Volume. XXIII, No. 8
Sunday, 24 August 2008

From The Pastors Heart: Conversion Sanctified

Confusion comes into our mind when we see a convert with an unchristian way of life.  He still enjoys the same old sins and does not show any change in his life.  It seems that conversion to him means only a license to enjoy his old way of life without a guilty conscience.  The sins of his past, present and future, are cleansed by the blood of Jesus, and he firmly believes it.  Then, what roles does his conversion play in his life and soul?  I do not want to quickly rush into judging anybody.  It is not to avoid my responsibility to discern spiritual matters.  It is because there are a couple of possibilities.  To certain people, it may take more time to make changes than other people.  Some people may make overnight turn-abouts from a sinful life to a more righteous life.  However, we may not expect such dramatic changes to be very common.  Some people are slower than others in responding to the inner work of the Holy Spirit.  We cannot evaluate all people with an assumption that they have the same personality and willpower.  Sometimes different levels of understanding in spiritual matters may affect their changes.  Some cultural backgrounds may delay their changes, too.  Therefore, any quick judgement on someone’s sincerity in conversion experience needs to be avoided.  I think that the parable of the sower and the seeds in Matthew 13:3-23 gives us ideas about some dubious individuals’ conversion.  There are four soils in this parable, and only one soil is able to produce fruits.  There is only one way to know which seed will be fruitful.  It takes time to see the fruits of each seed.  Thus, we may have to wait for some time to know who is who.  This lesson is important in two ways.  One is that it teaches us not to judge those who do not show some expected changes in their life too quickly.  Time will tell.  At the same time, there is a different side of the same truth.  Some people are showing their zeal and enthusiasm to do the things they think they ought to do as Christians.  They received the Word of God with gladness.  However, they may fall back and return to their old life later.  One group shows no immediate response, and the other group shows immediate response to the teachings of God.  However, immediate responses may be deceiving.  In another parable, Jesus talks about wheat and tares (Matthew 13:24-30).  In the initial stage, they look alike and having tares does hurt the growth of the wheat.  However, the master’s order was not to try to remove every one of them because he was concerned that some good wheat grains might be removed with the tares inadvertently.  In the church history, there have been various groups wanting to reach the level of the most ideal perfection and purity.  In their every bit of good intention, they became another tyranny that removed good grains with tares, which resulted in their own demise. 

Having said that, we also need to examine the teachings of the scriptures about the convert’s life.  The caution I gave in the preceding paragraph does not require us not to be discerning.  The first question to the converts living in continuing sins is about the work of the Spirit of God.  It is the Spirit that convicts the sinners of their sins, which leads them to repentance and faith in the person and work of Christ.  Thus, the work of the Holy Spirit in their conversions is directly related to the recognition of their sinfulness.  Thus, they cannot but repent of their sins.  If a convert still enjoys his sinful life, then we have a genuine question about the work of the Holy Spirit in his soul.  We also cannot but ask the meaning of his repentance in conversion.  At the same time, we cannot but doubt about his level of understanding concerning the person and work of Jesus Christ our Lord.  He is the Saviour, which means that He delivers him from his sins.  Thus, if he still abides in sins, then he needs to ask a question about his relationship with the Saviour.  If his Saviour had to die because of his sins, how can it be possible that he still enjoys sinning against Him?  The second question we must raise about the converts living in sin is about the Lord’s instruction not to sin.  It is also related to the meaning of repentance.  Repentance means to turn from sin and to turn to God by faith.  The repentant must turn from sin, without which there is no conversion.  Having delivered an adulterous woman from the angry Jews, Jesus said to her, “Go and sin no more” (John 8:11).  It is the message of the Gospel, too.  How often does the Bible contrast the life before conversion with the life afterwards?  Here are only a few examples from the Bible: 2 Corinthians 5:15, “And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.”  1 Peter 4:2, “That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.”  Titus 2:12, “Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.”  Colossians 1:13, “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.”  Light and darkness are not to be together.  John makes it very clear in 1 John 1:7, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” 

Christian conversion leads the convert to desire for a holy life that pleases the Lord.  He also desires to do the will of God.  Jesus says in Matthews 12:50, “For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.”  The converts are urged to depart from iniquity in 2 Timothy 2:19, “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”  Christian belief cannot and should not be separated from Christian conduct.  When Paul spoke to Timothy, he mentioned of his doctrine and manner of life in 2 Timothy 3:10.  Christian confession of faith must be supported by righteous conduct and life.  We must understand that the conversion and its subsequent influences on the convert cannot be ignored.  Jesus speaks of the believers as the light and the salt of the world.  The whole world notices them.  Jesus goes even further to say that they must shine their light before men, so that those men in the world may see their good works and glorify the Father in heaven. 

