By Eugene Crawley
Through the centuries many have spoken on conversion, a vital subject in regard to man’s salvation from sin, and proper relationship to God. That there is disagreement and division in their teachings is too evident to be overlooked or ignored. Far too many people have listened; and continue to listen, to the various and differing doctrines of men relative to this subject. And, too few have been sufficiently concerned to see what God has spoken on the matter. Apparently some have forgotten, or do not know, that God has spoken! It should, therefore, behoove us to seek to learn that which God has revealed unto man in the Bible, His inspired revelation. Our attitude should be one of willingness to turn to the inspired Scriptures and allow God to tell us what He requires of responsible persons on this great subject.
Speaking through His Son, He said, “Except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:3). In Matt. 7:21, He said, “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” In Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus, He said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). And, notice in connection with these instructions, the statements in Acts 2:47, “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” The church, according to Jesus’ statement in Matt. 16:18, 19, is the kingdom of heaven. Have you detected in these that each of them is equal to the same thing – entrance into the kingdom, the church?
To be born again = entrance into the kingdom
To be converted = entrance into the kingdom
To do God’s will = entrance into the kingdom
To be saved = entrance into the kingdom
What this means is simply this: Things equal to the same thing, as these are, are equal to each other. Thus, there should not be as much mystery about the new birth or conversion as some think and would have others to believe. If a person cannot understand the new birth, as some contend they cannot, then surely he can understand what is meant by doing the Father’s will; and remember, these are equal to the same thing and are, therefore, equal to each other; they mean the same, result in the same. Yes, to be born again is the same as being converted, doing God’s will, or being saved; there should be no difficulty at all here.
Man’s need for conversion, salvation, can be seen from these facts: all have sinned (Rom. 3:23); sin separates man from God (Isa. 59:1, 2); the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23). However, God has made provision for man to be delivered from such and to be translated into His kingdom. (See such passages as John 3:16; Rom. 5:8; Luke 19:10; Matt. 20:28; Heb. 2:9; Col. 1:13 and Phil. 2:7, 8.)
In the great Commission given by Jesus following His triumphant resurrection from the dead, He instructed His apostles to “teach all nations, baptizing them” (Matt. 28:18-20); to “preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15); and “that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name in all nations” (Luke 24:47). Thus, He would have the taught to believe the truth, repent of sins, and be baptized in His name for remission of sins.
To even further simplify the means by which man is saved from sin and to make it easy to be understood, God has included various examples of conversion in the book of Acts. In each case, the gospel in its purity and completeness was preached, responsible persons heard this message, repented of their sins, and were, upon confession of their faith in Christ, baptized in the name of Christ for remission of sins, or in order to be saved, born again, converted, and enter the kingdom. You may read these accounts and be even further impressed with the truth of God’s will, and its simplicity: Acts 2:22-47; 8:1-13; 8:26-40; 9:1-18; 10:1-48; 16:14, 15; 16:25-34; 18:1-8 and 19:1-6. Then, compare these with each other, and measure your conversion by that which these people did. Having done so, you can know whether or not you have been truly converted to Christ. Have you? If you have not met these same conditions of faith as they were required to meet you have not been saved; you should seriously consider the spiritual condition of your soul and your standing before God.
For God to save you, you must meet His conditions! Your soul is too valuable to risk being deceived in this life, and going to judgment unprepared to meet the Lord. So, be certain by searching the inspired Scriptures, and doing what they teach – nothing more, nothing less, and nothing else! Then you will become what the inspired word of God instructs – simply a Christian!
Truth Magazine XXIV: 46, p. 738
November 20, 1980