The Permanent Conversion

I may be revealing my naive world view here, but I am feeling compelled to share some thoughts.

I was raised Catholic.  I never had a relationship with Jesus.  I believed that if I was a good enough person I would be going to Heaven. 

Becoming%20Catholic%20Pope%20Benedict%20XVI  

I have seen a few blogs over the past few years about people who have converted to Catholicism.  And some about people who have converted to Protestant.  And some about people who have converted to Muslim.  And about people who have converted to Judaism.  And even some about people who have converted from Catholicism to Judaism.

It seems that a lot of religions have people who convert to them, and conversely, convert from them.  I mean, most of us know someone who was once Catholic right?

I consider myself ‘saved’.  This means that I realized I am a sinner (if you never realize you are a sinner you never recognize your need for a Savior), repented from my sins (was willing to turn from sin towards Jesus), and chose to receive* Christ.

*To truly receive is to trust in and depend on Jesus Christ alone to be the Lord of our lives here and now and our Savior for all eternity.  It means more then knowledge (the devil knows about Jesus and trembles).  It takes more than agreement that the knowledge we have is accurate (the devil agrees that Jesus is Lord). What is takes is to trust in Jesus Christ alone for eternal life.  The requirements for eternal life are not based on what you can do but on what Jesus Christ has done.  He stands ready to exchange His perfection for your imperfection. (Hank Hanegraaff) 

And according to Jesus Christ, those who realize they are sinners, repent of their sins, and receive Him as Savior and Lord are “born again” (John 3:3) spiritually.

Heres the thing…

I have never heard of anyone converting from being Saved. 

I seriously haven’t.  Have you? 

Is the reason I have never heard of it because once someone understands the Truth and significance of being saved, there is nothing to convert from?

In a world where people are constantly jumping into the next best religion with the cutest and suavest new pastor or the one that builds the biggest most beautiful churches or the one that seems to have the most power, thats a pretty awesome realization

 

In that precious moment of me giving my life over to Him, I was permanently converted into one of God’s chosen children.

John 5:24 assures us that “he who believes…has eternal life”

“Life does not begin when we die but when we embrace the Savior who died in our place.  As our physical birth cannot be undone, so too our spiritual birth can never be undone.” (Hanegraaff)

I don’t know about anyone else, but I LOVE that my faith in God is un-convertable.  I love that what I believe and what I live is not based on doctrine or baptism or my actions (scary thought!) or someone else telling me I can go to Heaven (or hell for that matter…have you met the greeters at Walmart?) or by sacraments.

But in all fairness, I would like to know where (if) I am wrong here.  Cause I tend to be wrong a lot and sometimes need some good, honest, and God fearing friends to set me straight! 

So tell me, what do you think about ‘conversions of faith’? 

 

Comments

  1. says

    I have never heard that term, but I have met people who have said they used to be sure and now aren’t. OR those who say “I used to be close to Jesus and now feel so distant” and are living a life that’s anything but what we know we should be doing as Christians.
    Of course if a Christian or one who has professed to be a Christian converterts to Islam, I’d say they are no longer saved. Judisiam is a little harder for me because they are “HIS” already, but if they profess they do not believe that Christ is Lord, then I would take that as them saying they are no longer saved, even if they don’t say those exact words.

  2. Tracie says

    I think (?) one of the best reasons people convert to different religions is that they are searching for something they are not getting from the religion they practice. I am not sure the term “saved” is used in all forms of religion. I could be wrong, though. I was raised Catholic, which is part of the reason for my disillusionment with organized religion in general.

  3. Bethany says

    Interesting question. I love the thoughts in your post and the comments so far.
    I personally know people who have decided against following Jesus. They were not casual Christians. They were good, strong, Bible believing, Jesus saved, Sunday school teaching Christians…for a lot of years. I don’t know all the details behind their change of heart. I just pray for them and their boys.
    I don’t think we “lose” our salvation because we doubt. We all have doubts. Faith is a gift. A great read on this is John Ortberg’s “Faith and Doubt.” Like most I read, I don’t agree with everything, but it is a fantastic book with wonderful thoughts.
    I think our faith is just that. Faith. It takes believing, when it seems like it should not be believed. It takes courage. It’s hard for me to do life God’s way when my way seems more direct. It takes conviction. I find it hard to stand the pressure of the world at times.
    Faith is only needed if we can’t be certain. While I have faith that Jesus is Lord: the One true God, I do not have proof of that. While I believe with all my heart He died for my sins and was raised from the dead, I’m believing someone else’s testimony. I don’t take lightly the decision I’ve made to trust Jesus Christ. I have to examine it. But as I do, I find some fluff taken out of my faith and some real truth put in.
    A great thing about Christianity is it stands up to scrutiny. God has nothing to fear in honest searching. He encourages it. So I do. I seek Him with my whole heart (not always, but on the good days) and when I do I find HIM! That’s enough to keep me from converting!

