What Is Conversion?

How our choice and God’s grace work together.

What Is Conversion?

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In the Acts of the Apostles, Luke tells a number of stories about how unbelievers joined the early church. For the first few centuries, the typical process was threefold: evangelization, followed by conversion, and then baptism.

The order may be different today, but all three elements remain essential: evangelization—the sharing of the gospel; conversion—a decision to turn away from the world and to turn toward God; and baptism—the outpouring of God’s grace to cleanse us from our sins and transform us into children of God and members of the church. Let’s look at each of these three key elements.

Evangelization. Evangelization is the sharing of the “good news” about Jesus Christ, the Son of God who died on the cross to save us from our sins. The message of the gospel can come directly from the Holy Spirit, as it did for Paul (Acts 9:1-19), but the usual pattern is for the Holy Spirit to speak through someone who has already experienced conversion. In Lydia’s case, the Spirit worked through Paul and his companions…

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