What is conversion?

Conversion is a U-turn in a person’s life. It is turning with one’s whole person away from sin and to Christ for salvation. From idol worship to God worship. From self-justification to Christ’s justification. From self-rule to God’s rule.

Conversion is what happens when God awakens those who are spiritually dead and enables them to repent of their sins and have faith in Christ.

  • When Jesus calls us to repent and believe, he’s calling us to conversion. It’s a radical change in what we believe and do. (Mark 1:15)
  • When Jesus calls us to take up our crosses and follow him, he’s calling us to conversion. (Luke 9:23)
  • In order for us to repent, God must give us new life, new hearts, and faith (Eph. 2:1, Rom. 6:17, Col. 2:13, Ezek. 36:26, Eph. 2:8, 2 Tim. 2:25).

Conversion is not

  1. A one-time event with no implications for how we live. Conversion does happen at one moment, and it is a moment of radical change. Life should look different thereafter. A new battle begins.
  2. A journey with no destination. Conversion may be preceded by a long process for some, but it always involves a committed decision to repent of sin and trust in Christ, which is the immediate result of God giving new life to a spiritually dead sinner.
  3. Optional. Acts 17:30 says that God commands all people everywhere to repent. Conversion can never be forced, but it is absolutely necessary in order to be saved.
  4. A conversation. While Christians should communicate the gospel humbly, our goal is not merely a pleasant exchange of information. We must call everyone to repent of their sin and trust in Christ for salvation.
  5. Saying a formulaic prayer. Conversion certainly involves praying, but we must be careful not to tempt people toward placing their trust in some special set of words.  

(This material has been mainly drawn from Brad Wheeler’s article “One of the Dirtiest Words Today: C——–n”)