Monday, April 4, 2011

C is for Conversion



Conversion

Conversion is an integral idea in the Bible. It is probably the least understood principle by the general populace. The idea of conversion has its roots in the Old Testament. Its usage there suggests it signifies "to turn back" "to go back" "to come back" " or to "return." It is also associated with the Hebrew concept "to be sorry" or "to regret."

In the New Testament there are two major words associated with the idea "to turn." Those words are, epistrepho and metanoeo. The second word and its derivatives indicate a renewal of mind and heart, or what we would call "heart-felt repentance."

A key passage in the New Testament is Matthew 18:3 where it reads, "...truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (ESV) The New English Bible reads, "Unless you turn around..." 

In bible theology, conversion is defined as the human response to regeneration, or the re-birth of the spirit in man by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit according to John 3:8  is the means by which a human being who is previously born "spiritually dead" is made alive. The human response once made alive by the Holy Spirit is to respond by repenting, or by turning from sin and turning to God. The process of regeneration and conversion is an instantaneous process enabled solely by the grace of God. The Holy Spirit creates spiritual life in a soul and that soul responds by turning from condemning and damming sin and by turning to God based on the atoning work of Jesus Christ.

Conversion is the incursion of divine grace into human life, the resurrection from spritual death to eternal life. It can be understood that an individual is passive in regernation and active in conversion. We must be careful at this point to make a distinction - we are only active on the basis of grace and only through the power of grace. An individual cannot produce salvation. However, once the spiritual eyes are opened via the Holy Spirit generating spiritual life within an individual, the result will always be conversion;  a willing turning away from sin and a turning to God. It also must be pointed out very carefully that conversion is the sign of our justification before God, however, it is not the cause nor condition of our justification.

Conversion is an event which signifies the action of the Holy Spirit upon an individual which results in an individual responds to the atoning work of Jesus Christ. An individual cannot be converted by his or her own power. We cannot manufacture, conjure up, work up, or otherwise manipulate regeneration or conversion. Both are solely the work of God through the Holy Spirit by grace as a result of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Without conversion no man will see God nor enter the kingdom of heaven. 

19 comments:

Murugi Njehia said...

Hello Greg, I must say i have seen alot of blogs that talk about the Bible and the Christian walk but i have not seen anything like this. Thank you for sharing.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

A great post for C Gregg, keep up the good work.

Yvonne.

Renae said...

What a wonderful use of C. Thanks for the informative post!

Penned Pebbles said...

You're a great teacher! Awesome C post!

TheyCallMeVarmit said...

This is a wonderful use of "C" for the challenge. Will return for more.

Sue H said...

Very informative - thankyou for this!

SueH I refuse to go quietly!

Nicki Elson said...

Well, I'd have to say Conversion is the best "C" out there! For some of us (maybe most?) it's a continual turning back so thank God (literally) for the Lord's grace.

Stephen Tremp said...

I like this theme. And I learned a little Greek today. Thanks!

Trisha said...

Great C, Gregg!

"We cannot manufacture, conjure up, work up, or otherwise manipulate regeneration or conversion. Both are solely the work of God through the Holy Spirit by grace as a result of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Without conversion no man will see God nor enter the kingdom of heaven."

So humbling is the Gospel! Wonderful words of LIFE!

Persis said...

Great post, Gregg!

Lucy Adams said...

I admire you mission with your blog. Nice use of the A to Z Challenge to further that mission.

Lucy

Michelle said...

Interesting...not sure I've ever thought about the difference in conversion and regeneration.

(and wow! It looks different here. I like the new look. I have absolutely ZERO time to get on the computer and read blogs since baby arrived...and if I do, I'd rather sleep! Power is out due to storms and the older kids are out with Daddy shopping. Thankful for laptops and tethered cell phones with internet access!) ;)

Hope to be a regular again soon!

Brianna said...

I love the mission of your blog.
I look forward to reading more.
Brianna

~Rasz~ said...

Thank you Gregg for leaving a comment on my blog so I could find yours. As always, there is a reason for everything and reading your post was extremely fitting for the "C" day and also for the personal day I had. I love the way you explain in detail words that have such a deeper meaning than maybe we realize. I will be a follower of your post. God Bless you.

Cole Garrett said...

I agree with what Lucy said above. I also like the mission of your blog. I'm not the most evangelistic Christian, so I admire the work of others. :)

~Cole at Dry Humor Daily
http://dryhumordaily.blogspot.com

Doreen McGettigan said...

I really enjoyed your 'C'. It was written beautifully in an easy to understand style and quite educational. Thank you for sharing.

http://www.doreenmcgettigan.com

Seams Inspired said...

Excellent 'C' post, Gregg! Love the way you explained conversion. Thanks so much for sharing. Happy Tuesday! :o)

Cathy M. said...

So, conversion is synonymous with repentance (metanoeo)? I always thought it was more synonymous with regeneration and within the scope of monergism.

Of course, since "the process of regeneration and conversion is an instantaneous process," I guess there isn't much point in trying to sort out the "order of operation," like when solving a math problem. (Ha ha)

Very informative, brother Gregg!

Pat Donovan said...

nice gospel presentation on C day.