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Conversions Of The New Testament

January 22, 2010 By: alanpg Category: How To Get to Heaven

Autumn Red Sky Mountain Sunset

(Picture courtesy http://www.forestwander.com)


The following is a portion of Appendix 4 from my book, “What Is Life all About?

CONVERSIONS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT

THERE IS MUCH Confusion brought by man regarding what God requires for conversion. It is the purpose of this post to explain this most important process. Before we begin detailing the process and showing the instances of conversions in the New Testament, we need to clarify the Bible use of conversion or being converted.


The Meaning of Conversion


It might be better if instead of conversions (of the New Testament), I used salvation’s (of the New Testament) or being-born-again events (of the New Testament) or translations from kingdom of Satan to the kingdom of God (of the New Testament) or forgiveness of past sins (of the New Testament). Actually, the idea of conversion implies turning or being changed and is an active process. Conversion is essential as Matthew 18.3 and Acts 3.19 indicate.

Matthew 18.3

Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

Acts 3.19

Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.


The Bible definition of converted is “to turn” and thus portrays an active requirement on the part of the person involved. Specifically in the verses above, it is a voluntary act in response to the presentation
of truth [Vines Expository Dictionary Of New Testament words]. Figuratively as used in Matthew 18.3, conversion is turning one thing into another. God’s plan of reconciliation requires you do something, and since there is sin, you cannot be reconciled. You are going to have to change or turn (your decision). God will then change you, translate you to the kingdom of His Son.

The Road To Heaven In Its Commands
Is A Change Process


In addition to the whole conversion process being a turning, the command to repent is very specifically turning away from sin in your life. You know you have turned if indeed you have turned and thus been converted, been saved, been born again, been translated into the kingdom of God, had your past sins forgiven. God validates your actions and thus your conversion. Therefore, in the mind of God, you are a child of God. In this sense, conversion occurs in the mind of God. Only God knows your heart, and that is why you may wrongly think you are converted. You cannot fool God. Perhaps you have no real intention of giving up certain sins, and/or perhaps you have real doubts that Jesus is God’s Son. Yes, we can fool ourselves, so we truly need to be dedicated to our commitment in order to be certain we are in the desired state.
In John 3.5-8, Jesus describes the requirement for entering the kingdom of God as being born again and compares it to the wind blowing in that you cannot see where it comes from or where it goes.

John 3.5-8

5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’
8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

This is an aspect of being born of the Spirit. You cannot see the result of your turning, but by faith, you know it happened in the mind of God if indeed you have not fooled yourself. You have turned or changed in the following ways, at each step God validates your actions, and you become a child of God. The commands are as follows:
• Believe: You turn from not believing Jesus to be the Son of God to believing.
• Confess: Your verbal confession of Jesus as God’s Son outwardly demonstrates your commitment.
• Repent. What is repentance? Repentance is not being sorry, although godly sorrow leads to repentance. Repentance occurs when you change your mind about sin, about its seriousness and demonstrate that by TURNING from sin previously in your life.
• Baptism: You take the action God prescribes in Baptism and have your sins forgiven.
You have voluntarily turned in obedience, and in this last step, God turns you or translates you from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of His Son. You become a child of God.

Galatians 3.26,27

26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.



Summary

Conversion is the process of turning or changing, and the result of a successful turning is to become a child of God. In the process, there are different ways of describing the result provided by God, and they include, “being saved, being translated into the kingdom of God, having your past sins forgiven, being born again, having put on Christ.” There are others but you are a child of God and headed for heaven if you persevere.
Simplifying, to become a child of God; believe, confess, repent, and be baptized. The word convert helps our understanding in that it emphasizes action on your part, a turning from something to something else.