  4. Julie in WA says

    What an amazing statement, Amanda. “…converting from being Saved”. I have never thought about it that way, but I believe once saved, always saved. If someone is constantly being converted to this or that, but not converted to Christ, there is no salvation.
    As far as those who walked the walk and talked the talk for years, then ‘fall away’, well, I am glad the Lord is the judge of men’s hearts and it is not for me to say yea or nay. However, those of us who truly know Christ as Lord and Savior, there is no going back. Why would someone chose to “convert from being saved” anyways? There is great joy in salvation.
    I myself took a self imposed exhile from God some 15 years ago. I did not read my Bible, did not pray, went to church only to save face. Did I lose my salvation? Did I need another conversion back into Christianity? No, for the Lord never abandoned me, nor took his Spirit from me.

  5. says

    I don’t see it as a “conversion of faith.” I see it as a choice about how to worship the Lord you have committed your faith to. The faith journey deepens and grows as we do … the venue is only a reflection of our personal style of communicating and sharing our relationship with that God, at the place we are at in our life. There is a common link … people joining together to worship and pray with others and demonstrate their belief and honor of God. The people I sing worship and praise songs with on Sunday raise their voices in faith, hope, and trust … just as they do in other churches and denominations. They kneel in revenence and bring their joys and sorrows, success and failure, to the God who loves them. Our Father knows we live in different homes – he also knows our hearts and the depth of our love for him … wherever we are. He loves your thoughtfulness … and sincere search for understanding … as He does the same journey of others. You are very special and much loved. Blessed to be … your Mom.

  6. says

    Amanda,
    I completely agree with you regarding organized religion. I went through 12 years of catholic schools and was raised by a mother that didn’t really identify with “one” religion, but just considered herself a born-again Christian. I have for years been skeptical of organized religions and find it very refreshing when someone simply says “I am a Christian”. If find that organized religions get too caught up in doctrine and rules.
    To answer you question – my trip to WV was great, very tiring, but great! We arrived at 11:30 pm and were there all night and boarded the bus for home at 5:00 am. More than the whole haunted tour aspect, I was fasicinated with the prison itself. The architecture and the tour were really neat. It must have been an awful place to be incarcerated. The cells were 5′x7′ and housed 2 or 3 men until the prison was deemed inhumane IN 1995!!! That was hard to believe.
    We might do another prison tour at the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, OH. I really love history and architecture, so I don’t mind the ghosthunting aspect too much. The one in Mansfield was used in all of the outdoor scenes in The Shawshank Redemption (one of my favorite movies).
    Thanks for the comments and check my blog this week for a post on our little prison excursion.
    Stephanie

  7. says

    I am a former-evangelical/protestant who “converted” to Orthodox Christianity. But I don’t think that means I am no longer “saved”; however, some evangelical Christians may think that. For me, I was searching for the ancient faith- the faith of the apostles. I found that in Orthodoxy, through the saraments, through baptism and christmation, through communion. I would have a very hard time believing that we can be saved if we are not baptised- Christ instructs us to do so and does so by example as well. Though, I am not the judge of all; only God can determine this.
    One big difference between evangelicalism and Orthodoxy is the understanding of what being saved means. For many evangelicals, there is one singular saving moment. For Orthodox, a person would most definitely have a defining saving moment, but we believe that we ARE saved, are continually BEING saved (through repentance and communion) and that we WILL BE saved when Christ returns.
    I hope this makes sense. As for those who are part of organized religion, I do not think we have any right to judge whether they are “saved” or not (because they do not use the words “born again”). That is completely between them and God. I have known several amazing Catholics over my lifetime who I am certain will see the kingdom of heaven.
    I typically shy away from these types of conversations because I don’t want to offend anyone. I hope I have not done that. I only want to bring another side of the discussion to the table. Thanks!

