You must first be converted, receive Christ by faith to change

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Rev. Leroy Cole

Jesus said you must be converted before you can enter the kingdom of heaven. “Verily I say unto you; except you be converted, and become as little children, you cannot enter the kingdom of Heaven.” (Matt. 18:3).

Convert means to change from one form to another. You cannot convert yourself, only God can do that. When Peter preached on the Day of Pentecost he said, “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out.” (Acts 3:19). Jesus used various terms to describe this conversion.

He called it being born again, being born from above, entering the narrow gate, and many other expressions.

In 2 Corinthians, Paul called it being a new creation. He said, “Old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17). The critical question is, “Can I really be changed?”

Is it possible for me to be different, or do I always have to be the way I am? There is something missing in your life that only God can fulfill. “The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.” (Titus 2:11).

God has provided His salvation to everyone. You must be converted for the forgiveness of your sins, “for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Rom. 3:23). We’re all sinners. Sin is rebellion against God. It is refusing to yield ourselves to trust in God.

When John, the Baptist preached the message of repentance, preparing the way for Jesus, he announced, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29).

Throughout the scripture, the lamb is used as an expression for Jesus, the Christ and what He did on the cross. He died on a cross. He was taken outside of Jerusalem and nailed to a cross. Blood ran from his wounds. He suffered an agonizing death. Crucifixion was the means of capital punishment at that time.

Many people had been crucified, but Jesus was not just suffering physically. He was suffering spiritually. He was suffering from the weight of the sinfulness of man. He was paying the price for sin. “For the wages of sin is death.” (Rom. 3:23). Every evil thought you had, every lie you told, everything you have ever done wrong are included in the wages of sin.

In 2 Corinthians the scripture says He became sin for us. We must come to Christ to be converted. Jesus said, “If you do not believe that I am he, you will die in your sins.” (John 8:24). There is no other name under heaven where we can be saved.

When we receive Christ by faith, at that moment you are forgiven and converted. At that moment you are redeemed and restored. When you accept God’s plan for salvation by faith, repenting of your sins, believing that Jesus is the Christ; you are declared converted and can enter the kingdom of heaven.

When you accept Christ as your savior, he just doesn’t patch you up. He renews you. Conversion is complete; it changes your entire life – your social life, business life, family life. You become a partaker of God’s nature. It is not a calling to religion. It is an invitation to a personal relationship with God through Jesus the Christ as your Savior and Lord.