  What did you give up to follow Jesus?

            In further consideration of these verses in Acts nineteen, one might consider verse twenty in particular.  “So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.”  The word of God had a leavening effect upon all those who witnessed the conversion of these soothsayers, sorcerers, and charlatans.  These people burned the sources of their unsavory financial gain.  From these passages, one learns that the word of God is powerful when it falls into fertile ground.  It has the ability to forever alter a person’s life.

            Evidently, the Corinthian church understood that conversion meant giving up former sinful practices.  Paul lists every sin imaginable when he discusses their former manner of living.  I Corinthians 6.9-11 says, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”  Instead of arguing for the “right” to continue sinful behaviors, these brethren forsook their sins, repented, were “washed,” and lived a sanctified life.  Wouldn’t it be good if people in our age responded to the gospel in the same way?

            We must be converted to have eternal life.  Acts 3.19 says, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.”  God’s people should seek to be as innocent and as blameless as a little child.  Matthew 18:3 “…Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”       



[1] Miriam-Webster Dictionary.

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