(Bible quotations are from the NIV unless otherwise stated)
The moment of conversion
14th March 2006
We, and the Bible, describe becoming a Christian in many different ways, including:
I'm sure there are many more expressions that each add colour and understanding to the wonderful moment when we know our sins are forgiven and God is our Father.
The point is, something truly radical happens at a point in a person's life. He changes from someone who's never met with God into someone who truly knows God personally, from someone who's not sure what sin and guilt and forgiveness are all about, into someone who knows his sins are forgiven, from someone who wants to know God into someone who knows he's become a child of God.
In truth, this is the most important, radical, life-changing thing that can ever happen to anybody.
But - what's it like?
When Paul described his own experience of becoming a Christian, in Galatians 1:15-16, he says:
But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man
The phrase that concerns me today is: God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me
My observations on the part about God setting Paul aside from birth and calling him will have to wait for another day, but let's look briefly at God revealing His Son in Paul.
God revealed Jesus Christ (the Son of God) in Paul. That is, he did whatever it took for Paul's inner self - the essential Paul - his "heart" if you will - to actually see Jesus.
And we should hardly be surprised that a radical transformation occurs in any person who sees Jesus Christ in his heart. Suddenly, all the wondering, all the uncertainty, all the doubts, are resolved - Paul can see Jesus, in his heart.
Paul saw Jesus clearly enough to put his faith in Jesus Christ as the One who paid for his sins, to acknowledge Jesus as his Lord and his Saviour. And, at that same moment, Jesus came to live in Paul's heart for ever.
And, although modern-day Christians tend not to speak in these terms (sadly) this is what has happened to each and every one of us - God has revealed Jesus Christ in our hearts. And this is surely the moment of conversion - the moment when we come to faith - we can believe in the risen Christ, because we've seen Him in our hearts.
Does religion - does Christianity - still seem to you like a set of rules to obey, or a set of propositions to believe, without much evidence to support them?
Then ask God for sufficient evidence! Ask God to reveal Jesus to you in your inner being. And be utterly transformed.
It worked for me!