Conversion is a word that we often come across in various contexts. In most situations, conversion signifies growth and development. For example, land conversion for city expansion and rail conversion from meter gauge to broad gauge are all evidences of progress. Conversion of currency is very much essential for travellers. Digital conversion, especially tools to convert computer files makes life easy.
Successful businessmen are those who convert their contacts into customers and time into money. Similarly, victorious politicians know how to convert their good works into votes. The latest trend in India is to convert dysfunctional rail coaches into restaurants on wheels. In all these situations, conversion is not only desirable but also seen as the basic necessity for advancement.
However, when it comes to religious conversion, the issue is complicated. An impression is created in the mind of many, that with conversion something bad has been taken place. Many in their confusion and perplexity prefer to maintain a stoic silence on this lest they be misinterpreted.
Yes, there is a valid reason for the negative connotation created in the mind of the general public. There have been numerous occasions when people have been forced to convert from one religion to another. Many poor and helpless were compelled to embrace a different faith just for the sake of their survival. Whether by force or fraudulent methods such religious conversions leave deep rooted pain and animosity in the hearts of various people groups.
Anyone with the slightest sense of justice will know for sure, forcing someone to abandon their conviction to follow another belief system is an attack against their basic human rights and freedom. The irony is that many who make a hue and cry on human rights and even of animals fail to seriously consider the freedom of man to follow his faith and conscience. As a result, when it comes to religious conviction any change is considered questionable.
There are some others who take a double standard; while commending conversion to their own community, they forbid the same if it is from their faith to another. In the backdrop of such misperception over conversion, let us consider briefly what the Bible says about conversion and its various aspects.
As a matter of fact, the term conversion occurs only once in the whole Bible. Apostle Paul used this word while referring to the response of the Gentiles to the gospel of Christ during his first missionary journey. (Acts 15:3) And the related word ‘convert’ also finds very few occurrences only. Yet, the idea of conversion is found throughout the scripture and it is part of ..... ->>>More
Goodness of God leads to ………….. (Romans 2:5)
Authority of God commands it……… (Acts 17:30)
Compassion of God waits for it………(2Peter 3:9)
Grace of God grants it……………..(Acts 11:18)
Love of God rejoices over it…………..(Luke 15: 7)
Running Away from Sin
Once a young woman wanted to join a local church claiming her new-found faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Naturally the leadership interviewed her to know how genuine her testimony is.
One of the elders asked, “Do you believe you were a wretched sinner before you came to Christ for salvation?” “Yes of course, I do acknowledge my past sinful life”, she replied. He asked again, “How do you feel today?” “Today I feel I am the greatest of the sinners, much more than ever” was her reply. “Then what change since your conversion?” asked the elder. “The change is” she replied, “Earlier I was running after sin, today I am running away from sin”!
— Source: Unknown
Lessons from Turkey
“The assemblies then throughout the whole of Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace, being edified and walking in the fear of the Lord, and were increased through the comfort of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 9:31 (JND)
During the first week of October, a group of believers from our assembly took a trip to Turkey to visit the Biblical sites like Alexandria Troas, Assos, and the seven churches of Revelation. Being in Albania, it was very easy to travel to nearby Turkey.
Yes, the lessons from our Turkey trip were life-changing, but the blessings did not stop there… Maranatha!
One of the great lessons that were reinforced during our trip was that the Lord was not speaking in vain to those churches in Revelation when He gave encouragement and warnings. The warnings were real then, and they are real now. Likewise, the consequences of not heeding the Lord’s words were real then, and they are real today. Except for Smyrna (Izmir), so we were told, the other cities all lack a Christian testimony. Obviously, they forgot to walk in the fear of the Lord as mentioned in the above verse. There was toleration of sin, playing with immorality, importing of idolatry, holding to false teachings, lukewarmness, and other major problems.
Praise the Lord for assemblies who heed God’s word. I thank God for the fresh report I just received of an assembly who had an evangelistic outreach for Halloween. Instead of compromising with the world, they distributed Gospel literature and then came back to the meeting hall for prayer and some good pizza!
Unfortunately, these warnings are often not heeded and it should be no surprise when one’s sin finds you out. The same day that I heard of the above Gospel outreach, the truth came out about the leader of one of the largest evangelical churches in Albania – he was guilty of moral failure and the inappropriate use of social media in a manner that violated Scripture. It would not surprise me if the lampstand of that church goes out.
George Sturm, Albania
“If God's today be too soon for thy repentance, thy tomorrow may be too late for God's acceptance.”
_________ D. L. Moody
“One of the most fundamental marks of true repentance is a disposition to see our sins as God sees them.”
_________ Charles Simeon