- What is Conversion?
(Luke 22:32) “But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”
The word to be lifted out of this verse is the word “converted.” The Greek word is ἐπιστρέφω= epistrephō= ep-ee-stref’-o; this word is made from two words: (1) G1909, a preposition “epi,” meaning over or upon; and (2) G4762; στρέφω strephō stref’-o, Strengthened from the base of G5157; to twist, that is, to turn quite around or reverse (literally or figuratively): – convert, turn (again, back again, self, self about) (to revert (literally, figuratively or morally): – come (go) again, convert, (re-) turn (about, again).
Therefore the definition is: to turn about, to reverse, turn towards; and so rendered “convert.” The noun form is found in (Acts 15:3); the word implies a turning from and a turning to. Divine Grace is the cause of conversion, and the human response (confession/believing) is the effect.
The Apostle Peter is the example that Christ has preserved for all who read the Word of God to reveal the nature of Conversion in a child of God. To review Peter’s spiritual condition before Pentecost; it was one of revelation and not regeneration. In fact this was the spiritual condition of all of God’s people from the Day of Pentecost back to Adam; they had revelation, but not regeneration. Regeneration (or receiving the Gift of the Holy Spirit; or being born from above) was not performed in the Old Testament, or even in the New Testament, until the Day of Pentecost; which was the day the Church was baptized in the Spirit.
John the Baptist foretold of this baptism on the day of Christ’s water baptism (Matt. 3:11), “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with (in) the Holy Ghost, and with fire:” Jesus even told the Apostles in (John 14:16-20), that He would come to them and they would not be left comfortless. This baptism did happen on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-39); and on that day the Church did receive “Power” after the Holy Ghost had come upon them.
The hundred and twenty souls up in the upper room awaiting the Coming of the Holy Spirit upon the Body of Christ (Acts 1:12-14) had the life of God in them; but, what they needed was the “power” of God upon them to give them power to perform the Commandments of Jesus Christ. Jesus had previously instructed the Apostles right after His resurrection from the dead, to go Jerusalem and wait for the coming of the promise of the Father (Luke 24:49), “…until you be endued with power from on high”. The receiving of the Gift of the Holy Spirit is synonymous with: the Promise of the Father; being endued with power from on high; the Indwelling of Christ in the believer; regeneration and conversion.
From the point of conversion (or the turnaround; from the flesh being one’s master to Christ being one’s Savior, Lord and Master), the quickened sinner comes to make confession of (Rom. 10:9-10); that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, God in the Flesh; and that Christ is the Lamb of God (John 1:29), the Sacrifice for Sin (Eph. 1:7; Rom. 3:24-25), the Substitute for the sinner (2 Cor. 5:21), and the Savior of the sinner (Gal. 2:16; Rom. 5:1-2; 6:23b).
Conversion and confession happen simultaneously in the regenerated sinner. The converted sinner comes, in experience; from darkness to light; from being powerless over sin to having power to overcome sin 24/7; from great conviction of his sin to wonderful and joyful relief from the burden of sin’s guilt, and of sin’s penalty and punishment. The realization comes to the converted sinner that he is no longer a slave to unrighteousness but is now a slave of Righteousness; he now has an “understanding” of the following: (1 Jn. 5:20) “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.”
The converted sinner knows that he is now a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor.6:19-20), and therefore he is not his own any longer. Therefore he is to Glorify God in his body and in his spirit. He knows now that he has been made a “new creature” in Christ, and now “old things have passed away; behold all things have become new” (2 Cor. 5:17). He has now been given a new will; one that desires to follow Christ, love, holiness, peace and joy and turn from the “old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts” (Eph. 4:22), and follow the mind of the “new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Eph. 4:24).
In fact, the converted man has made 180o turn-a-round in his goals, his desires, his motives; every aspect of his life and walk has been changed from following sin to following righteousness; from self on the throne, to Christ being on the throne in his spirit; from being a citizen of the kingdom of darkness, to being a citizen of the Kingdom of God; from being ruled by lust of the flesh, lust of the eye and the pride of life, to being ruled by the Love of God.
Therefore, Conversion and Confession are the last steps in the regenerating process. This process begins with the quickening (the call) of the the sinner dead in trespasses and sins; whereby the quickened sinner is given eyes to see, and ears to hear spiritual matters. He is given the gift of repentance; and he is drawn by God to acknowledge he is a sinner worthy of eternal damnation, and to acknowledge that Christ is the Son of God in the flesh, his Sacrifice, his Substitute, and his Savior. He confesses that he has an understanding that Christ is true, and he is in Christ; and that Christ is God, even Eternal Life.
Therefore, this is Conversion; another proof that you are a child of God; that you are a possessor of Eternal Life (Christ), and nothing shall ever separate you from the Love of God (Rom. 8:29-39). When you experience Conversion (which is performed in the sinner by God and by Him alone) – then you will have peace in your spirit that you are His and He is yours, now and forever. This, dear reader, is true security of the believer.
The devotions in this series titled “What is the Call?” – are submitted to the “believer” in Christ; who has now come to rest in Christ as his Sacrifice, his Substitute, and his Savior for his Salvation. In order for the believer to have a clear understanding that the “peace” he now enjoys in his conversion is because his Salvation from spiritual death to having spiritual life (even Eternal Life; Who is Christ) began with God in Eternity Past, in the Eternal Purpose of God in Christ (Eph. 1:4-6); and was carried out by Christ in His Atonement on the Cross, for those whom the Father chose in Him, before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4-7); and the experiential knowledge given by the Holy Spirit in the process of regeneration (from quickening, or the call, to the conversion and confession) that he is a child of God. Also, that the believer will know that this entire process (that brought him from spiritual deadness to spiritual life) is solely dependent upon the actions by Christ, and by Him alone, based upon the Eternal Purpose of God; and not on any merits of himself.
Therefore, the devotions in this series (Part 1; The Person; The Agent of the Call – Part 2; The Power; The Applicator of the Call – Part 3; The Platform; The Assurance of the Call – Part 4; The Proof; The Authority of the Call) are submitted to the believer for his edification in Christ, and that Christ may have all the glory for the believer’s salvation. Knowing that his salvation is completely in Christ, and by Christ, allows the believer to come to have perfect security of his salvation; and this is the believer’s “peace and assurance” for now and for all eternity.