Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What Happened At Your Conversion?

When you stop to ponder what happened at the moment of your conversion (new birth) it can be hard to find the right language to describe it. If you had to explain to someone else what took place could you put words and terms to it?

Today I want to give us a look at what happened at our conversion. This will be helpful not only for understanding your own conversion, but also knowing what needs to happen for those who have yet to trust Christ.

Here's what happens:

1. We HEAR THE GOSPEL. This could be through a sermon, evangelistic encounter, or just a personal relationship in which the gospel has been made known. (Romans 10:14-17)

2. Once we have heard, we believe by FAITH (which is a gift of God) the gospel message and surrender our whole lives to Jesus Christ. This surrender includes REPENTANCE of sins by turning from our wicked ways and turning to God. (Ephesians 2:8-9; Acts 2:38; Matthew 4:17)

3A. At the moment of faith & repentance we are PARDONED of all our sin. This simply means that our record of debt has been canceled. We are forgiven. (Isaiah 55:7)

3B. At the moment of faith & repentance we are JUSTIFIED before God. While being pardoned cancels our record of sin, being justified restores us to relationship. So instead of only being without a sin-record before God, we are also given right-standing with Him. (Romans 3:21-26)

3C. At the moment of faith & repentance we are ADOPTED into the family of God. We are not born children of God, but children of wrath. In order for us to be made children of God, we must be adopted into God's family. He did this for us at our conversion. (Galatians 4:4-7; 1 John 3:9-10; Ephesians 2:3)

3D. At the moment of faith & repentance we are REGENERATED and are made new by the Holy Spirit. We are made new creatures in Christ, the old is gone and the new has come. (Ezekiel 36:24-27; 2 Corinthians 5:17)

This is what happened at our conversion. We HEARD THE GOSPEL, in some form, and we believe by FAITH (a gift from God) and REPENTED of our sins. At the moment of faith & repentance, God, in one simultaneous action, PARDONED us, JUSTIFIED us, ADOPTED us, and REGENERATED us. Praise be to His name!!

This is the order of salvation. It is what happened to you and to me. This teaches us as believers that we must be messengers of the gospel, since it is the catalyst for all of salvation. God saves sinners. He has done this great work in us. We should live to glorify Him in all we do, for how could we live for another?

Please leave a comment below based on the following questions: Is this something that helps you to understand the work of God's grace in your life? Does this finally help give some language and structure to your understanding of salvation? What was the most helpful for you?

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  1. What about "recognition of sin?" This to me is the biggest obstacle to those that are lost. In our natural, broken state, we just don't see ourselves as "that bad." Somewhere between "hearing the Gospel", and "faith and repentance", should be "recognition of our sinful condition." I believe this is the catalyst for our NEED for a saviour. This step is most likely included in the "Hear the Gospel" step, but to me, it stands alone, because of the significance. Please correct me where I'm wrong on this. Love this conversation!

  2. Jeff, I think you could make an argument that POVERTY OF SPIRIT would follow hearing the gospel and precede faith & repentance. It is certainly implied that before one can ever believe by faith and repent of sin that they would need to see their need for a Savior to have faith in and recognize sin to be repented of.

    I would not fight against the idea of POVERTY OF SPIRIT being a stand-alone point between HEARING THE GOSPEL & FAITH AND REPENTANCE.

    Good thoughts.