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How Converted Are You?

How Converted Are You?

   You must be thinking “What kind of question is that?” The question comes as a result of observations of some who “professed” to be Christians over the years.

    The very definition of “converted” indicates a change has occurred, but one that is a “Christian” and continues in their previous manner of life is not converted at all.   This indicates that the change the gospel should have made in them has not yet happened. We might look to the life of the apostle Paul for an inspired example of conversion and how a life is properly changed by the gospel. In the Acts 26:4-6 account of Paul’s defense before Agrippa, we see his explanation of his training as

a Jew from his youth and how that not only caused him to act as he did prior to his conversion, but also gives us the reason why he was being judged by the Jews on that occasion.   My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews; Which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee. 6 And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers: 

   Then we see in 2Timothy 3:10-11 the Spirit had Paul remind Timothy that he had observed Paul’s manner of life and that Paul’s manner of life and his persecution was because he had truly been converted.   But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, 11 Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.    The persecutions Paul suffered was because He had been converted – changed – changed by the gospel.   That change was apparent to all with whom he would come in contact, whether brethren or enemies of the cross of Christ.  

     We are also told in 2Timothy 3:12 that if we have been converted we too can fully expect persecution, albeit not necessarily the same type Paul had to endure. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.  To be godly in this world means that one has been converted and is different than the world and therefore will be persecuted by the world in one way or another.    We should also understand that conversion is not a concept that is exclusive to the New Testament. As we look to Psalms 51, we can see in vss 10-13 that one who is converted will then teach others God’s Ways, and will do their best to reach others with God’s Word so they too can be converted.   Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. 11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. 12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.  13 Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee. 

   In Matthew 13:10 while Jesus was on the earth, His apostles asked why He spoke to the people in parables. Verse 11 is His answer. He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.  Then in Matthew 13:15 He explained why.  For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.  Why would they not be converted?   It was because they would not receive the Words of Jesus.    

      We should be aware that many were converted in A.D. 33 on Pentecost in Jerusalem, but who were they?   Acts 2:41 identifies them for us as those that gladly received the Word.   Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.  Only those who gladly receive the Word can be converted and only those that want to remain converted will do so if they continue to stay in the Word.

     It is also important to understand that one cannot be “partially” converted. The apostle Paul, in Acts 26:24-29 in his defense before Festus and king Agrippa desired that Agrippa and all others there were “altogether as he was except his bonds. And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad. 25 But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness. 26 For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest. 28 Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. 29 And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds.  This means that Paul desired that they were “altogether” converted. How converted are you?   If not all the way converted, it is not enough.      Be converted according to God’s Word before it is everlastingly too late.                           

        Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ


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