[Word Count: 1830]
Here we are...finally standing before the glorious miracle of Conversion. Before we proceed, please indulge me as i address two Conversion-related issues:
I have made edits to Part One (the Introduction) of this series, adding the topic of Full Assurance with supporting Scriptures. No, i did not add the Scriptures that appear to contradict the doctrine of Full Assurance; those are addressed in my Book. I've also added the topic of Communion (the Lord's Supper).
To clarify the distinction between works and fruit, i've already described the experience of Conversion in Part Twenty; you are welcome, Dear Reader, to review that post before proceeding with this one.
There are few deeds (if any) performed by humans that can be considered permanent; we laud those who came before us whose actions and words had such a profound impact on history that their legacy has persisted in human memory for centuries.
Whatever your religious background, i don't believe you would contest the fact that Conversion is NOT an act of Mankind but an Act of GOD (John 1:13). And like most (if not all) Acts of GOD, the Act of GOD converting a sinner into a saint is not only permanent but is also Eternal (Romans 11:29). That is: once the Divine Holy Spirit of GOD has "linked" Himself to the spirit of a human, that connection is unbreakable.
In the New Covenant the word "adoption" has two meanings:
The legal meaning: receiving Christ as Lord and Master results in receiving the Spirit of Christ: The Holy Spirit of GOD...the Member of the GODHEAD...these are One and the Same Person (despite the blasphemous habit of some who refer to Him as "It"). The Holy Spirit is given by Jesus at GOD the Father's discretion...and may happen before, during or after discipleship has begun. In this series i placed Conversion after discipleship because that is the way it happened for the Lord's Apostles. Having been sealed by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13), Whom the world cannot receive (John 14:16,17), you are now an ADOPTED son of GOD the Father, like Jesus is! GOD KNOWS YOU NOW, which is critical to your eternal destiny: if GOD does not know you, you will not escape the Lake of Fire and Sulfur that awaits all sinners!
The eternal meaning: you are a tripartite being: spirit, soul and body; When Christ returns to Earth (and all of Heaven with Him), His first order of business will be to "adopt" your soul and body along with your spirit, making you as completely immortal as He Himself is!
No doubt you can appreciate how important Conversion is to your Salvation. GOD does not exist to the world (or the religious) because, as unredeemed sinners, they do not have the Holy Spirit of GOD dwelling in them, as true Christians do.
At this point i'll address the cultural and ethnic traditions that have been introduced into a certain number of churches that may appear strange to those who are considering receiving Jesus as Lord, Master, Savior and Elder Brother: raising hands, dancing, running around the sanctuary, shouting, speaking out loud in an indiscernible language, taking up poisonous snakes, wearing certain types of underwear and clothing, the washing of feet, being "slain in the Spirit" and the like. Don't allow these activities to distract you from the Awesome Beauty of Christ Himself and don't allow anyone to make these things a criterion for Salvation. As a faither in Jesus, practicing or not practicing these will not make you a better or worse Christian. The praise and worship of Jesus is inspired by the Spirit of GOD Himself and will come out of you as you lay aside your self-consciousness and focus on Christ. We believers walk by Faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5;7)!
Here's something else you may not have thought of: the Holy Spirit of GOD, as GOD, is Perfect and sinless...always has been, always will be. Logically, if GOD, Who is Most Holy, came in contact with a sinner, the sinner would most certainly perish. How then can the Spirit of Christ indwell me and i perish not?
Atonement. Atonement does not have the same meaning today in people's minds it had when it was first used to translate the Hebrew word kāp̄ar (pronounced kaw-far). Today people see atonement the same way they see propitiation, which is making a concession or sacrifice to satisfy the demands of justice (Divine or otherwise). In the Hebrew culture atonement paints the picture of taking your sinful nature and placing it in a person-sized basket (Hebrew ephah) and placing a heavy, tight-fitting lid over it.
“Then the angel who talked with me came forward and said to me, 'Lift your eyes and see what this is that is going out.' And I said, 'What is it?' He said, 'This is the basket that is going out.' And he said, 'This is their iniquity in all the land.' And behold, the leaden cover was lifted, and there was a woman sitting in the basket! And he said, 'This is Wickedness.' And he thrust her back into the basket, and thrust down the leaden weight on its opening. -- Zechariah 5:5-8 ESV
Christians don't realize the lengths GOD had to go through to show Mercy to the fallen sinner while at the same time satisfy His relentless demand for Justice. Your sins--all of them, including the ones you have yet to commit--are atoned for by Christ, so that GOD the Father can express His overwhelming Love for you directly to you! Through the Cross of Christ Jesus, you and your sins--past, present and future sins--become separate and distinct. GOD can draw near to you and you can draw near to GOD without condemnation and without fear!
