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Hiram Hutto - El Dareer Debate - October 1974

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Bible Study   9:00
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1110 Jackson Drive Athens, Alabama 35611



Scott Richardson



Owen Griggs

Tim Hamilton

Jackson Drive


                                                                                                        February 7, 2016


God Speaks On Conversion

Conversion to Christ is indeed an important and interesting study, and is a subject that is greatly misunderstood in the religious world today. This is due, at least in part, to a failure of many people to honestly and intelligently study the word of God. Many have spoken on this subject through the years, and there are still those who give their opinions as to what is involved in genuine conversion. A great number of people who are honest and sincere, and who think they have been truly converted, have not followed the Lord's instruction in their obedience, and thus have not been converted to Christ. Therefore, they are yet in their sins, without God and without hope in the world. (Ephesians 2:12). It will be our purpose in this study to point out what true conversion is, and to do so we must allow God to speak to us on the subject that involves men's souls.

Though a person may be honest and sincere religiously, this is not assurance that he has been truly converted; because it is possible to be honestly mistaken and religiously wrong. Many are the times in the New Testament we read of religious people who were wrong; yet when shown their error, turned from it and were converted to Christ and His way. This is a lesson that is vital because our salvation, our entrance into His kingdom, is dependent upon being converted to Christ.

Testimony of Christ

First in this study, let us consider what Jesus taught in regard to this important theme. As recorded in Matthew 18:3, He said, “Except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of God.” Note that in this statement Jesus parallels conversion with entrance into the kingdom. In John 3:5 our Lord said, “Except a man be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” From this passage we see that being born again equals entrance into the kingdom. Again, in Matthew 7:21, Jesus said, “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” Here He shows that to do the Father’s will equals entrance into the kingdom. So, we have three different expressions which equal the same thing, and this according to the words of Christ. Jesus is not teaching three different ways. Thus, the inevitable conclusion is this: they are equal to each other; for things equal to the same thing are equal to each other. To be converted is to be born again, is to do the Father’s will; or vice versa. Any way we look at it they are equal, they are the same. Many times folk say they can't understand either conversion or the new birth, and thus conclude that conversion is something that can neither be understood nor expressed. Perhaps you have heard the statement relative to conversion, “It's better felt than told; and once you get it you can't lose it. And if you lose it, you never had it.” This, to the idea of some, is conversion to Christ, or the new birth. Before we go further, let us notice another thing that is equal to the same thing as conversion, the new birth, and doing God's will. In Acts 2:47 we are told that the Lord added to the church (His kingdom) daily such as should be saved. To be saved, therefore, means to enter the kingdom; so four things equal to the same thing (entrance into the kingdom) are equal to each other. If, then, one cannot understand conversion, or the new birth, surely he can understand doing the Father’s will, or being saved by obeying the conditions given by Christ, the Saviour.

More of Christ’s testimony is to be found in the Great Commission. In the previous statements noted, Jesus used figurative language in at least two of them. Before His death, and while engaged in His personal ministry on earth, He used such language in teaching His disciples. This He did to teach the different phases and work and nature of His kingdom, as is noted in many of the parables used by Him. But after His death, burial and resurrection, He ceased using such language and spoke in plain, simple and direct statements or commands. This language is evident in Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15,16; and Luke 24:46-47. In these accounts we find, not figurative expressions, but plain commands upon which salvation, entrance into the kingdom is offered. In summary of these passages He taught that the gospel must be preached, men must believe it, repent of their sins, and be baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in order to receive salvation, or remission of sins. Surely, we begin to see what is involved in conversion to Christ, or true, genuine conversion.

Testimony of the Apostles

The testimony, or teaching, of the apostles, as they were directed by the Holy Spirit, sent to remind them of Jesus' teaching and guide them into all the truth (John 14:26; 16:13), is to be found in Acts of Apostles, the fifth book in the New Testament. This book also gives the history of the early church, how it began by saved persons being added to it, and its work in the first century. By a study of it, one can see whether the apostles were faithful to the instructions Jesus gave them in the Great Commission, and can be impressed with the importance placed upon obedience to Christ in the apostles’ teaching.

With conversion being the important subject it is, man’s need to be converted, and a recognition of one's condition and need as a sinner, we can be thankful that God has not left us without His revelation. Truly, God speaks on conversion! He also speaks on every other subject needful to man's salvation here and eternally. We arc not left, then, with only the opinions of men on this essential matter.

Examples of Conversion

Some people, in spite of Jesus’ testimony and the testimony of the inspired apostles, will continue to say that understanding conversion is a difficult matter, and often conclude it is too complicated for them to understand. God has also spoken to take care of this situation. There is no better way to understand a thing than to note some examples of it. This is the procedure followed in secular education. When a new type problem is given, there is first the instruction, or explanation, given; then a few examples of how to work out, or solve it, is given. This the Lord also has done in the matter of conversion to His Son, Jesus Christ. As one reads in Acts of Apostles, he cannot help but be impressed with the unity of conditions taught and required of responsible persons to be saved, or converted. While some of the circumstances surrounding the recorded conversions differ, the plan of conversion is always the same. It is well for one, while he reads and studies these conversions, to keep in mind what he did in his own conversion, and see if it measures up to these given which are genuine, and about which there can be no doubt.

In Acts 2, where we find the apostles preaching the gospel in the name of Christ and in its fulness for the first time, we are made to see the harmony and faithfulness of the teaching of Christ and the faithfulness of the apostles in carrying out these instructions. Here the gospel was preached. Men, hearing it, believed its facts, and upon inquiring what to do were told: “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:36-38). Those gladly receiving the word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls (verse 41). These whom the Lord saved He added to the church, and continued to do so daily (verse 47).

Reading accounts of other conversions recorded by inspiration in Acts 8:1-13; 26-41; Acts 9,22,26; Acts 10:1-48; Acts 16:25-34; Acts 18:8; and Acts 19:1-5, it is not difficult to see and appreciate God’s wisdom and power in converting men to Christ that they may be saved, delivered from the power of darkness, and be added to the church of our Lord.

Friend, does what you did in your efforts to be converted harmonize with these accounts? There is no doubt about these being genuine or true conversions, because they are recorded by inspiration of God. The testimony of men cannot be relied upon, especially in a matter so important. Whatever men may say, unless it is proven by the word of God, cannot be safely followed. Try your conversion by these given in the Scriptures, and if it does not measure up to them, realize that you have not truly obeyed the plan of the Lord to be converted to Christ; thus, saved from sins, and added to the church of Christ’s choice. Then, after realizing this, do that which God requires and be truly converted to Jesus Christ. Following the speaking of God, His revelation unto man, is the only way to be certain of acceptable obedience and Scriptural conversion.

— Eugene Crawley (via Gospel Guide, January 1969)

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