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The Doctrine of Conversion

Conversion is our willing response to the gospel call, in which we sincerely repent of sins and place our trust in Jesus Christ for salvation. It is a two-sided coin, made up of faith and repentance together.

What Faith is Not

Faith is not just knowing some things about God and Jesus, etc.

· James 2:19 "You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe-and shudder!"

Faith is not just believing that the things you know about Jesus are true.

Faith is not just a feeling. Although it engages our emotions, it is not just them. It is not just believing some fact hard enough that it makes it true!

What Faith Is

Faith is knowing some things about God, sin, man, and the cross.

· Romans 10:14 "But how are they to call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?"

· Hebrews 11:6 "And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him."

Faith also involves believing these facts about God, sin, man and Jesus' cross-work to be true.

· Romans 10:9-11 ".if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, "Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame."

Faith also includes acting on your belief that the facts the Bible teaches about God, sin, man and Jesus are true. It is to trust in the person of Jesus for salvation.

· "Saving faith is trust in Jesus Christ as a living person for forgiveness of sins and for eternal life with God." (Grudem, 710) "Faith is the commitment of the whole man to a whole Christ." (Fellows, 74)

· John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."

· Matthew 11:28-30 "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

Some More Thoughts on Faith

1. Faith increases with knowledge - it is not the opposite of knowledge.

2. Faith may better be spoken of as "trust." (A legitimate translation of the Greek word and perhaps a better English word because of all the confusion surrounding the use of the word, "faith.")

3. Faith does not stop after conversion - it is the whole life of a Christian and something that we grow in as we grow in Jesus.

4. Faith could be described as "acting on what the Bible says about God and life."

What Repentance is Not

Repentance is not the fear of God. Lots of people are scared of God, but they keep living in sin!

· James 2:19 "You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe-and shudder!"

Repentance is not being sorry for your sin.

· 2 Corinthians 7:10 "For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death." (Grief and repentance are two separate things- remember Judas!)

Repentance is not just confessing your sin.

· 1 Samuel 15:24-25 "Saul said to Samuel, "I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice. Now therefore, please pardon my sin and return with me that I may worship the Lord." (Saul said all the right words, but his heart was not in them!)

What Repentance Is

Repentance is a change to being spiritually-minded.

· Romans 8:5-8 "For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God."

Repentance is a sorrow for sin - or what is sometimes called "conviction of sin."

· see 2 Corinthians 7:10 again

Repentance involves confessing that your actions are sinful.

· 1 John 1:8-10 "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us."

Repentance is a turning from sin, renouncing and forsaking it and seeking to live a life of obedience to Jesus.

· Acts 2:36-41 Peter concludes a long sermon with the words, "Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified." Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself." And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, "Save yourselves from this crooked generation." So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls."

The Crucial Part: Faith and Repentance Stick Together!

If you have faith with no repentance - you are not saved!

· John 2:23-25 "Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.

If you have repentance with no faith - you are not saved!

· Mark 10:17-22 "Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth." And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, "You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions."

Soli Deo Gloria (To God Alone be the Glory)

Even Repentance and Faith, although completely our actions and not something that God does for us on our behalf, are a gift from Him! (Faith a gift = Ephesians 2:8; Repentance a gift = Acts 11:18)