  8. says

    Michelle- I am so glad you feel comfortable sharing what you believe here… and I thank you for trusting me (us) with your thoughts.
    As you read in my post, you can tell I disagree with needing to be baptized to be saved… here is a great reference on that (short and open minded)
    http://www.equip.org/perspectives/christian-baptism
    And then of course, there is the Biblical reference to the other man hanging on the cross next to Christ… he did not get baptized, yet Christ knew his heart and accepted him into Heaven. 
    Your statement:
    “but we believe that we ARE saved, are continually BEING saved (through repentance and communion) and that we WILL BE saved when Christ returns. ”
    I am confused be the “being” saved portion… is that dependant on our actions?  If we go to communion?  Based on that line of thinking, can I then lose salvation if I don’t repent and go to communion?
    As far as when I talk about being saved and whether or not others are saved, I would NEVER to presume to know any mans heart, that is certainly God’s job and thank goodness for that.  But it is important for me to know what the Biblical parameters are, i.e. What is God’s definition of Salvation. 
    I also believe in the whole Bible.  I think there is an Old Testament and a New Testament on purpose, for God is perfect!  He gave us all the information we need to get to Him and that’s all I need to go by. 
    I have read your blog for awhile now, have known about=2
    0your Orthodox faith, and still loved you!  You are a wonderful mom, daughter, wife, friend, and I am lucky to know you!  And your kids are just too adorable!!!
    Your opinion is important to me.  Just because we do not agree on this does not mean that I don’t value the perspective and the opportunity for me to grow more in my relationship with Christ.  So, for that, I thank you!! 

  9. says

    Your blog is so encouraging to me. I was saved about 5 1/2 years ago from this dark world we live in. I love Jesus and believe all the things you stated above. I am a new creation in Christ. Hooray for that!

  10. Amber says

    Very good points. I have a mother in law who is Catholic and a grandmother who converted from the catholic religion to Christianity. I would say my grandmother is saved now. I can’t speak for my mother in law but actions speak louder than words. Great post.

  11. Christina says

    I dont think we can continually be saved by any kind of action we do because it is just by faith, Ephesians 2:8-9 is really clear on that. Communion, repentance, confession all those things are things that should be practiced and I think help you have a closer walk with God but if I were to die before the next time I were to participate in one of them I dont think it would affect where I go.
    As for your initial question, I think when people convert from Christianity they are in a way converting from being saved. But, I think if you leave it you were never saved to begin with, “they were not of us for if they had been of us they would have continued with us” 1 john 2:19. If you have the Holy Spirit in you, how can you leave and not be convicted of that sin?

  12. says

    Just happened upon this blog while looking for a tomato soup recipe. I just happened to read this as well and find it interesting. As a very devout Christian mom, here are some thoughts I have. I totally agree with you that once we fully understand and accept who Christ is and what he has done for us, a permanent change (ought to) take place. I think the amazing thing is that when we understand that Jesus Christ really loves us, and has died for our sins, your whole life perspective changes. As you mentioned, it usually compels you to action. I think this is a key point though! When I fully understand and accept that Christ is Lord, then I want to be as him, and be close to him, and do what he has asked me to do. It’s like a child who fully respects and understands the role of a parent – you obey! Christ has taught and asked us expressedly to do various things. He has asked us to love our neighbor, to pray for those who hate us, to be baptized, to go ‘sin no more’. He has taught so many things he wants us to do, simply because applying those things/doing those things will bring us happiness. I’ve met quite a few people who’ve ‘accepted Christ’ etc. but then sit back and think that’s all they’ve got to do. Well, yes…Christ will be the one saving. We cannot save ourselves. But, I think true faith and acceptance of Christ also requires obedience to what he’s asked me to do. If I don’t listen to him, I don’t really believe him. And yet, lots of ‘saved’ people think they can sit back, and ignore commandments Christ has given them, because they believe they’ll be saved no matter what. To me that’s not true faith, and also not true acceptance of Christ and something that makes me question their status of ‘savedness’. I think the bible is pretty clear on the fact that Christ is our Savior, but that he’s also asked us to change, to become like him, to do things…and not just sit on our butts and hope for the best. Don’t you think?

