A Healthy Church Member is Genuinely Converted – Part One
Deacons, this past Sunday we discussed the fourth mark of a healthy church member from Thabiti Anyabwile’s book “What is a Healthy Church Member” I made the comment that a person cannot be a church member unless that person is a genuinely converted person.
Now, that statement is true and not true at the same time. It is not true in the sense that a person can be on the rolls of a church as a member and not be converted. However, this is a falsity. This un-converted member is not a member of the body of Christ and therefore, is no true member of the Church. As a result of his or her nominal affiliation with the church, this person is living with an assurance of salvation and life when in reality he is dead and completely unaware of it. This is a very unhealthy state for any person, worse perhaps than that of the un-churched person who holds no such false confidence.
For this reason it is vitally important that we understand what true conversion is and how to examine ourselves with the help of other believers to make certain that we are in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5).
Anyabwile defines conversion as “the radical turn from an enslaved life of pursuing sin to a free life of pursuing and worshiping God” (pg 49). In that definition he uncovers the truth of Ephesians 2:1-3, namely that in our unconverted state we are dead in our trespasses and sins and therefore, objects of God’s condemnation. Romans 8 describes us of having set our minds on the flesh, which is death.
The first key to defining genuine conversion is that we understand that in our unconverted state we are helpless to help ourselves (we are dead, after all) and that through our current affections and way of life we are killing ourselves. No true conversion is occasioned in us outside of an understanding on at least a basic level of this fact. To be converted I must understand that I am hopelessly lost and helpless to recover from that state.
Next time I will write about what must then happen in order for us to be genuinely converted. In the mean time finish reading Ephesians 2 and Romans 8 to begin to see the complete picture of genuine conversion and spend some time in personal reflection on the book of 1 John.
The basis for these writings on being a Healthy Church member are from Anyabwile, Thabiti M.What is a Healthy Church Member?. Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 2008.