Summary: A summary of what it takes to receive salvation. It involves three terms - turn (convert), repent, and believe and they go together to make up what we call conversion or new birth. We turn (convert) from wrongdoing (repent) to Jesus (faith).
SALVATION FROM A TO Z
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Copyright 2005 by Bob Marcaurelle
2014 Revision by Bob Marcaurelle
CONVERSION, REPENTANCE AND FAITH
“Repent then and turn (convert) to God, so your sins can be wiped away. “ (Acts 3:19)
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and
you will be saved.” (Acts 16:20)
“The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.”
When people in the Book of Acts asked how to be saved, three instructions were given: Repent (Acts 2:3); turn (convert) from sin (Acts 3:19); and believe (Acts 16:31). These three go together like fire, heat and smoke in what we call conversion. Conversion is the human side of regeneration – new birth. As a new baby cries and breathes, so does a new Christian repent and believe.
We turn (convert) from a life controlled by what we want to a life controlled by the Lord and what He wants (Repentance).
We (convert) turn to Jesus Christ (by faith) believing His sacrifice made our forgiveness possible (Romans 3:24-27). We entrust to Him our sins to forgive and our lives to change and contol. We believe that when we do this He forgives us; changes us and will receive us into heaven when we die.
When we speak of someone “turning their life around” this is a perfect description of becoming a Christian. It is like an army marching in one direction and when the leader says, “To the rear march!”; it turns around and starts walking in the opposite direction. The difference is – it is the Lord who turns us around.
Led by a vision Paul went from Asia Minor to Philippi and there a woman from Asia minor believed the gospel and was saved. God placed her there and sent Paul there. He works out our circumstances to bring us in contact with the Gospel. Jesus says we cannot come to him unless the Father draws us (Jn. 6). Romans 3 says, “No man looks for God”. Adrian Rogers says a sinner no more looks for God than a mouse looks for a cat.
“The Holy Spirit, when He comes, will convict the world about sin, about being right with God, and about Judgment.”
1 Corinthians 1:18 / 2:14
“(The gospel) is foolishness to those who are perishing / they cannot understand it / God has revealed it to us by His Spirit.”
Contact with the gospel is not enough. Because of our sinful nature we do not understand Christianity and don’t want to understand it. We care nothing about cancer treatments until we get cancer. We care nothing about the gospel until we know we are in trouble with a holy God.
Spurgeon said an unregenerate man can no more understand the gospel than a horse can understand astronomy. He says we are dead, and dead to the fact that we are dead. We are blind, and blind to the fact that we are blind.
When I was converted I began to criticize all the Pastors I had heard before; asking why they hadn’t preached the gospel. And if they did, I wondered why they didn’t make it plain and simple like the pastor who showed me the way. The truth is, they did. I had not been listening. I was thinking about sports, girls and cars; or sometimes cars, girls and sports.
It is God who “leads us to repentance” and our faith is “not from us, it is the gift of God.” (Hebrews 6 / Ephesians 2). God to most of us is like a spare tire to go to in emergencies. We don’t want Him in the driver’s seat. God puts the “want to” into our hearts. Interest in things of God comes from Him. The Holy Spirit uses the teaching or reading of the Word to show us the seriousness of wrongdoing and our need of salvation s as He speaks of sin, righteousness and the judgment to come.
We apply this personally. This can come from an inner fire that drives you to church; from a friend who witnesses to you; or from a mother who sang, “Jesus loves me” above your cradle.
It can come from good circumstances like the birth of a baby. Romans 2 says “God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance”.
It can come from bad circumstances like the death of a baby. The Scottish comedian Harry Lauder said when his son died, “For me it was alcohol, suicide, or God; and I chose God.”
Faith is belief.
We believe the bad news that we are sinners and are in trouble with God. This does not mean we are the meanest people in our town; it means that we have chosen to run our own lives instead of letting God run them. We may do bad things or good things. The problem is we go to church and do good things for others if and when we want to. It means we live basically selfish lives. For most of us the most serious problem is not with the wrongs we have done, but with the good things we have failed to do for others. We say,