Written Word

Evangelism – Part 7: Evidence of Conversion

Evidence that a genuine conversion has occurred will always display itself when evangelism has been carried out along apostolic lines. Conversion to Jesus has nothing to do with making a few minor changes in one’s beliefs, or tidying up some sloppy departments in an otherwise respectable life. To speak of conversion as a miracle of God’s divine grace would not be to overstate the case. Unfortunately, the number of conversions we hear about is not always matched with the evidence that God has done a mighty work in the heart of an individual.

We either confirm or contradict our claim to conversion by our conduct. It is both reasonable and mandatory to expect to see the evidence of conversion; after all, we have to marvel at the variety of extraordinary ways the Bible speaks of conversion to the Lord Jesus Christ. Here is a sampling: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus…” (Ephesians 2:12). “For you have been born again…” (1Peter 1:23). “You are sons of God…” (Galatians 3:26). “Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ…” (Romans 8:17). “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” (Ezekiel 36:26-27).

These, and many other scriptures, declare what God does in the heart of one who is genuinely converted to the Lord Jesus Christ. The burden of guilt has been lifted, the mind has been illuminated by the Spirit, the heart has been changed, a new perspective on life has been given, one has moved from death unto life, indifference has been replaced with a holy fear of God and spiritual apathy has given way to a heart that hungers and thirsts for God. These are some of the proofs of conversion. There has never been a shortage of those who claim to be converted to Jesus, but their life tells a different story. John, sometimes referred to as the apostle of love, is quite merciless in his comments to those who say one thing and practice another. “The man who says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” (1John 2:4). “Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” (1 John 2:6). “Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness.” (1 John 2:9).

The converted display their commitment to the life of the church’s programmes of benevolence and evangelism. They support the church financially so that the will of God can be carried out. They share the vision Jesus has for his church – a community that is a light in a world of darkness, a beacon of hope for those in despair, a place where the weary and bewildered can find acceptance and unconditional love. The converted are servants longing to do God’s will. We can expected to see in the converted a love for the word of God; for through the word the voice of God is heard and the converted long to hear God speak to them. Prayer is not a duty to be discharged, but an opportunity to commune with the Father – to praise and thanks him, to petition him, to acknowledge his greatness and our dependence upon him for our every need. The converted are not spiritually stationary; they are constantly moving in God’s direction desiring a deeper, richer relationship with him. Peter’s words provide an excellent commentary on what we should expect to see in the life of one converted to Jesus. “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (1Peter 1:8-9). Inexpressible and glorious joy should be normal for all of us converted to the Lord Jesus Christ. The converted display – life.