How true it is to say that the quality of trees must be known by their fruits!  As we do not expect to gather figs from grape vines and vice verse, so we do not expect Christians to live an unchristian life.  Jesus showed His relationship with the Father through His works.  Thus, He said in John 5:36, “But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.”  He also said the same thing in John 10:37-38, “If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. 38 But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.”  The Apostle John encourages us to walk like Jesus in 1 John 2:6, “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” 

The key word in Christian conversion, or the major sign of a true Christian conversion, is to be found in the spirit of obedience.  Whosoever is converted to Christ has the desire to honour God and to obey Him.  Therefore, any claim to be a Christian must be compatible with subsequent obedience.  Sin must be discouraged from the believers’ life.  Instead, total obedience to God’s Word must be encouraged.  I’ll continue on this subject of conversion next time.


Your Pastor

More Lively Hope




Kitchen Rosters today - Team under Bro Daniel Volvricht on duty.

All members - please read the proposed amendments to our Church Constitution, and if you have any queries please ask any Session member BEFORE the ECM.

Sparks4Christ Evangelistic Video Night on 29 Aug 2008, please invite your friends.

Those who have completed their BBK course and intend to seek Baptism, Confirmation & Membership please see Ps Ki or any Session member ASAP.

Please note: Next Lord’s Day - “Coffee & Cookies” only.


Looking Ahead

ECM on Sunday,14 Sept, for Amendments to Church Constitution.

YAF Evangelism Programme - September30in30. Give out 30 tracts in 30 days in September. Please see Sis Clara Sim for more details. All encouraged to participate.

Special Lecture on “Creation and Evolution” by Dr Carl Wieland on Friday, 17 Oct 2008. Please keep this date free for this important event and invite your friends.


Praise & Thanksgiving

Journey mercies: Rev George van Buuren (Perth), Dn Mark & Sis Helen Heah (Adl); Sisters Amy Wong (S’pore) & Connie Mak (Cairns).

Church activities: AFG Bible Study; BBK Catch-up & Bible Classes; E-Ministry; Wed Prayer Meeting & Bible Study & YAF Workshop.

Jobs - Bro Jason Tan (for 2009) & Sis Lydia Fan

Work experience - Bro Cong Pham

God’s daily mercy, protection & help for us.


Prayer Items

Health & God’s healing - Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren; Rev John & Mrs Christine McKenzie; Rev Peter Chua, Rev Peter Clements,  Rev Timothy Tow, Dr S H Tow, Preacher Zhang, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan, Dn David Yeo’s mother; Bros Tommy Brooks, Colin Creaser, S Dhamarlingam, Makoto Kobayashi, Raphael Ng’s father, Richard Pearson, Winston Selvanayagam, Hans Ziegelmann; Grandpa Ki; Sisters Myung Ki, Alice Lee’s father, Auntie Oei, Fiona Paauwe; Margaret, Dianne, & Sarah Pearson, Aranka Rejtoe, Susan Veradi, Irena, Giok Yeo’s sister-in-law; & others in affliction.

Cambodia Missions - Pastors and believers in rural areas of Cambodia.

Laos Missions - Believers in Laos.

India/Pakistan Missions - Pastors & Believers.

Kuching Missions - Teo family.

Sketch n’ Tell Ministry - Pr H S Lim

Pastor Ki: God’s guidance as he prepares for his future ministry.

Pr David Weng as he prepares for his ministry in Hope. For smooth & trouble-free visa application & migration.

Journey mercies: Rev George van Buuren (Adl); Dn David Yeo and family (Perth) & Sis Joyce Chen (Japan)

Fellowship (Surgery) Exams - Bro Pee-Yau Tan

Salvation of Mrs Van and her family.

Job - Bro Cong Pham

Sister B-P Churches in Australia: Faithful to the Word of God.

For strength & guidance for those under stress with their studies & work.

New church van by end of 2009. For God to provide $60,000.



© Hope Bible-Presbyterian Church
14 Bedford Square, Colonel Light Gardens, South Australia 5041