We continue to work our way through Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology. Before we get too far, let me remind everyone why doing this is important. The Christian faith is one of doctrinal foundations. So often, many people make a shipwreck of their faith because they do not know the basics of what the Bible says about a particular topic. Systematic Theology helps with this. Everyone should read Grudem’s Systematic Theology book in its entirety, but I know some of you won’t, so I am doing all I can to provide bits and pieces. My desire is that all Christians would be biblically mature, and no longer infants in their faith.
With that said, let us move to the next topic, Conversion. Recently I was in a conversation with a lady who did not understand the concept of conversion. I got the sense that to her, being a Christian meant doing “Christian things”, but that is not what being a Christian means. Grudem defines conversion as “our willing response to the gospel call, in which we sincerely repent of sins and place our trust in Christ for salvation.”
Conversion is a point in time when we are delivered “from the domain of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of his beloved Son” (Colossians 1:13). Conversion is when you believe in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection for the salvation of your soul. (John 3:16 and John 3:36). Conversion is when you are justified (declared righteous) before God through faith in Christ (Romans 8:1).
As the title of this blog indicates, conversion consists of two components, faith and repentance. These are two sides of the same coin. To repent means to turn. To have faith means to trust. When someone repents and believes in Jesus they are turning from trusting in creation (themselves, money, false gods, etc.) and placing their trust in Christ as Savior and King. To repent means to stop following the course of this fallen world, and faith means to start following Jesus.
True conversion exists when both faith and repentance exist. Like I already said, they are two sides of the same coin. If you claim to believe in Jesus, yet you do not repent, then you are not truly a Christian. 1 John 3:6 says, “No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.” If you truly are a Christian, you will display a life of repentance, constantly turning from sin, and towards Christ.
Likewise, if you repent of sin but do not trust in Christ, you are also not a Christian. This is what many false religions consist of; people trying to be “good” and believing this is what it means to be a Christian. Being a Christian is not about being good, for no one is good except Christ. Being a Christian is about reaching the end of yourself and clinging to Christ as your Savior and King.