Pristine Grace

The Day You Were Converted
by Brandan Kraft
The Day You Were Converted

    I've noticed amongst some believers, there tends to be a great focus on the actual day one came to believe the Gospel, and that if you can't pin-point it, you may not know the Gospel.  I can certainly understand how this understanding came into being, so let me help you out if you're struggling with assurance.

    The simple matter of fact is it doesn't matter when you came to believe the truth.  If you believe the Gospel now, you are one of God's people.  And if you are one of God's people, God has always loved you, cared for you, and provided for you.  You believe because you have been given the gift of faith, and you will persevere in this faith until you are taken home in glory.  Our focus is not upon the day where we first believed... or baptized... or anything else we might peform.

    What some well-intentioned people are probably referring to though is the need for Gospel or Evangelical Repentance.  The flip side of saving faith is evangelical repentance.  Repentance in this sense does not mean a moral reform, but it means to turn from all forms of striving to attain any aspect of salvation.  

    Example: Many believers, prior to understanding and embracing the Gospel of free and sovereign grace were caught up in the religion of free-willism.  That is, they were looking to their faith as a condition for salvation.  After all, in the common understanding of what is called christianity today, it is believed that Christ died for all men everywhere without exception, and the only reason one isn't saved from their sins is their refusal to accept the gift of salvation.  Those that have accepted this gift aren't resting in Christ Alone for salvation, but partially resting in their ability or decision to believe.  This is a terrible and flat-out perversion of the Gospel.  If you came to believe the Gospel as is taught on this website, then you repented of this belief you may have once held.  You came to realize how it is a form of self-righteousness, and you counted all your former religious doings in this belief system as dung.   That is evangelical repentance.  You turned from your former religion of striving to resting in Christ alone.

    Some folks after they come to believe the truth will claim that they were "saved" maybe even when they were attending a free-willer church.  While I agree that God's people were always redeemed in Christ, they haven't always rested and experienced salvation in Him alone.  And they are often attacked as unbelievers by well intentioned brothers because they haven't repented (at least not sufficiently in the minds of their critics) of their free-willism.  I believe these attacks are unwarranted though.  I'm not one to judge if one has sufficiently repented of their former works idolatry as evidence of salvation.  If they believe the Gospel, then they have repented and they don't necessarily have to articulate it with a perfection that would satisfy the most ardent of free grace adherents!  And to not embrace these people as brethren would be unloving, and anti-gospel in my opinion.  If one can articulate the Gospel of Salvation Conditioned on Christ Alone (SCOCA), express their belief and love of it, then they have repented.  You can't have one side of the coin (faith) without the other (repentance).  We are to embrace believers upon their Gospel profession. 

    The Gospel of free and sovereign grace, by its very definition alone, condemns free-willism and all other forms of religion as anti-christ.  All professors of this Gospel by implication reject free-willism as false.  We do not need to subject them to the inquisition, asking them when they came to believe and if they have sufficiently repented...  We do not need to test them and make sure they can articulate to our standard of perfection their understanding of the date of their conversion... But we are to embrace them as brothers and rejoice with them in our mutual love of the Gospel.  The simple fact is they believe the Gospel, and that means they are our elect brothers and sisters in Christ.  Let's give them the benefit of the doubt and pray for them that they might begin to express with further clarity their understanding of the Gospel.

    Grace and Peace!
    Brandan