1. REPENTANCE AND  CONVERSION ARE TWINNED IN SCRIPTURES

I wrote last week about Jesus’ warning to the church of Thyatira to repent. AS I explored the meaning of repentance, I found two scriptures in which the doctrine of repentance was twinned with conversion. Epistrephō is the Greek word for used for convert. Its New Testament usage carries the  meaning of  reverting or turn to God:

Repent ye therefore, and be converted (epistrepho), that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord (Acts 3: 19).

But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn (epistrepho) to God, and do works meet for repentance (Acts 26: 20)

 

2. CONVERSION MEANS TO TURN AROUND FROM SIN AND TO SERVE GOD

Other New Testament scriptures in which epistrephō is used show that it also carries the meaning of:

  • turning about/around –   Matthew 9: 22; Mark 8: 33
  • returning – Matt 10: 13; Matt 12: 44; Matt 23: 18
  • turn back, return – Matthew 13: 16;  Luke 1: 16
  • turn to the Lord – Acts 9: 35, Acts 15: 19; 2 Cor 3 :16; 1 Thes 1: 9
  • turn to the truth of God – James 5: 19;
  • sinner converted from the error of his way  – James 5: 20
  • turn from darkness to light – Acts 26: 18

Jesus also referred to conversion in Matthew 13: 14 – 15:

And concerning them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says:

‘You will listen carefully yet will never understand,
you will look closely yet will never comprehend.

For the heart of this people has become dull;
they are hard of hearing,
and they have shut their eyes,
so that they would not see with their eyes
and hear with their ears
and understand with their hearts
and turn, (
epistrepho/be converted) and I would heal them.’

Jesus was actually quoting Isaiah 6: 10 in response to the disciples’ query about the reason why  He spoke to the people in parables:

Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and CONVERT, and be healed  (Isaiah 6: 10).


More in the upcoming post – Conversion in the Old Testament

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