God’s requirements for conversion and actual conversions

The fundamental dilemma with conversion is that over history people have taken what they want from scripture and called it conversion. Process to Heaven explains what God requires to become a child of God, a Christian. Very simply we need to do all that God requires for conversion. In the various conversions of the New Testament, we will see portions of what God requires mentioned and portions not mentioned in specific cases. By faith (or even by reasoning or necessary inference) we understand everything that God requires was included when a person became a child of God. So many people want to take John 3.16 as the whole of the Gospel. John 3.16 is a part of the Gospel but does not contain all you must do (although all you must do is contained in the idea of believing, i.e., a person who truly believes in Jesus will do all He says and for the reason He says).
The table, “Conversions Of The New Testament” that follows lists the steps required to become a child of God and how they are mentioned as part of the New Testament conversions. The process of conversion as God has revealed is a series of steps that He has tied to establishing a relationship with His Son. Each step has an individual meaning, and in totality, you become a child of God. The first step is hearing or reading the truth and is necessary to obtain the correct knowledge. Believing in Jesus, what He did, and why is the central theme for conversion. Confessing Christ before man as God’s Son, the Savior is required in order to have Jesus acknowledge you before the Father.
Repentance signifies your willingness and really your agreement to change your life from one where sin was a part of your life to a life where you no longer transgress the law of God. Finally, in baptism, there is a dying to sin (burial in water) and a rising (out of the water) to a new life being born again spiritually. You understand by faith that in baptism, you did a great deal more than get wet. You took advantage of what Christ did in His death, burial, and resurrection for you. He is truly the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him. Now you have obeyed Him, and as the Bible states in 1 Peter 3.21, “There is also an antitype* which now saves us, namely, baptism [not the removal of the filth of the flesh but the answer of a good conscience toward God], through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
* the earlier type of Noah and his family who were saved by water foreshadowed the antitype, [baptism].
God has provided in the process of conversion something so beautiful in its simplicity, thoroughness, and meaning. It perfectly encompasses faith (belief and action), love (response to what God has done for man), and hope (a new life, a relationship with God now and potentially on into eternity) as one responds to the will of God.


Conversions Of The New Testament


The following chart simply presents the record of what happened at each conversion in the New Testament relative to God’s commands.
table5

Calling On The Name Of The Lord

**The term, “calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22.16) does not necessarily mean that this is an example of one confessing Jesus before men. I grant it might include this, but this phraseology carries much more significance. Colossians 3.17 says, “And [whatever] you do in word or deed, [do] all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Doing all things in the name of Jesus does not mean continuously speaking the name of Jesus, but that we should do all things religiously by the authority of Christ. So when we read Acts 2.21, “And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (or the same verse in Romans 10.13), we understand Jesus as Lord and accept the validity of His commandments (and do them) in relation to salvation. Both Acts 2.21 and Romans 10.13 have their origin (that is the same phraseology) in Joel 2.32. The passage in Joel points forward in history to what happened in Acts 2 and the beginning of the church (kingdom). Thus“calling on the name of the Lord” contains the commands of God delivered that day for salvation. Furthermore, it would be no surprise to have Ananias in Acts 22.16 telling Saul (Paul) to “arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” For it is truly by Christ’s obedient death on the cross that men can
have their sins forgiven by baptism as they participate with Christ in that form of doctrine (the death, burial, and resurrection). Therefore, in summary, calling on the name of the Lord is not a “yelling out” of His Name but recognition of Jesus and His authority relative to salvation.

