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Saturday, 30 September 2017


The English-language word "conversion" is reasonably common in everyday conversation. We use it to refer to a positive change in many areas of life - from making a living-space out of a loft, to achieving more power from a vehicle engine.

However, for the disciple of Jesus, it is the way in which we refer to the change in our lives that comes from a personal encounter with Him, and entering into a living relationship with Him. It may be sudden, or gradual. I have often illustrated that by comparing someone jumping into the sea from the end of a pier with someone walking along the beach and discovering that the water is lapping around their ankles. Both are in the water - but while one may pinpoint the precise moment that they entered it, the other is unable to do so.

However, is it possible that a spiritual; conversion may be both sudden and gradual?! Whether, or not, we can specify the precise moment as, for example, could the apostle Paul (see Acts 26:13), in God's eyes, there is a particular moment of transition. Even Paul's dramatic encounter with the risen Jesus was the culmination of what we may refer to as God's "softening-up" process. It is clear that all of his experiences with these "Followers of the Way" (i.e. of the One Who said: "I am the Way, and the Truth , and the Life; no-one comes to the Father, but by Me." [Jn.14:6]), and especially with Stephen, the first Christian martyr, had roused his conscience - even although he appears to have endeavoured to stifle it (see Acts 26:14). Indeed, his increasing fury and activity against them may well have been an unconscious effort to still that accusing voice within!

Paradoxically, it is just when men's opposition to the Gospel message is multiplying - as it is at this present time - that we may take heart that God the Holy Spirit is at work. Paul's efforts to make disciples blaspheme the Lord Jesus (Acts 26:11) was the same policy described some fifty years later by Pliny, the Roman governor of Bithynia, in a letter to the emperor Trajan, as something which "... people who are really Christians cannot possibly be made to do." (see I Cor.12:3). This, by the way, is still the case to day - in spite of the attempts of evil men to make them do so. Check out this link:

I am unable to totally verify that report - but nor do I have any grounds for doubting its veracity!

The people referred to in the report were seeking to serve others - and that is what any converted man, woman, or young person will seek to do. The old, now clichéd, phrase was: "Saved to Serve". Recognising the change that has taken place in him/herself, the new disciple of Jesus will wish to help others - particularly to have their own personal encounter with the risen Lord.

The activity of the devil must not be taken lightly. He is always blinding people, and enslaving them. (see I.Cor 26:18; cf II Cor.4:4, II Tim.2:26). This is why so many neither realise their dire situation, nor appreciate their need to repent, that they may know the full forgiveness of Father God, and the sanctifying work of God the Holy Spirit in their lives.

Conversion. It's a great word. It's an even greater experience!

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