What practical difference does a biblical understanding of conversion make in the life of a church?

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A church with a biblical understanding of conversion will…

Why is a right understanding of conversion so important for a church’s corporate witness?

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A church that does not rightly understand conversion will…

How do I lovingly confront someone who claims to be converted but who lives like a non-Christian?

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Pray for yourself and the other person. Pray that you would be faithful merely to speak truth, relying on God’s Spirit to do the work of true persuasion (1 Cor. 3:6-7; 2 Cor. 7:8-10). Pray that he would convict and change the heart. Speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15). Approach the person tenderly, patiently, and kindly. Explain that you are confronting them out of a deep and loving concern for their eternal good.

Can someone be genuinely converted and contentedly live in sin?

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Generally speaking, no.

How can I know if I’ve been genuinely converted?

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John’s first epistle offers several “tests” to help Christians know if they have savingly come to faith in Christ:

What does God do in conversion?

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Conversion does not mean that “God helps those who help themselves.” The change we need is so radical that only God can do it. In conversion, God gives life to the dead and sight to the blind. In conversion, God gives the gifts of repentance and faith.

What are people responsible to do in conversion?

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People are responsible to do two things: repent and believe. Conversion is a radical turn away from sin and to God through faith in Christ. Jesus summed up what humans must do in conversion when he commanded his hearers, “Repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15).

 What does it mean to repent?

What is conversion?

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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.

Is the gospel about meeting our felt needs?

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No. But…

On what basis can a person be declared right in God’s sight?

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Not by our works: The Bible teaches that there is no way we can be declared righteous in God’s sight by doing good works (Rom. 3:19-20). We can’t fulfill God’s law (Rom. 8:5-8). We can’t live in a way that is pleasing to God and so earn a righteous status in God’s sight. We deserve only condemnation.

What is the place of good works in salvation?

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The short answer: The Reformers summarized the Bible’s teaching on this subject by saying that we are justified (counted righteous in God’s sight) by faith alone, but the faith that justifies is never alone. Justified by faith alone…: We are justified by faith apart from works of the law (Rom.3:28). God counts us as righteous because he credits the very righteousness of Christ tous (Phil. 3:9, Rom. 5:17). All this happens by faith alone, apart from any good works we do (Rom. 4:4-5).

Is repentance necessary for salvation?

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The claim: Some people say that you can believe in Jesus as “Savior” but not as “Lord.” That is, you can believe in him but never repent of your sin. You can believe in him and be saved even if your life goes on just as it was before you became a Christian. Or so the claim goes.

Is faith in Christ the only way to be saved?

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The cultural challenge: People today love to be inclusive. We want everybody to be right. In fact we think that the only way to be wrong is to think that anyone could ever be wrong about anything. So when it comes to religion we say, “All paths lead to God. There’s no one right way. The right thing to believe is whatever works for you.” But is that what the Bible says?

Is conscious faith in Christ necessary for salvation?

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The question: What about those people who live in some far corner of the world and have never heard the gospel? Will they be saved if they “live up to” the knowledge of God they naturally have? Can they be “anonymous Christians” who somehow believe in Jesus even though they’ve never heard of him? Or is conscious faith in Christ necessary for salvation?

Does the gospel include the transformation of society?

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The gospel is the good news that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners by living in their place, dying in their place to bear God’s wrath against their sins, and rising from the grave in order to give his people eternal life and usher in a new creation.