BY PR ISAAC CHANG
On the night that I heard the gospel of the kingdom preached by a stranger at a party, I found my answer to the quest for life after death. I also found peace and assurance. There I said the sinner’s prayer and accepted Christ. After leaving that session with no fear of death anymore, the newfound brothers came to visit me and did a lesson on repentance and salvation. They told me that in my conversion journey I must turn to Jesus and repent of my sins. “Repent” was a new word to me. My English was pretty bad and I didn’t even know what it meant. That night, I understood that “repent” means a change of mind. Today, I looked up the Greek dictionary of “repent” and found that the meaning is true.
Some people’s conversion stories do not have a drastic experience especially those who come from Christian family backgrounds. But the fact that they are still coming to worship the Lord, there should be some personal experiences. So, I analysed my conversion story in parts to understand how I came through.
First, I heard the Word of God from a man whom I didn’t know. And the Word shared was all about Jesus and His kingdom. And If I believed Jesus, I would have eternal life and escape eternal death. I have sought the answer to life after death for many years, but this was the very first time I had a very clear answer. Secondly, my heart began to move. John Calvin termed this part as God is calling the unsaved. Thirdly, I placed my faith in the Saviour before saying the sinner’s prayer. Lastly, I surrendered and followed Christ when I let go of my past beliefs and said the prayer. When the visitation came on the next day together with the cycle of Word, call, faith, and change of mind (repent), my union with Christ grew deeper. I began to give up more of my old life and old self.
Stephen Smallman in What is True Conversion (p21) says, “Conversion is rightly defined as a turning to a new direction, and in that definition, repentance is understood as a turning from sin in order to turn to Christ.” Whether you come from a Christian or non-Christian family background, your personal experience of conversion should begin with the Word or the Gospel. As you carefully listen to God’s call and embrace that with your faith, your journey of change of mind and turning to God will be a journey of encountering God. I pray you could begin such a journey with a sincere heart. God bless.