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Two Types Of Conversion
"... they told how the Gentiles had been converted. This news made all the brothers very glad." (v. 3)
For reading & meditation:
Salvation is the word Christians use to describe the experience of sins being forgiven and receiving the gift of eternal life. Conversion is the word to describe the way we enter into that experience. Other religions also use the word conversion, but usually what they mean by it is the act of changing from one religion to another. Nothing is known of a deep inward spiritual change, which is what happens in the Christian faith when we are saved or converted. In the book Mirrors of Downing Street the author finishes the characterization of Winston Churchill, one of Britain's most famous prime ministers: "General Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, once told Mr. Churchill that he stood in need of conversion. That old man was a notable judge of character." But Winston Churchill was not alone in his need of conversion. Everyone, says Scripture, has to experience it in order to enter into the kingdom of God. Sometimes non-Christian religions use the word conversion to describe a change of attitude in one of their adherents, but the change is always on the horizontal level rather than a vertical one. By a change "on the horizontal" I mean a change on the human level, a change of thinking or approach, but not a change in relation to God - the vertical level. In Madras once, I read in a local newspaper about a group of Hindus who were ready to fight a court case over the conversion to Islam of a hotel maid. That was a horizontal conversion. The Bible knows nothing of horizontal conversions. Conversion in Scripture is always vertical.
O God my Father, is there anything more wonderful in heaven or earth than to be vertically converted - changed by You? I know of nothing. I can do no other than gratefully accept. And am I grateful? I most surely am. Thank You, my Father. Amen.
Taken from 'Every Day Light' devotional, by Selwyn Hughes. © 1999 and is used by permission. All rights reserved.
Hughes, Selwyn. "Devotional for January 26". "Every Day Light". <http://classic.studylight.org/devos/edl/index.cgi?FirstSelectMonth=&FirstSelectDay=>. 1999.