2nd Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
This passage of scripture sets the fundamental template for anyone desiring the new life in Christ. Old things must pass away, meaning that the former lifestyle with its carnal desires, pride, and sinful habits must be resolutely and permanently put away through the grace of God and the power of The Holy Spirit, and in their place must spring up the active Christian virtues such as faith, charity, love, and a life that is in harmony with the life and teachings of Christ. We cannot truly claim to be Christians and retain the old life of sin that we were once trapped in, because conversion causes us to be free from the shackles of iniquity through the new life in Christ. This sacred and timeless truth was spoken by John the Baptist as he observed many of the scribes and pharisees coming to be baptized of him. Let's read:
Matthew 3:1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, 2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. 7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance. 10 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
These potent words of John did not seek to cast a cloak of righteousness over a sinful life by quieting the consciences of the hearers with the smooth, itching sermons that we so often hear today. Instead it called on them to step up to the plate by surrendering their old lifestyles and their preconceived ideas completely to God, so that the work of transformation could begin and continue without interruption. Any thing short of this constitutes a pseudo form of repentance and conversion, and consequently lulls those who subscribe to such false teachings into a false sense of security.
Today in the modern Christian church, the prerequisites for conversion that have been clearly outlined in the bible have become dangerously blurred, and millions are being ushered into the Christian communion with absolutely no change of heart, but rather with a mere profession of belief in Christ. If belief in Christ does to translate into good works and righteousness, then we will have nothing over the devils, who also believe too. Let's read:
James 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
Recent efforts to accept unconverted persons into the church has resulted in great evil, and has gone a long way in lowering the standard of righteousness in the minds of many, and as a result we now have a watered down type of Christianity that neither changes or saves those who subscribe to it. When those who are actively practicing sin by living alternative lifestyles are put into church office, and are consecrated as bishops and leaders of the people, then a dangerous precedent is set up whereby those who fall under their jurisdiction are literally confirmed in living a life of crime, whilst at the same time claiming to love God.
But genuine love for Christ is always manifested in willing and loving obedience to all of His commands, and that's why the true definition of conversion is revealed in those who are conformed to the will of God. Let's read:
1st John 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
In our own personal experiences let us therefore make certain that true conversion takes place, in other words, as we behold the perfect righteousness of God as manifested in Jesus Christ, let's be certain to submit ourselves to Him so that the necessary changes to our characters can take place on a daily basis, for so an abundant entrance into God's eternal kingdom shall be ministered unto us, as the scriptures plainly state. Let's read:
2nd Peter 1:3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
May these pertinent words of scripture become a living reality in our lives, for this is what constitutes true conversion. "Good night" and God bless!