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Have You Been Converted

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There are a great number of people today who think they have been converted to the Lord, who have, in fact, not been. Jesus said to Peter: "When thou are converted, strengthen thy brethren" Lk 22:32. Peter thought he was converted , but Jesus recognized the fact that he was not truly converted at this time. Peter had said he was ready to follow Jesus even to death, but later denied even knowing him. Think with me now as we examine some things which happen when one is converted to Jesus Christ, and then we can determine if we have been truly converted or not.



When an individual is converted there are at least three changes that take place in that person's heart and life. (1) In conversion, the person's mind or heart is changed by faith. Paul said in Rom 10:17 that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. You will notice that when Peter preached to those people on Pentecost in Acts 2 that their minds were changed as a result of their believing what Peter said about Jesus. Their hostility turned to humility; their anger changed to anxiety and their wrath changed to a willingness to do God's will. (2) In conversion the person's practice is changed by repentance. Repentance is a change of mind brought about by godly sorrow, which leads to a change in one's conduct 2Cor 7:10. This is illustrated very vividly in the account of the two sons in Matt 21:28,29; one son repented and went to do his father's will. This shows that repentance involves changing from doing one's own will to doing the Father's will. (3) In conversion a person's "state" is changed by baptism. A person may change their mind and practice and still be in the "state" of sin Rom 3:23. It takes the act of baptism based on this change of mind and practice in order to have remission of sins; thereby changing from the "state" of sin to the "state" of salvation Acts 2:38. Paul said a person is "baptized into Christ," hence has "obeyed from the heart that form (system) of doctrine..." and is then made free from sin Rom 6:3,17,18. When these changes have taken place a person has been converted to the Lord.

However, the conversion process does not stop with these changes. The converted individual must continue to show his conversion by being constant or dedicated in his service to the Lord and do as Jesus told Peter, "strengthen thy brethren." Have you been converted?

 

 

 

 

Whose child is this?

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Most any time my parents are with my children and me, I am reminded by them that my two boys do many of the same things that I did when I was a child. While I don’t think it is all together bad that my children possess many of the same traits and characteristics as I, however this does call to mind a biblical principle that we may tend to forget. We are God’s offspring. (Acts 17:28-29) Everyone one of us was created in the image of God. That is a remarkable distinction. No other creature on this earth can make that claim. Nevertheless from the beginning of time man has seemingly cast off those traits in order to act upon their own will. Just call to mind the people who lived in the days of Noah or the Jews who made up the northern part of the kingdom of Israel.

 

We as individuals are given a choice in our lives to either seek our own will or to follow the will of God. Mankind was created with the ability to think and to reason and decide the path we will follow. For those who have chosen to follow God, do you recall what took place when you were baptized? The scriptures point out that when you were immersed in water, you were born into the family of God. You were made a part of the household of God. (1 Tim. 3:15, Eph. 2:19) You were made heirs with Jesus the son of God. (Romans 8:14-17)

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Profane Esau

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The writer of Hebrews very plainly describes Esau, the twin brother of Jacob. “Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.” (Hebrews 12:16 KJV) Other translations use the words irreligious and godless. When we return to the book of beginnings and read the story of Esau, we may not always think of Esau in these terrible terms, yet consider what took place. In Genesis 25:29-34, Moses records for us the day Esau returned from the field and was very tired. Because of his physical condition, he asked Jacob for some stew. Jacob replied to Esau, “Sell me this day thy birthright.” (Genesis 25:31) Esau seemed to think he was near the point of death and without any regard to the consequence of his actions, sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of stew. Herein lies the real problem in the trade of the century. Remember the inspired writer calls Esau a profane, godless, irreligious person because of this monumental event. Later Moses writes, “Esau despised his birthright.” (Genesis 25:34) Is it difficult for us to see the carnal nature of Esau? Do we see his desire for the physical over the spiritual?

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Too Much of a Good Thing?

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There is a country music song that has as part of the lyrics, “You can never have too much fun”. While I enjoy fun and recreation as much as the next person, I realize the old adage is true, “There is a time for work and a time for play.” Yet I wonder if we as Christians display more of the first attitude than the second in our worship to God. Do we place more emphasis on activities which have no spiritual benefit, than we do upon service to God?

The apostle Paul while describing to the Ephesians the walk of the child of God says in Ephesians 5:15 “Therefore be careful how you walk not as unwise men but as wise.” (NASB) The Revised Standard Version (RSV) says, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise,” Paul is telling us that we need to be careful how we live our lives on this earth. Certainly that would include the way we treat our neighbors, as well as how we treat the word of God. But on the practical side, does it not speak to otherwise wholesome activities in which we can become entangled as people living on earth?

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Faith of Abraham

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In the scriptures there are many fascinating stories which involve men and women from all periods of time. Perhaps it is good from time to time to be reminded that these were actual people living on earth just like us today. They are men and women who have daily struggles and temptations just as we. The stories about such individuals are not fantasies or myths. One such story is of Abraham and his son Isaac.

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