Christian Conversion According To The Holy Bible
Conversion according to the American Peoples Encyclopedia (1968), is “a spiritual and moral transformation in the of a person. It involves a change a materialistic outlook to a spiritual attitude, from doubt and despair to trust and hope, from a disorganized life to one organized on a spiritual purpose” (p. 454).
The old testament notion of conversion is revealed in the Hebrew verb “sub” and the Greek verb which literally refers to “turning to or returning to”. There are three kinds of conversion. A conversion from a life of sin to a life of moral goodness and integrity, a conversion from an attitude of ignorance or indifference to Christ, and a conversion to the one true Church founded by Christ on the rock that is peter as the normal means of attaining salvation, (New Catholic Encyclopedia, 1967,p.288).
The new testament text also employed this basic concept but in a modified manner. Conversion is now described as exclusively concerned with a change in man. This departure from the old testament way of speaking is probably partly due to the fact the incarnation is in every respect the ultimate turning of God to man, and partly to the growing assimilation in the new testament of the concept of conversion and repentance(Cf.Mt.3:2;Mk.1:15 :Acts 15:3).
The earliest term used to identity the disciples Conversion
Christian conversion is a call to discipleship. The earliest term used to identity the disciples is “the way” (Cf. Acts 9:12; 19:23) a designation of the uniqueness of the movement. To be a disciple of Jesus means following through suffering and service. Jesus himself instructed his followers about what it means to be his follower: “if any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Cf. Mk. 8:34-35).
To follow means to accept the Conversion initial call that Jesus addressed to Peter, Andrew, James, and John (Cf. Mk.1:16-20) to which they responded by leaving everything to follow him. This response of a “journeying” remains the essence of discipleship. It is in following that leads to the cross, thus witnessing to the suffering of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In Acts, the verb “to bear witness” In Greek it occurs frequently. It is from this Greek verb that the English word “martyr” is derived, since a martyr is someone who gives witness through death. Stephen is not only the first martyr, but he also became an example to all Christians. Stephen’s death was however, closer to that of Jesus. Both pray for the forgiveness for their executioners, and both committed their spirit to Lord.
Conversion of Disciples And The Follow of Christ
Not only do the disciples follow the path of Jesus through suffering and death, they Conversion also embrace his values of service, therefore, becomes the hallmark of discipleship, “if anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all” (cf. Mk 9:35). Discipleship also entails watchfulness. Since the ultimate Conversion purpose our Christian journey is salvation we must be vigilant as our Lord our Christian Journey is salvation we must be vigilant as our Lord cautioned us; “beware, and keep alert, for you do not know when the time will come”. Prayer and worship are the key aspects of the Christian community (cf. Acts 1:14). Besides, they have the duty to teach those with weak faith not with pride but with a “brotherly equality” (Mt.23:8-12).
Finally, conversion aims at reuniting us to God because man is made for unity with his creator. In Christ, God and man are definitively united. Conversion therefore, can occur even at our death hour because of the blood between God and man. If that thief on the cross could have the favor of God on the point of death, how much more those who dedicate themselves to Christ. We must make God our personal friend “in order to be re-created, re-made, and incorporated into the Risen Lord so as live his life, think his thought, and will his love”.