Conversion means turning or changing. We convert water to ice, a log to lumber, and wood to paper. From such examples we can understand what conversion means - it is a changing process wherein something is changed from one form into another. While the end result is the goal, the process is essential in order for the end result to be a achieved.

Conversion is also a Bible word and is used primarily of converting a sinner to a Christian; from a lost condition to a saved condition. While this is the end result, the process by which conversion is done is absolutely essential. The process is necessary in order for the full conversion to take place.

The conversion of a sinner to a Christian demands a complete change that includes three areas: (1) A change of mind (heart) which is accomplished by the teaching of God's word. (2) A change of conduct. A change of heart must lead to a change in the way we live. In the Scriptures this is called "repentance". (3) A change in relationship. As in all conversions, there is a final act that makes the conversion complete. So it is in becoming a Christian. The final act that transfers one from the world and puts them into Christ is baptism. "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ." (Galatians 3:27). "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Christ were baptized into His death?"(Romans 6:3).

By looking at the chart on the next page, we can see that conversion begins with the preaching and teaching of God's word and ends with baptism. It is from the waters of baptism that we rise to "walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:3,4).

If we are to be converted like those we read about in the New Testament, we must examine their conversion and do no more nor no less than they did. When we add up the totality of what the New Testament reveals about the conversions, we can have the complete picture of what we need to do to be converted from a sinner to a Christian; from one who is in sin and lost to one who's sins are forgiven and is a child of God.

Study carefully each conversion. Read the scriptures again and again to notice what was done. This will reveal the process by which conversion took place. Certainly there will be things that are incidental from one case to another but, particularly, note the similarities in each example.

Surely we can see that our conversion to God depends upon our hearing, believing, repenting, confessing, and being baptized. Our change must be of heart, life, and relationship. Men may, and often do, present other rules of conversion but such are not from God and will not reconcile man to God. "There is a way which seemeth right unto man; But the end thereof are the ways of death" (Prov. 14:12). God has given the process. Let us be content with accepting, obeying, and teaching only that which God has revealed.

--E.R. Hall, Jr.

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