  13. says

    I know this is an older post, but I just found it this morning… I loved your points and so happy for you to have the assurance you need of your salvation, the assurance that so many lack…
    Blessings to you and yours!

  14. says

    I appreciate this article. Even though you wrote and shared it almost a full year ago, It is one of truth every day of our lives! I AM SAVED and I HAVE FAITH … Romans 8:28! I have also shared this post on my blog to send folks your way… THANK YOU SO MUCH

  15. says

    I actually conpletely agree with you. I have a huge (at least 300 person Italian Roman Catholic Family whom I love) and was brought us Catholic. I went to church, CCD, all the stuff that went with it, as did my family. But I was not saved until I was older and began attending a Protestant church. So I was Catholic convert to Christian. I think your right on with this topic.
    PS My mine is Amanda too.

  16. Paige says

    I just found this blog. Believe it or not, it was linked from a devout Catholic woman’s blog. I’ve enjoyed clicking around. I won’t be back after reading this article and the many comments. All I can say is, heartbreaking. Catholics are Christians and I most certainly take offense to a statement that they aren’t “saved” b/c they think you must participate in the sacraments and be baptized. I don’t get this “saved” thing that I hear all of the time. Sounds pretty presumptuous to me, as if you can’t lose your salvation. We as Christians, have been saved by the cross of Christ, we are being saved as He works on us with the His Holy Spirit, purging us of our selfishness day in and day out and we are going to be saved when He comes again, provided we have endured to the end. http://www.catholic.com/library/Assurance_of_Salvation.asp
    “As the Bible says, I am already saved (Rom. 8:24, Eph. 2:5–8), but I’m also being saved (1 Cor. 1:18, 2 Cor. 2:15, Phil. 2:12), and I have the hope that I will be saved (Rom. 5:9–10, 1 Cor. 3:12–15). Like the apostle Paul I am working out my salvation in fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12), with hopeful confidence in the promises of Christ (Rom. 5:2, 2 Tim. 2:11–13).”
    Please, do yourself a favor if you truly want to know Christian truth, don’t depend on Hank Hanegraff for it. Go back to the early Christian Church. Read what those wrote that were closest to the time of Christ and his apostles. You just may find yourself back at mass.
    Pax Amor Christi

  17. says

    Just found your lovely blog! I like what you said – “once someone understands the Truth and significance of being saved, there is nothing to convert from?”
    I agree but I also believe that we must take it further.
    When we accept Jesus into our hearts we must obey him out of that love (the whole purpose of our lives is to love, serve and worship God).
    The fullness of truth is in the Catholic Church, the church that Jesus gave us.
    I know many disagree with me and that is OK. Let’s all pray for each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.
    Soutenus

  18. Jabberwocky says

    I found this blog looking for a baked oatmeal recipe and clicked around because I was curious. I’m posting now because I do think it’s important to talk about other points of view.
    You don’t really convert from being saved, but you can stop believing that it matters. I grew up a really devout Christian and Lutheran, but had a falling-out with the church over my confirmation. That was the first blow, when I realized that God may be perfect, but the people who run the church are just people, and they can be petty and bureaucratic like anyone else. I won’t go into details, but over time I started questioning my beliefs, figuring out what I really believed and what I didn’t. I’m still not completely decided, but I’m somewhere between deism (god exists but he doesn’t care about our actions) and atheism (because if he doesn’t care why does it matter if I believe?). Religion is something that humans create, and it can do a lot of great things. I think faith can be a fantastic motivator for people to get together and help one another. But lately it’s also been the cause of a lot of bigotry and prejudice, and I can’t get behind that.
    I can’t believe that any one religion is the one and only truth, either. There are dozens or hundreds of religions, and humans are too small and fractured for me to really believe that any one group has somehow captured the complete truth about any higher powers that might be out there.
    Whatever you believe, I do think it’s absolutely important that you really question and challenge those beliefs, instead of following along in blind faith. Much better to refine your beliefs through trying different things, or talking with people who believe otherwise. If you still believe after that, it’ll be stronger. And if you don’t, at least you won’t be following something your heart isn’t really in.

  19. says

    Well, I cant say I agree with anything you have written here… as a matter of fact I think the opposite.  But thank you for taking the time to share your perspective!  I hope that one day you will find that the Lord, our God, is the One true Savior, and accept Him into your life.

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