The following is a response to a question that came in via our question and response time. At the beginning of each Sunday gathering, we have a time of question and response where people can text in questions (831-204-0497). All questions are anonymous. The goal of having a time of Q+R is to model one of our core values: being a safe place to talk about and work through anything. In addition, we hope that these questions allow for more interaction and discussion as we grow in community.
What does spiritual conversion (becoming a Christian) look like? Or how does one know that they have been born again? Or saved?
First, just a few things that spiritual conversion is not.
Spiritual conversion doesn’t look like saying one particular prayer.
Spiritual conversion or becoming a Christian is not something you earn or work for.
Spiritual conversion or becoming a Christian does not require you to know in depth biblical theology.
On one hand, spiritual conversion looks like a lot of different things.
Spiritual conversion looks like Zacchaeus giving back fourfold the money he stolen, as Jesus then says salvation has come to this house.
Spiritual conversion looks like a Roman soldier declaring that Jesus is the Son of God and thus Caesar is not.
Spiritual conversion looks like Peter where one day he drops his nets to follow Jesus, one day he says that Jesus is the Christ and then gets called Satan three minutes later, denies Jesus and then preaches and thousands get baptized.
Spiritual conversion looks like Paul getting knocked off his donkey, becoming blind but then realizing Jesus is the Messiah and that his violence against God’s people needs to stop.
Spiritual conversion looks like selling all that you have and giving it all up in order to become apprentices to Jesus.
Spiritual conversion looks like saying to Jesus in your last breath, “remember me when you come in your kingdom”
My point is that “spiritual conversion” looks different, yet the same.
Different in that everyone’s story isn’t all the same, but key components are consistent and necessary.
Mainly repentance or turning from your sin and then placing your faith and trust in King Jesus in his life, death, burial, and resurrection despite your sin.
Or in the language of Jesus: turn around and believe the good news. (Matthew 4)
Believe that Jesus is King and that his kingdom is here and is coming and that’s he’s made a way for those who’d turn from their sin to be made new if they’d trust in what he’s done for them on the cross. (Matthew 4)
Or again in the language of Jesus: believe in God’s only son and you will have eternal life, which is life with God that starts now. (John 3v16, John 17)
Or in the language of Paul: confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and you will be saved. (Romans 10)
It’s the recognition that despite my sin, shame and brokenness, King Jesus loved me and gave himself for me. It looks like God’s spirit breathing life into the walking dead.
It’s all a work of God.
It’s a choice I have to make.
Both are true.
This is all a gift of grace.
He is making all things new and is inviting me to be a part if I would turn from my version of the good life and trust in Jesus, trust in his sacrifice on the cross and his resurrection from the dead is the only way
What is true of Jesus then becomes true of me.
So if I was talking with someone at the grocery store checkout line, and someone said on the spot with only 30 seconds before they had to go, what does spiritual conversion look like, how can I be saved and become a Christian?
My answer would be: do you believe that despite your sin, Jesus the one true King and Lord of all loves you and gave his life for you on a cross? Do you turn from your sin and trust this Jesus who is resurrected, ruling and reigning overall for a new life?
If the answer is YES, then welcome to the Kingdom of God. You are now an apprentice or disciple of King Jesus.
If I was talking with someone in my living room over good food and drink and we had hours and hours and someone asked, what does spiritual conversion look like - how is someone saved?
That conversation would include all that I just said and perhaps more.
What part does man play?
What part does God play?
What role does the Holy Spirit play?
At what exact moment are you saved?
How do big words like justification, adoption, sanctification play a role?
And this is why there are hundreds of books written about this.
But, how does one know they are saved?
Do you believe that Jesus loves you and gave himself for you despite your sins and failure? Then know and have the assurance that you are saved.
For the person who is worried that they aren’t saved because perhaps they didn’t say the right prayer or whatever, I’d say to that person, do you believe that King Jesus loved you and gave his life for you despite your sin?
And if the answer is yes, then you are part of God’s Kingdom and family.