About Confessing Jesus

Another distinction needs to be made regarding the table above relative to the confess column. Confess refers to confessing Jesus before men as explained at the start of this appendix. Except for the clarifications just made for “calling on the name of the Lord,” no conversions relative to “confess” are specifically mentioned as part of a conversion. However, in Acts 8, the Ethiopian verbally acknowledges Jesus as the Christ in verse 37. There are also indications of this “confessing” of Jesus in three other conversions. It is possible that “magnifying God” of Acts 10.46 and “having believed in God” of Acts 16.34 and “believed on the Lord” of Acts 18.8 could have included the confessing of Jesus before men. This requirement that God has placed as part of salvation is the part that allows Jesus to confess you before the Father. It is a requirement that is so closely tied to believing that it may be hard to distinguish. For example, if one is asked, “do you believe Jesus is the Christ the Son of God” and they respond yes, that would fulfill the requirement of confessing Jesus before men. A Christian should never be ashamed of Christ, but is always ready to confess Jesus as Lord. God, of course, knows the heart of each man; but it seems that in this matter, God wants man to “say it.” This is not a matter to be timid or shy about, even if that is your normal character. Many important Bible characters were naturally apprehensive and reserved, such as Moses, Peter, and Paul; but in God’s plan, they could not remain that way. Certainly, the process of becoming all you can be in service to the Lord is one of growth, and the starting point is your conversion. It is the beginning of your standing on your own two feet in service to God. The conversion process even in its simplicity necessitates humility, courage, and commitment.
As a result of a love of what men/women have taught, the truth from God has been missed and thus there are many who think themselves Christian, but are not.
Most Christians are not Christians
Helpful reading: Protestant Movement

3 Comments to “Conversions Of The New Testament”


  1. Water baptism in the New Testament was always in the name of Jesus.Not one person in the New Testament was ever Baptized in water in the title Father,Son and Holy Ghost,or Trinity.Maybe you can explain,why there is no Trinity baptism in the Bible.Jesus spoke with the Apostles for 40 days after he rose from the dead.Jesus said to go and baptize all nations in the name of the,Father,Son,and Hloy Ghost.The Apostles went forth and water baptized in the name of Jesus.Now either Jesus is the name of the Father,Son and Holy Ghost or the Apostles did not obey what Jesus commanded them to do.Could you please explain,thank-you so much.Steve

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    • The word that is not used in the bible is trinity or trinity baptism. The command that was given was to baptize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was the comforter to the apostles and was to guide them into all truth and that would mean they baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Jesus, said they should do all things in the name of Jesus. This does not mean to go around doing everything by verbalizing the name of Jesus. However, in the life of a child of God they need to do everything in the name of Jesus (by the authority of Jesus), which is nothing different than doing everything by the authority of God or we might say by the authority of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Baptism is authorized by God as we learn and for the specified reason, that is for the forgiveness of past sins. Baptism is possible because Christ died, was buried and rose from the dead. The emphasis in the scripture is about authority and that comes from God and there is a unity in all things between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. There are a number of different ways you can go with your question and if want to expand, I will be glad to provide more input. Good question.

      2
    • Steve,
      The command to baptize is in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
      Matthew 28:19-20
      19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
      There are three distinct persons in the nature of God as He has revealed himself. The idea of God includes all three, all were in the beginning of creation. The important thing is always the authority and God authorizes baptism. When you do something in the name of Jesus, it is by His authority or by the authority of God.
      The words of baptism include those responsible for authorizing it. God is over all and there is perfect unity with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Baptism is into the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, as we say obey the gospel and you are obeying Jesus (Hebrews 5.9). The knowledge you have from God came through the Holy Spirit as Jesus said the Comforter would lead the apostles into all truth (John 16.13). Now, Jesus sits at the right hand of God (the Father) having been given all power and authority over heaven and earth. At he end of time, He will return the kingdom back to God (the Father). Baptism is always by the name of Jesus, that is by the authority of Jesus. Just as the scriptures indicate do all things in the name of Jesus, it does not mean using the name of Jesus in all you do, but do all things by His authority. Since the scriptures are specific in relation to baptism as using the words that include all three this would be appropriate. By whose authority do you baptize, well by the authority of Jesus who has been given all authority since His death. The trinity is not a bible term, so using it may just confuse. You do not know if there are any baptisms in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit but you can be assured that all the scriptural baptisms were done with those words. The apostles led by the Holy Spirit would know this directive from God. God’s word is perfect, no mistakes. People will change the scriptures here and there and since all things fit together perfectly it can be recognized when those things occur. This was a good question and the kind of question coming from one who loves the truth – which the scriptures is necessary.
      Alan

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