Conversion is a process of change. Water placed into a freezer is converted into ice. That same water, placed over a fire, will change or convert into steam. Spiritually, we are changed from death into life:
“We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death” (1 John 3:14).
Christians, themselves having been converted from death to life, desire to see others enjoy that same experience. Therefore, we teach and encourage others to be converted (Matthew 18:3; Acts 3:19). Conversion is an essential part of salvation. When one is converted he is added to the number of the believers (Acts 2:47) and is moved, by the power of God, into the Kingdom of Christ (Colossians 1:13).
Conversion is not a self-willed operation. It is a change that occurs through the power of God. That is not to say that man is without some responsibility. Man must come to the Lord in faith and in obedience. Mark 16:16 is instructive of this point:
“Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”
The kind of belief in verse 16 is a belief predicated upon that faith. He not only gives mental agreement to the things taught but acts upon that belief. The obedience is, among other things, the submission to baptism as commanded. The baptism is as important as the belief. But faith demands that one do the things commanded even if one cannot see any reason himself for the action. Thus conversion requires the appearance of faith and the obedience to that faith (Acts 6:7; Romans 1:5; Romans 16:26).
In considering conversion we ought ask the question: To what, exactly, are we converted? Some people suggest that we are converted to the church. That is incorrect. The church, or body of Christ (Ephesians 5:23) is the place where God puts those who are obedient to the faith (Acts 2:41; Acts 2:47). It is the church (the people) which is saved (Ephesians 5:23). But the church never died for anyone.
Some appear to be converted to a preacher or teacher. They seem to almost mindlessly follow him about parroting whatever he says without regard to plain Bible teachings. While it is kind to hold a man in such high regard we must still argue that we are not converted to him. He did not die for us. The brothers in Corinth suffered such a form of incipient denominationalism which was rebuked by Paul (1 Corinthians 1:10-17).
The only one we are converted to is Jesus Christ. Jesus alone died for us (Acts 20:28) thus paying for our redemption with his blood. Jesus alone knows our struggles better than anyone else for he also suffered the same temptations without failing (Hebrews 4:15). It is Jesus who changes us and it is Jesus only to whom we are converted. He is the “King of kings and Lord of lords” (1 Timothy 6:15). You belong to the Lord! There is no greater news!