The New Maturity
Conversion introduces us to a new kind of maturity that is different from the adulthood defined by the world in this present age.
“At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, 'Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?' And Jesus called a little child unto Him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, 'Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in My Name receiveth Me.” -- Matthew 18:1-5 KJV
The world defines maturity by individual independence and autonomy...being free of the restrictions of authority to fulfill one's goals and desires. Even more admired is the capability to manipulate and bribe authority and government to serve one's own agenda.
Counterintuitively, Christian maturity is exponentially more simple, joyous and satisfying: total childlike trust and dependence on Jesus coupled with singleminded focus on serving and fulfilling our Heavenly Father's Will and Agenda. All the worry, anxiety, depression and confusion forced on the billions of poor souls sentenced to figure out their own path in the darkness of this world would be banished if they allowed GOD to do their worrying for them while they enjoyed His marvelous Presence and followed His gentle, guiding Voice.
Alas, here i go jumping the gun again and getting ahead of myself once more! Yet it can't be helped or denied that Conversion, Divine Peace and Full Assurance (trusting Christ with total childlike abandon, otherwise known as Once Saved, Always Saved) are interwoven and inseparable! The Gift of Perfect Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ will guide you to the Gift of Perfect Peace with God, your newly adoptive Father. Perfect Peace means you've accepted as Reality the Unconditional Love GOD has for you, which means YOU NEED NEVER FEAR THE DAMNATION OF THE LAKE OF FIRE AND SULFUR EVER AGAIN. Nor would you ever again care one wit about the reactions you receive when you share the transcendent relationship you enjoy with GOD your Father and His Only-Begotten Son Jesus Christ your Elder Brother! It all cascades and explodes into the Eternally Perfect and Unconditionally Loving Relationship that has always existed between the Members of The GODHEAD, into Which you have now been placed to abide for ever!
“Peace I leave with you; My Peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” -- Jesus Christ, John 14:27 ESV
The Unconditional, Unbreakable Covenant
The world's peace is conditional, as is the Old Covenant/Testament (the Ten Commandments, Hebrew: the "Ten Words"). If GOD were going to restore sinless Wholeness and Holiness to doomed sinners, He would have to find a Way to put those sinners, once whole, BEYOND THE REACH OF TEMPTATION, as He Himself is untemptable! That Way is Jesus Christ! As the Living Word, Jesus Christ is the New Covenant/Testament! While the Old Covenant was and is conditional, the New Covenant is UNCONDITIONAL! The New Testament is unconditional because the two Parties to the Testament--GOD the Father and GOD the Living Word/Man, have a Perfect and Unconditional Relationship that can NEVER be broken by sin!
And as we discussed in Parts Three through Seven in this series, GOD PUT YOU IN CHRIST BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD, before you had an opportunity to do good or evil! Whatever you have done in your life cannot override what God did to you in Eternity!!!
A Sinless Earthly Life!
This is where Romans Chapter Six comes in...
...if you believe in your heart everything i have written in this series of blog posts so far (and everything i've written is directly from the Bible) the truth will hit you like a ton of bricks: YOU DON'T HAVE TO SIN ANYMORE.
You don't have to submit to the instincts, thoughts, habits, desires and autonomic reactions that your body (and the psychological trauma of trying to control it) has subjected you to!
You no longer have to subscribe to the identity that your family and friends (and enemies) have assigned to you.
YOU ARE FREE TO BE JUST LIKE JESUS...
...if you so desire.
You don't have to live in shame and guilt anymore; if Jesus loves you without conditions, and has atoned for ALL your sins (past, present and future)...
...THERE IS NO POINT IN SINNING ANYMORE!!!!!!!!!
If sin no longer sends you to Hell, WHY BOTHER SINNING????
Rather, let Jesus love you and fill you with His Eternal Fullness and comfort you and walk with you and guide you and advise you and clothe you with His Eternal Glory...
In Part Twenty-Four i'm going to continue piling onto your soul the Wonderfully Great News (Gospel) of GOD's Transcendent Grace with more truth about the Full and Unconditional Assurance you can make yours RIGHT NOW!