The word “convert” simply means to change, to turn. The word is so translated in the American Standard Version. When persons are converted they are changed. They must be changed, and the Bible leaves no doubt as to where this change takes place. The Holy Spirit says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Cor. 5:17).(Acts 2:47). So your conversion or change was not right somewhere if you were left with the choice that belongs to the Lord.(Acts 11:14).(Acts 22:16). These people were not converted by signing a card, praying, or raising their hands. Instead, they obeyed from the heart the form of teaching that was delivered to them (Rom. 6:17-18).“Except ye be converted and become as a little child” (Matt. 18:3). I have met people who were converted. I do not doubt that. But they were not converted the right way. When I was a little child, my father knew everything. I wondered how anyone could be so foolish as to belong to a different church than my father’s. I never thought of questioning what he taught on any subject. That’s the way one who becomes as a little child in his conversion views God’s commands.“Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; 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” (Jas. 5:19-20).
We may be converted from one sect to another sect. We may turn from our drunkenness to a sober life, and we may quit our swearing. But this is not enough if our change does not bring us into Christ. You will find that in the first century the change was always the same. Those men and women, whether Jew or Gentile, were translated into the kingdom or church.
In all of those conversions much of modern procedure was lacking. Note this: None was given the choice as to which church he should join. That choice belongs to the Lord and He adds to His church
Those converts were not told to “pray the sinners’ prayer.” Prayer has its place and purpose, but its place and purpose is not in the salvation of the alien sinner. Cornelius was a prayerful man and a good man, but he was told to send for Peter and he would tell him words that would save his soul
Paul was praying for three days and nights, but he, too, had to hear words to save his soul
You may have been converted — made a change — but was it the right change? Did you do the will of the Father in heaven? Jesus said,
But many “converted” people today do not accept what God says about baptism, repentance, the Lord’s Supper, nor do they think He was right to leave instrumental music out of New Testament worship. Now, if you are one of those, can’t you see that you have never been properly converted? Remember, it was Jesus who said we must become as little children.
I sometimes disagree with my father now. I’m not exactly a little child any more. As much as I love and respect him, I do not think my father is infallible any more. But with God, the passing of years only confirms my belief that God is always right and man is always wrong, sinfully wrong, when he disagrees with God.
Let me be fair with you, my friend. If your conversion does not measure up to the divine standard, if it is not like those recorded in the book of Acts, I believe, and sincerely so, that it was wrong. I do not like for you to quarrel with my Father about anything. I do not like to hear you say that God’s way is wrong about anything. You will not be able to contradict Him when we all stand before His judgment bar, so why not submit to Him now?
There are those who teach that once a man is converted, he cannot be lost. Conversion does not destroy man’s power of choice. There are many scriptures showing this teaching to be sinfully wrong. But here is a verse that, with those who believe the word of God, settles it forever: