Summary: The third element to biblical salvation is that of conversion. We have many in churches today who have felt conviction for sin and have made a form of confession but have never been converted. They simply have gone through all the motions.
The Three C’s of Salvation
Part 3 - Conversion
INTRODUCTION: We have looked at the first two parts of the biblical formula for salvation – conviction and confession. Conviction is the work of the Holy Spirit by which a person sees or is made aware their lostness, sinfulness, and need for the salvation offered through Christ. Confession is acknowledging and agreeing with that conviction and with God about your estate and His right to be Lord of your life. It is a willingness to publicly acknowledge and affirm Jesus Christ as Supreme Authority and Controller over you. The third element to biblical salvation is that of conversion. We have many in churches today who have felt conviction for sin and have made a form of confession but have never been converted. They have gone through all the motions that the church has asked of them. They may have even been baptized and united with the church. But there is no evidence in their lives that they have ever taken that final step – conversion.
I. What is conversion?
A. Matthew 18:3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
B. The term "conversion" in all its forms occurs in seven passages of the New Testament. The Greek word used literally means to turn around or reverse.
C. Conversion is a turning or change from one state and condition to another.
D. Conversion is not changing from one religion to another.
E. We should think of conversion, not as the acceptance of a particular creed, but as a change of heart. - Helen Adams Keller (1880-1968)
II. Why is Conversion Necessary?
A. Matthew 18:3 And said, Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
B. Similar to the word "conversion" is the word "repent" which translated literally means to think differently. The two words conversion and repentance are often used interchangeably.
C. Luke 13:3-5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
D. Prior to becoming a Christian the Bible states that man is completely alienated from God.
E. Colossians 1:21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled
F. Psalm 10:4 God is not in all his thoughts.
G. The Unconverted Man’s thoughts and ways are in direct opposition to God.
H. Romans 3:10-12 As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
I. Isaiah 55:7-9 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
III. What does conversion involve?
A. Some teach that when a person comes to Christ it is "business or life as usual". They would teach that as a Christian you can continue to do your own thing and live however you want. But Scripture teaches that when a person comes to Christ things are different.
B. 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.
C. Realize that "repentance is not an emotion. It is not feeling sorry for your sins. It is a decision. It is deciding that you have been wrong in supposing that you could manage your own life and be your own god; it is deciding that you were wrong in thinking that you had, or could get, the strength, education and training to make it on your own; it is deciding that you have been told a pack of lies about yourself and your neighbors and your world. And it is deciding that God in Jesus Christ is telling you the truth. Repentance is a realization that what God wants from you and what you want from God are not going to be achieved by doing the same old things, thinking the same old thoughts." – Eugene Peterson (20th century)