Continuing Our Conversion
April 19, 2008
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“Conversion is a process” writes Kathleen Norris in her book Amazing Grace: a Vocabulary of Faith. It’s a good reminder for all of us. Frequently we think of conversion to Christ as an event. There’s that moment when a person decides they need God’s forgiveness and that this comes through Christ’s redemptive work that was accomplished for them on the cross and that now they are to live for Him and no longer for self. That is, indeed, often a once-and-for-all decision.
But conversion to Christ does not end at this point. It’s only the beginning! We keep on converting to becoming more and more like Christ, at least that’s to be the idea. Norris writes, “In living out my conversion as a daily and lifelong process, I treasure most the example of my grandmother Totten, who dwelled in one marriage, one home, one church congregation for over sixty years. Her faith was alive for anyone to see; her life demonstrates that conversion is no more spectacular than learning to love the people we live with and work among.” (p. 44)
Our ongoing conversion to being more and more like Jesus is going to have to happen in our ordinary day-to-day experiences, as humdrum as they might seem to be. It will be played out among the people and in the midst of the circumstances we find ourselves today, for where else can it happen?
Norris concludes her thoughts on conversion by quoting the apostle Paul. “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed — not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence — continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” (Philippians 2:12-13)
“Work out your salvation,” Paul says. Of course he doesn’t mean we work to gain our salvation. What he does mean is that once we enjoy the Lord’s salvation we commit to working it out in our day-to-day lives. We act as if we really believe He’s acted in our lives, and continues to act in our lives! Yes, conversion is more than a once-and-for-all event. It’s an ongoing process. Let’s keep converting!