Does Conversion Happen at a Point in Time?

Monday is for Discussion

  1. Can the word “salvation” be substituted for “conversion?” 
  2. Is conversion an event or a process? 
  3. Does conversion happen at a point in time or is it a process over time?

Put your finger on the text of God’s word and start the discussion.


6 thoughts on “Does Conversion Happen at a Point in Time?

  1. 1- yes
    2- both
    3- both

    Of course you know this, but those three questions can create the equivalence of the French Revolution among believers! 🙂 Of note in my mind is the ontology of salvation. i.e. We are new creatures (2Cor.5:17) and yet we are constantly being transformed (Rom.12:2). The legal and experiential sides of salvation…we are perfected ‘forever’ (legal) and yet still being sanctified (experiential). We see both of these in Hebrews 10:14 and many other places. If our practical theology grabs either at the exclusion of the other we ultimately get out of balance concerning the message and personal holiness.

    So, I rise this morning and read your post and questions. Then, I thank the Lord for salvation granted through His marvelous grace wherein I stand (Rom.5:1-2). Then, I make my supplications to Him, realizing how short I come of His glory (Rom.3:23) and desire to constantly be transformed more into His likeness until the resurrection (1Jn.3:2).

    Anyway…just some quick thoughts….

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  2. Salvation happens at a point, though we may not know when the point is.
    Conversion is a process over a life but also involves pre-salvation experience.

    When I was a very young Christian, one of God’s now anonymous (to me) servants said, “Salvation happens in a moment, but conversion takes a lifetime.” The more I grow, the more I learn, the more I experience and listen to others, the truer their words ring.

    Amen with John to Terry’s wise words.

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    1. Terry, good question.
      Clearly there are some “belief lines” that have to be crossed, “unless you believe that ‘I am he’ you shall surely die in your sins,” (Jn. 8:24) etc.. The Apostle’s Creed lays out some of the particulars. But what is the point at which intellectual assent moves to savingly believing, is sometimes hard to determine.

      Example: I have a friend who traveled the country as a speaker promoting her particular sorority. She was not a Christian. But she kept running into Christians at different sororities. They would witness to her and she would pull out all the classic smoke screen questions, What about Noah? What about evolution? What about evil in the world? etc. The Christians she met tried their best to give biblical answers but she was unconvinced in any of her conversations with them.

      One day a Christian in one of the sororities responded to each of her smoke screen questions with this simple statement: “That’s important, but for now, let’s concentrate on Jesus.”

      Eventually it got to the point that she was able to guess who the Christians in the room were before anyone even spoke to her. One day she overheard a group of girls talking. Apparently it was a couple of Christians giving testimony of their faith in Christ and their sorority sister was pushing back with the smoke screen questions. My friend interrupted and said to the girl, “You know, that’s important, but you should concentrate on what Jesus said.” As the words came out of her own mouth, she realized that she had come to believe in the truth of the gospel. When did the precise moment come that she believed? To this day, she can’t tell you, but she knows that she has and the last two decades of her life have proven that she has been saved and is now in the lifelong process of conversion. Long answer, but I hope it helps.

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      1. Thanks Marty. That helps! I wonder if you asked her, “When did you feel your repented from your heart and became new person on the inside?” if that would help her? I’ve seen the ‘heart questions’ resolve the ambiguity of the intellectual assent on numerous occasions. (Especially with persons who grew up in church and can not remember a time when they did not believe.)

        Your story reminds me of a friend of a friend of mine from Virginia. She grew up Catholic and had never heard the gospel of ‘by grace through faith.’ One day she went to confession and just cried before the Lord (and the priest). Of course, she had done this many times, but this time something was different. Anyway, several months passed by and a friend of hers invited her to a revival meeting at a Baptist church. As the speaker began sharing about being born again in Christ, this Catholic lady began crying in an unstoppable fashion. The other friend ask her is she OK? Her reply was, “Yes! I just realized because of the message that that is what happened to me 3 months ago. I was born again!!” Needless to say, she was elated and thankful to have clarity on her unique confessional experience. She later said, “That day in the confessional, my heart went beyond the priest and I repented and cried out to Jesus, and my heart changed!” Because of this clarity, she left Catholicism and became part of that Baptist fellowship.

        Again, thanks for your reply…God bless

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