Christian Churches of God
Conversion and Truth
(Edition 2.0 19941015-19980725-20090606)
The concept of conversion as a process of turning from error is shown to be a fundamental teaching of Christ.
Conversion and Truth
The concept of conversion is derived from that of turning from error, and of hearing the truth, and understanding with the heart.
Isaiah 6:10 Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed. (KJV)
Isaiah 6:10 Make the heart of this people fat, and their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed." (RSV)
This concept was restated by Christ.
Matthew 13:15 For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. (KJV)
Mark 4:12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them. (KJV)
The truth thus proceeds from God as an indispensable aspect of human action in breach of the law and the action of sin.
Psalm 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. (KJV)
This is the introduction of the concept in the Old Testament that is fundamental to salvation. Most importantly, it requires action in the individual based on the revealed truth of God. God is also making it obvious that the process is controlled. People come to God based on their ability to act upon His truth and to make it an indispensable part of their lives.
This nexus with the truth is developed by James.
James 5:19-20 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; 20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins. (KJV)
The word for conversion in the Greek is epistrepho (SGD 1994), which means to revert or to turn again. The word here is used as the root word in Acts 15:3 regarding the conversion of the Gentiles which is epistrophe (SGD 1995) meaning the reversion in the sense of revolution of the Gentiles.
Acts 15:3 So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through both Phoeni'cia and Sama'ria, reporting the conversion of the Gentiles, and they gave great joy to all the brethren. (RSV)
This process is used for the Hebrew word in Isaiah, which is shoob (SHD 7725). This is a prime root meaning: to turn back. Thus the truth must have been given once to all nations so that they could be able to return to that truth.
This establishment in truth occurred under Noah and the re-establishment of the world without contamination. The significant lesson is that people do not want to know the truth or indeed to act upon or be compelled by truth. That is why concepts and people are negatively discounted. No issue is correctly addressed by the unconverted mind. The process of attacking the individual rather than examining what is said is essentially an unconverted mind set.
Jude 9 But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, disputed about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a reviling judgment upon him, but said, "The Lord rebuke you." (RSV)
This way of thinking has been instilled in the Churches of God essentially from the mind-control processes developed by the false religions over time.
The capacity to break free of this programming is assisted by God in the process of calling which involves the compulsion by logic based on truth, as it becomes evident to the converted or converting mind. The mind that does not wish to understand and to act upon the truth of God is unconverted and unconverting. The teaching of the truth of God and the error of transgression is part of that process.
Psalm 51:13 Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee. (KJV)
Psalm 51:13 Then I will teach transgressors thy ways, and sinners will return to thee. (RSV)
The process of conversion is essentially the process of returning all things to God. Returning to God is the process of becoming as little children.
Matthew 18:3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. (KJV)
The word “convert” here is strepho (SGD 4762) meaning: to (strengthen by) twist. Thus it means to convert by turning.
Becoming as a child does not mean mindless acquiescence. Children are characterised by two aspects. The first is an insatiable curiosity. The question “Why?” is asked more in childhood than at any other time. The second aspect is the capacity of trust or faith in the veracity of what is contained in the model. Thus faith in God's revelation in the Bible becomes an indispensable part of understanding. That does not imply unquestioning acceptance of what men say the Bible says but, rather, what it actually says. The process of establishing truth goes to the translation also.
The process of conversion requires repentance as previously dealt with.
Acts 3:19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; (KJV)
The time of refreshing is the process of the calling of the elect and then the restoration of the planet. Thus the process is one of the understanding of sin and then the granting of repentance. Conversion is the process which involves turning from error. No one can remain in error and claim to be converted. The capacity to change and overcome error is conferred by the Holy Spirit. Thus it is impossible to overcome the world without the Holy Spirit. The battle is a spiritual battle and the human being is subject to one master or the other. Humans cannot be aloof from the process; they either serve God or the fallen Host. To serve God one must be compelled by truth.
