What does God do in conversion?

9Marks

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?

9Marks

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?

9Marks

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?

9Marks

No. But…

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

9Marks
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?

9Marks
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?

9Marks
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?

9Marks
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?

9Marks
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?

9Marks

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.

What is “the gospel of the kingdom”?

9Marks

It’s very popular these days to talk about “the gospel of the kingdom.”

Many people claim that when Jesus came “preaching the gospel of the kingdom” (Matt. 4:23) he was preaching a message about the overthrow of evil government powers, the transformation of society, and the lifting up of the poor. All kinds of revolutionaries can get behind these ideas.

But is that what the Bible means when it speaks about the gospel of the kingdom? Not exactly.

How does the gospel address both guilt and shame?

9Marks

Some church leaders today argue that the gospel addresses shame rather than guilt. Or they say that shame is a more primary category in Scripture and that we should de-emphasize the idea of guilt when we share the gospel.

What’s the most fundamental problem the gospel addresses?

9Marks
Is the gospel fundamentally about meeting our needs? Fulfilling our desire for meaning? Transforming society? Teaching us to live better lives? Lifting up the poor? Making us rich and healthy? All of these ideas about the gospel latch onto a perceived problem and say, “That’s what the gospel is all about!” But are any of those things what the gospel is all about? Are any of those things the fundamental problem the gospel addresses?

Is there a contradiction between God’s love and wrath?

9Marks

Have you ever heard the following? “God is love! He would never judge anyone or send anyone to hell! That’s just not loving!” Pitting God’s love against God’s wrath is as common these days as the biblical illiteracy which feeds such a sentiment.

What is sin?

9Marks
Sin is fundamentally rebellion against God (Rom. 1:18-32). Sin is refusing to acknowledge God as God and putting ourselves in the place of God. Sin is any act that does not wholly conform to the will and law of God (1 Jn. 3:4).