Wednesday, April 29, 2015

How Do Christians Grow In A Local Church-Part 4: Understanding Conversion

Mark Dever wrote in 9 Marks of a Healthy Church, "A biblical understanding of conversion will help you to grow as a Christian." Conversion is when a believer answers the call of God to repent of their sins and trust in Christ for forgiveness under the power of the Holy Spirit. Simply put: It is the moment you become a Christian.

How will conversion help us grow as a Christian? Dever continues, "As you realize your own spiritual state and realize your dependence on God for your own Christian life, rather than becoming indifferent, you become grateful-profoundly and deeply thankful to God that He had mercy on you and on so many others. As you do so your hope becomes more certain, because you realize your hope isn't finally based on your faithfulness but on God's faithfulness. That's a tremendous encouragement to anyone who knows himself to be a sinner. God loves us out of His own nature of love."

Did your heart leap for joy as your read this? My heart did I wrote it. A true understanding of conversion will result in praising God for savings us in spite of ourselves and because He is faithful. The gospel should remind us of how God saved us. One of my favorite passages in the Bible is 2 Timothy 1:9 which says that God "saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began." Titus 3:5-6 reminds us that God "saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior."

Dever concludes by stating, "As we begin to recognize our own salvation as the fruit of God's work in our lives, we're not even tempted to feel the wrong kind of pride in our spiritual life, because we have understood from the Bible what conversion is. We have understood more of what is a true Christian is, and how we become one-by the grace of God."

Recommended Reading:

The Gospel Call and True Conversion by Paul Washer

Finally Alive by John Piper

Memoirs of the Way Home: Ezra and Nehemiah as a Call to Conversion by Gerald M Bilkes

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