2John 1-4 The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth; 2 For the truth's sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever. 3 Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love. 4 I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father. (KJV)
2Thessalonians 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (KJV)
If we follow error and lies, we will be given over to strong delusion. We either care for the truth or we do not. If we do not, we will be given over to error and proceed to even greater error.
The love of the truth is the mark of the elect who have the Spirit of truth.
John 14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. (KJV)
John 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: (KJV)
Thus the truth proceeds from the Father through the Holy Spirit, and must be held in righteousness.
Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; (KJV)
If one of the elect knows the truth and does not speak out – i.e. withhold the truth – the wrath of God will be revealed from heaven against them. That is why the elect, as stewards of the mysteries of God, are judged by what they know and do. The elect cannot remain silent or acquiesce in error. They must speak and act.
The loins of the elect are girt about with truth.
Ephesians 6:14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; (KJV)
The truth is thus the undergarment of the armour of God. Without truth we can do nothing because we will be led into and lead others into error (see the paper Truth (No. 168)).
2Timothy 2:15-25 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. 17 And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; 18 Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some. 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. 20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. 21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work. 22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. 24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, 25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; (KJV)
The injunction in 2Timothy is for the direction of us all. The truth is our aim and objective. Truth is after godliness.
Titus 1:1 Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; (KJV)
The truth will be the mark of the restoration.
Isaiah 65:16 That he who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from mine eyes. (KJV)
No person can give his/her intellect over to another. They are judged by truth and their capacity to act on truth. Thus no Church can speak or direct any individual against the truth of God. If any doctrine of man is contrary to Scripture, then each who follows that doctrine is accountable before God. Hence, the understanding of the Bible and the knowledge of the One True God and of His son, the Messiah, is essential to the granting and retention of eternal life (Jn. 17:3). Thus no Trinitarian can be in the first resurrection. No minister of a Trinitarian Church can be in the first resurrection because they sanction the doctrine by their presence and condone lies with silence. They are accountable to God and are removed to the second resurrection so that their life might be saved in the second resurrection, as was the fornicator of Corinthians.
1Corinthians 5:4-5 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. (KJV)
Hebrews 10:26-27 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. (KJV)
Wilful disobedience of the truth is wilful sin referred to here in Hebrews. Thus the second resurrection is the only way that these people can be saved. Then they will come under judgment and correction in the absence of lies and the fallen Host, because they are incapable of distinguishing truth from error under the circumstances that bring us into judgment. We are judged by our capacity to discern truth from error now and to act upon that understanding. If we do not act then we come into judgment in the second resurrection. In other words, we are removed from the process now and delivered to the god of this world so that the offender might be saved in the last days.
Only the truth can set us free. The elect know the truth and the truth makes them free (Jn. 8:32). Each person must act on understanding. They must repent so that their sins might be blotted out (Acts 3:19).
The process of separating the elect according to truth, of necessity, involves division of the elect.
1John 2:17-27 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. 18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. 20 But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. 21 I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. 23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. 24 Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life. 26 These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. 27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. (KJV)
The process of going out of the elect does not mean that the elect are confined to corporate structures – they are not. The elect are required to separate themselves from those who do not love the truth. Those who are not compelled by truth are not lovers of the truth. We know the elect because they love the truth and are not deceived by falsehood. They put the love of the One True God and His son, the Messiah, above all else. These people will inherit the Kingdom of God.
The elect are an example to the world by their love of the truth and of each other.
Luke 22:31-32 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. (KJV)
The requirement is to strengthen each other. Satan has the capacity to sift each of the elect if God allows it. Christ mediates and intercedes for us. Peter was saved by the intervention of Christ. He was not converted until he had received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
The end result of this process is that the expanded Israel will be redeemed and the extension of the conversion is to the whole world.
Isaiah 1:27 Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness. (KJV)
We have a responsibility to God to work for the conversion of our people and the world. We were called to this purpose and this work. As people are strengthened by the Holy Spirit they are set free to work towards the common goal. The elect are not dependent upon individuals or corporate structures. The elect weigh and divide the truth. They hear the voice of the shepherd and know each other. Our people have faced, and are facing, great hardship for the truth of God. Encourage one another and help one another in the faith.