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  • Writer's pictureSteve McAtee

Conversion - (Faith and Repentance) Or Returning to the Lord

Updated: Feb 9, 2021

Day 6 of the 22 Day Salvation Study

Notes compiled by Steve McAtee and Marty Zide

The word conversion is sometimes misunderstood. For example; many Jewish people feel that if one speaks of conversion and if they were to participate in it, then they would no longer be Jewish. Although some people do convert from one religion to another, that is not how the word is used in the Bible. If one is saved, they have converted, but that does not change their being Jewish or Gentile.

Questions to be Covered

What is conversion? What is the nature of true repentance? What is true saving faith?


Conversion is our willing response to the gospel call, in which we sincerely repent of sins and place our trust in Jesus the Messiah for salvation.

Conversion is a single entity that has two inseparable aspects: repentance and faith.

Repentance is the unbeliever’s turning away from sin, and faith is his or her turning to Messiah Jesus.

The word conversion means “turning.” The turning from sin is called repentance, and the turning to Messiah is called faith. Neither one can occur without the other, and they must occur together when true conversion takes place.

Parts of Saving Faith -- What does saving faith include?

1. Knowledge

Although knowledge of who Jesus is and what He has accomplished is necessary, just having the knowledge does not guarantee that one is truly saved.

Rom. 10:14 - How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?

Rom. 1:21 - For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

James 2:19 - You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.

Mere knowledge of the facts is not sufficient to bring about true salvation. There needs to be something more.

2. Agreement

Although agreement of who Jesus is and what He has accomplished is necessary, just agreeing with the facts does not guarantee that one is truly saved.

Even if one takes it a step further and agrees that the facts about Jesus are true, that is still not enough to bring about true salvation in the life of an individual. Nicodemus and King Agrippa are examples of this.

John 3:1-3 - Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; this man came to Him by night, and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Acts 26:27-28 - King Agrippa, do you believe the Prophets? I know that you do. And Agrippa replied to Paul, “In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian.”

3. Total dependence

What then is one to do? In addition to knowledge and agreement of the facts of the gospel, I must decide to depend upon Jesus to save me personally.

When total dependence in the gospel truth is exercised the individual enters into a new relationship with Jesus the Messiah.

Definition Of Saving Faith

Saving faith is trust in Jesus the Messiah as a living person for forgiveness of my sins and for eternal life with God. This definition emphasizes that saving faith is not just a belief in the facts but personal trust in Jesus to save me.

We start out with faith like a mustard seed, but that faith should grow and become stronger. Our faith is one of the most precious and valuable things a believer possesses.

Saving Faith As Taught In Scripture -- What does the Bible say about faith?

1. It ranks as a very important subject

As we will see, true saving faith is often referred to in Scripture. As we read about it, we come away with an understanding of how important true faith really is.

Bible’s Teaching About Faith:

  1. It’s a gift from God

  2. It will be tested

  3. It’s more valuable than gold

  4. Jesus prays for people’s faith

  5. It will endure until the end

It’s a gift from God

Eph. 2:8 - For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.

It will be tested

1 Pet. 1:6-7 - In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus the Messiah.

It’s more valuable than gold

1 Pet. 1:6-7 - In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus the Messiah.

Jesus prays for our faith

Luke 22:31-32 - “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”

Faith will endure until the end

Col. 1:21-23 - And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved

away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.



Repentance is a heartfelt sorrow for sin, renouncing of it, and a sincere commitment to forsake it and walk in obedience to Messiah Jesus.

A sense of great evil of sin is essential to true repentance.

Repentance is a grace of God’s Spirit whereby a sinner is inwardly and visibly reformed.

The great evil of every sin is this fact: every sin is committed against God.

Gen. 39:9 - There is no one greater in this house than I, and he has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great evil, and sin against God? - Joseph

Ps. 51:4 - Against Thee, Thee only, I have sinned, And done what is evil in Thy sight, So that Thou art justified when Thou dost speak, And blameless when Thou dost judge. - David

Nature of Repentance - What does repentance include?

Sight of Sin

In order for true repentance to take place, sin must be seen for what it is. Any form of denial or justification of sin will lead to inadequate repentance.

All unsaved people are in the dark about sin. That is how we are born.

Acts 26:16-18 - But arise, and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you; delivering you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, in order that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me

The sight of sin was the key to the Prodigal sons repentance.

Luke 15:17-19 - But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men

have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger! I will get up and go to my father and will say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son;

make me as one of your hired men.

The first creation of God was light. The first thing God does when He saves a sinner is to place him in the light.

Eph. 5:8 - for you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light.

Col. 1:12 - giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.

Sorrow for Sin

When genuine repentance takes place, there will be a genuine sorrow for sin. This is not some superficial act, but rather a deep agony over sin will be present.

Ps. 38:18 - For I confess my iniquity; I am full of anxiety because of my sin.

Ps. 51:17 - The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.

Joel 2:13 - And rend your heart and not your garments. Now return to the Lord your God, For He is gracious and compassionate, Slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness, And relenting of evil.

Luke 18:13 - But the tax-gatherer, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, God, be merciful to me, the sinner!

Confession of Sin

Some characteristics of true confession are, it is: self-accusing, voluntary, leaves a heart- wounding impression and it particularizes sin.

Judg. 10:10 - Then the sons of Israel cried out to the Lord, saying, We have sinned against Thee, for indeed, we have forsaken our God and served the Baals.

1 Sam. 24:17 - Then David spoke to the Lord when he saw the angel who was striking down the people, and said, Behold, it is I who have sinned, and it is I who have done wrong; but these sheep, what have they done?

Please let Thy hand be against me and against my father’s house.

Ps. 38:4 - For my iniquities are gone over my head; As a heavy burden they weigh too much for me.

Shame for Sin

The Prodigal son didn’t think himself worthy to be called a son anymore. Adam and Eve hid in the garden of Eden trying to escape having to face God.

Jer. 6:15 - Were they ashamed because of the abomination they have done? They were not even ashamed at all; They did not even know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; At the time that I punish them, They shall be cast down, says the Lord.

Ezra 9:5-6 - But at the evening offering I arose from my humiliation, even with my garment and my robe torn, and I fell on my knees and stretched out my hands to the Lord my God; and I said, O my God, I am ashamed and embarrassed to lift up my face to Thee, my God for our iniquities have risen above our heads, and our guilt has grown even to the heavens.

Luke 15:19 - I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.

Gen. 3:8 - And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.


As true believers mature in their faith, they will come to hate the times they disobey God more and more.

Ps. 97:10 - Hate evil, you who love the Lord, Who preserves the souls of His godly ones; He delivers them from the hand of the wicked.

Prov. 8:13 - The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way, And the perverted mouth, I hate.

Rom. 12:9 - Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.

Ps. 119:104 - From Thy precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way.

Faith and repentance are present at the time of initial salvation, however, they will continue to be present throughout the life of a true believer.

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