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Conversion Joy

HEIDELBERG CATECHISM, LORD’S DAY 33

What is involved in genuine repentance or conversion?

Two things: the dying-away of the old self, and the coming-to-life of the new.

What is the dying-away of the old self?

It is to be genuinely sorry for sin, to hate it more and more, and to run away from it.

What is the coming-to-life of the new self?

It is wholehearted joy in God through Christ and a delight to do every kind of good as God wants us to.

What do we do that is good?

Only that which arises out of true faith, conforms to God’s law, and is done for his glory; and not that which is based on what we think is right or on established human tradition.

 

Conversion Joy

Friday, July 21: Philippians 1:3-6

My faith in Christ has been greatly enriched by a variety of people. Denny (age 86) & Jenny (age 84) are the happiest senior citizens I know. They consider it a great privilege to give one month a year teaching children in Kenya for the sake of the gospel. Salom is a Nepalese immigrant with a passion for gospel proclamation. A convert from Hinduism, he endured persecution and abandonment because of his faith in Jesus. “It is not too much to endure hardship for Christ,” he reminds me. Today, the community that rejected him now shares his faith in Christ. Julia is a friend who lives in Ukraine. The Spirit convicted her of sin, introduced her to Jesus, and changed her into an enthusiastic evangelist to reach a new generation for Christ that, she hopes, will begin to change the character of her country. What Denny, Jenny, Salom and Julia have in common is a life of daily conversion joy – a life of daily repentance for sin, renewed faith in God’s promises, and uncompromising delight in Christ and His ways. Which makes me wonder, do we embrace this same joy and partnership in the gospel of Jesus Christ? I sometimes feel that we – I will speak only of the Church and denomination I currently serve – have lost or are losing our central delight in the Lord. Why does a multi-ethnic presence stir anger? Why do we surrender broken marriages to secular therapy rather than to gospel discipleship? Why do we reduce mission to serving meals to the homeless rather than practice its Biblical and evangelistic emphasis of invitation to repentance and faith in Jesus? Why does a crowd express deep emotion about women in ministry, but find little time to engage the local Church’s global mission? Is it perhaps we have lost our gospel focus and need to rediscover the life of daily conversion? The life of daily conversion is a life of comfort, joy and delight, because it is a daily partnership in ever-flowing grace. Lord’s Day 33 leaves me with one communal question. From the youngest child to the most recently married couple to every senior citizen, is this the gospel life we really want? I hope we are all willing to learn from the examples of Denny, Jenny, Salom and Julia.

Pastor Calvin Hoogendoorn