When we speak of Christian conversion, at times we think that there is going to be some dramatic or extraordinary transformation of a person physically and mentally. We may see a certain glow on the outside and there appears to be a peaceful spirit on the inside. However, this does not mean that the person was converted to a Christian. Let us begin our study in the book of Romans and find the definition of a converted Christian.
For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. (Romans 8:6). If you let your sinful nature control your mind, this will lead to death. If you let the Holy Spirit control your mind it leads to eternal life in the next life and peace of mind in this world. (Galatians 6:8). If you search out doctrine or material things to please your flesh, you will reap a harvest of spiritual decay and death. But, if you search and plant good sound doctrine and truth in the Word (good things of the spirit), then you will reap the everlasting life which the Holy Spirit offers.
Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. (Romans 8:7). The sinful nature is always against God. It never obeyed God's laws, and it never will.
So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. (Romans 8:8). If you let your flesh control you, you can never please God. (Galatians 5:17), Our flesh always wants to do wrong and what is the opposite or against the Holy Spirit. Just as the Holy Spirit wants to do what is right and what is the opposite or against the flesh. (Romans 7:15, 7:23).
But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. (Romans 8:9). Here is the condition: You are only controlled by the Spirit, if you have the Spirit of God (the Holy Spirit), living in you. And remember, those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to Him at all. (1 Corinthians 3:16, Ephesians 1:13, 1 John 3:24).
Now that we know the definition of conversion, lets turn to the book of John and see how God draws us to conversion. No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:44). In other words, no one can come to Christ unless they are drawn to Him by the Heavenly Father. (God is in control)! All that are drawn to Christ by the Heavenly Father will be raised up in the last day. And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. (John 44:65). Jesus would explain to them again; "This is why I said that people can't come to Me unless the Father gives them to Me." (2 Timothy 2:25). Only God can change those who do not believe. The Heavenly Father is the one who changes hearts. You plant the seed, He will make it grow, "if it is His will."
When we say if it is His will, it is because God is longsuffering and grants us repentance to start the conversion. i.e. to turn from sin. Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? (Romans 2:4). Our Heavenly Father is kind, tolerant, and long suffering (patient), with all His children to turn from sin. (Psalms 86:15, Isaiah 30:18, John 4:2, 1 Timothy 1:16, 1 Peter 3:20).
After the conversion has started, because of God's promise, He imparts divine nature to help us escape the corruption in the world. Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (2 Peter 1:4). Because of His great glory and excellence, He has given us precious promises to become partakers in His divine nature. We can spot Satan and his tricks with this divine nature and escape the world's corruption caused by human desires. (We don't stand a chance without God's help).
After we accept Christ and become partakers of this divine nature, we become a child of God: Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:2). We can't imagine what it will be like later on, but we know that when He appears on the scene again, we will be like Him. Christ was 33 years old when He was crucified, and when He returns, He will be just as when He left. We will be like Him as a result of seeing Him as He really is. But for now, we must try to follow Christ and His teachings to the best of our ability. Will it be easy? No it won't!
Don't forget one important thing. "Satan's pull against us." How were we before conversion? Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: (Ephesians 2:2). Following the crowds and were just like all the others, full of sin and obeying Satan, the prince of the power of the air. He is at work right now in the hearts of those who are against the Lord. Children here is translated the sons of Satan, the Kenites, or sons of Cain. (Cain being the son of Satan and the first murderer). This word "course" in the Greek Strong's G165 is "Aion" a time period, or since the world began. We also have the children of disobedience in the "first earth age," the one third who followed Satan. Then we have the children of disobedience with "the fallen angels." (Genesis 6:1-2). Read our study topics "Three earth ages" and "The fallen angels" for a better understanding.
There is always going to be a constant struggle after our conversion, but Christ makes us free from the power of sin and death. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:2). Because we believe in Christ and walk after the Spirit we belong to Christ. Because we belong to Christ, the Spiritual law of life has freed us from the power of sin that leads to death. (2 Corinthians 3:17, Galatians 5:1). Christ has made us free. (John 8:32). Make sure you stay free and don't get all tied up in the chains of slavery to the Jewish laws and ceremonies. (Acts 15:10). Don't get tied up under bondage to any religion, organization, cult, or traditions of men.
Don't give into sin and the ways of the world. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. (Romans 7:15). Paul always had a problem with this as I believe many do today. We always want to do right, but many times we do what we hate. (Ecclesiastes 7:20, I John 1:7-8). If we say we will never sin, we are only fooling ourselves and refusing to accept the truth. Many believe that once you are saved you cannot sin. Not so! We are all sinners as long as we are in this flesh body. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. (Romans 7:17). It is not necessarily us that does the wrong. It is the sin within us that is doing wrong. We need to listen more to our good spirit within (the Holy Spirit), and not the evil spirit that entices the flesh man. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. (Romans 7:18). Nothing good lives within us concerning our sinful nature. When we listen to our sinful nature within, we cannot do what is right. (Galatians 5:17). Our flesh always wants to do wrong and what is the opposite or against the Holy Spirit. Just as the Holy Spirit wants to do what is right and what is the opposite or against the flesh. However, we have a secret weapon in time of need: Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16). Come boldly to the throne of God. There we will receive His mercy and we will find grace to help us in time of need. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10), we can take pleasure in our weaknesses for Christ's sake. "For when I am weak, them I am strong."
So then, completing our conversion and staying right with God depends on following Christ, who (through accepting Him and upon repentance), cleansed us form all sin. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (1 John 1:7). If we walk in the light and fellowship with Christ, it cleanses us from all sin. The apostle Paul best sums it up. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20). Paul was explaining that his old self was crucified with Christ; and now Christ lives within him by accepting Christ and believing in Him. (Romans 6:6, 2 Corinthians 5:15). This is what baptism is all about. Symbolically being buried with Christ and resurrecting to a new person with Christ living within you. "The true mark of a converted Christian."
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