(Acts 3:19) “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;”
(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.”
All men have to turn to God and be reconciled back to Him. Man sinned in the Garden of Eden. From that point on, mankind had the need to be reconciled back to God. His sin was offensive to God and caused a gulf to exist between man and God. Being converted means doing the things necessary so we can be reconciled back to God. This doesn’t mean we’re born in sin, but it does mean that as we grow older we become aware that our sinfulness is held against us. Little babies are born innocent of sin, but as we grow older we fall prey to the Tempter and we commit sin. When we reach a certain age we understand that without forgiveness, our sins will be held against us. We need conversion. We need to be converted and turn back to God.
Christ taught Nicodemus that this change was like a birth, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5). Open your Bible and read the Acts of the Apostles (the book of Acts). That book helps us understand the nature of conversion. It tells of the conversions of many different people. In Chapters 2, 8, 9, 10, 11, 16, 18, and 22 are eight key examples of conversion. Certain universal principles of conversion can be understood from these examples.
First, conversion depends on a person accepting the Word of God as the authority in their life. Jesus said, “The seed is the Word.” The conversions mentioned in the book of Acts show us the necessity of hearing and believing in the Word of God. (Romans 1:16-17) “ForI am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” (Hebrews 11:6) “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
A person cannot be saved unless he is willing to submit to the Word of God. Accepting God as the authority in your life is the first step toward spiritual prosperity. We all serve something or somebody. Christians serve God. Anyone who really wants to serve God must recognize the authority of God’s Word.
Second, faith in Jesus Christ produces repentance. Repentance means turning away from sin and deciding to live for Christ. An example of this aspect of conversion is found in Acts 2 in response to Peter’s preaching of Christ. Speaking of those who had crucified Christ, the Bible says, “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Chrit for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2: 37-38). These men who had crucified the Lord had a “change of heart.” They changed their mind. They made up their mind to live differently. They decided to serve the very one they crucified because they were now convinced that He was indeed The Son of God.
Third, men must confess the name of Jesus before men. “with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Rom. 10: 10). Over in (Acts 8:26-39) you can read of an Ethiopian who was converted by the preaching of an evangelist named Philip. After hearing Philip explain the scriptures to him, the Ethiopian asked about baptism. Listen to what the preacher told him in (verses 36-37) “And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” This man made the confession that all men are required to make, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” (Matthew 10:32) “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.” The same chapter in Matthew teach us that if we deny Him, He’ll deny us to the Father.
Finally, a person must be baptized in the likeness of Christ’s death and burial (Rom. 6:3-4) in order for God to forgive him of past sins. (Acts 22:16) “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” The Bible concept of “calling on the name of the Lord” is different than what you might hear TV preachers say. According to Jesus, baptism is how we call on Him. (IPeter 3:21) “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:”
When a person believes in Christ, repents of sin, confesses Christ and is baptized into Christ for the remission of sins, he is converted. Only then has he been born of water and of the Spirit as referred to in (John 3: 3-5). The Lord then adds him to the body, the Church, the Kingdom of God. (Acts 2:47) “Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”
If you have not obeyed these commands of the gospel, we encourage you to do so today. Maybe you’d like to study the subject in greater detail. We’d welcome the opportunity to study with you.