Deacons, last time I gave you the first key to defining genuine conversion, namely that we understand that in our unconverted state we are helpless to help ourselves, and we are killing ourselves with our sin. A person will not seek help unless they know that they need, and they won’t seek the right help unless they have a proper diagnosis of their ailment. A person will not seek to be raised from the dead if they do not understand that they are dead in their sins.
The second key to understanding the nature of genuine conversion, is tied directly to the first. If a person is to be genuinely converted something radical must occur in their life. Anaybwile states, “Conversion is the radical turn from an enslaved life of pursuing sin to a free life of pursuing and worshiping God.” We must be turned around. Our affections for sin must be killed and replaced with life changing affections for God. Without this life changing, radical turn, one cannot be genuinely converted.
What we must understand is that we do not turn on our own. We do not change our affections. We are turned, our affections are set right, when God takes up residence in our soul. Romans 8:9-11 tells us that genuine conversion involves the Holy Spirit dwelling in our hearts as a sign of our righteousness in Christ. In other words, genuine conversion involves our be changed from unrighteous objects of wrath to righteous objects of peace. And, as a result of this change the Holy Spirit takes over where the flesh once ruled and gives us life in place of death.
Why is this important? Why make this distinction? Because each of us must gradually come to a fuller understanding the rich mercy of God and its involvement in making us like Christ so that we do not ever exchange the gospel of Jesus Christ for the gospel of works and law.
Next time I will give some tips for us to follow in our efforts to discern the genuineness of our conversion.
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.