Converted From and To
When we are converted, we are not converted to Christ alone. It was Martin Luther who very first spoke of 3 conversions: conversion of the heart, conversion of the thoughts, and conversion of the purse. He focused on what desires to be converted in man. It is also vital to contemplate what man is converted to. The gospel converts our hearts, minds, and income, but it also converts us to a thing. When we are converted, we are converted to Christ, to church, and to mission.
New Testament authors repeatedly use metaphors for the church that reveal a require for 3 conversions. Every of the 3 conversions is present in the 3 principal church metaphors of harvest, physique, and temple. These theological metaphors show us that the 3 conversions of the gospel are not 3 solutions, but 3 essentials that constitute biblical discipleship. Every conversion reflects an aspect of what it suggests to be a disciple. The relational aspect is present in conversion to neighborhood, and the missional aspect is present in conversion to mission. Let’s contemplate how the gospel converts us to Christ, to church, and to mission.
Jonathan K. Dodson
Seasoned discipler and church leader Jonathan Dodson addresses defective types of discipleship and presents a gospel-centered option.
When we are converted to Jesus, we are converted into his church. Jesus did not die on a bloody cross to collect a loose collection of souls bound for heaven, but to develop a new neighborhood as the proof of his gospel to the globe. The church is naturally a neighborhood of gospel-centered disciples. The difficulty, even so, is that we have a incredibly unnatural, distorted view of the gospel. When we believe of the gospel, we believe mainly of person conversion. On the contrary, the Bible ordinarily presents conversion as a communal phenomenon.
Take into consideration the biblical metaphor of the human physique. When we get Jesus Christ as Lord and Head (Col. two:six), we are instantly knit into his physique (Col. 1:18 two:two). The physique is knit with each other with the ligaments and sinews of adore and truth making a unified, complete physique (Eph. four Col. three). These who have been converted to Jesus are converted to his physique. They speak the truth in adore to 1 a further (Eph. four:15, 25), forgive and forbear with 1 a further (Col. three:13), and teach and admonish 1 a further in wisdom (Col. three:16). To reject our conversion to the church is to disobey the Head and distort his physique. We are not converted to a disembodied Head we are converted to an embodied Christ, which contains Head and physique. However, lots of of us have a disembodied Jesus, possibly a bobble-head Jesus, all Head and incredibly small physique. When we practice discipleship that focuses on Jesus as a disembodied Head, we distort his physique, and we distort his gospel. Jesus didn’t die and rise to rapture person disciples, but to make a neighborhood that reflects his glory via dependence on 1 a further. When we join Jesus, we join his family members and his mission. When Jesus Christ is Lord, he integrates disciples into a missional church family members.
Our Frequent Mission
Interestingly, when the church embraces the second conversion to neighborhood, incredibly typically the third conversion to mission follows. A Jesus-centered neighborhood is an eye-catching community—a neighborhood that encourages, forgives, serves, loves, and invites non-Christians into its neighborhood. The gospel reconciles folks to God and to 1 a further, building a single new neighborhood comprised of an array of cultures and languages to make 1 new humanity (Col. two:15). This new humanity reconciles its variations (Col. two:14–16) in the commonality of the gospel. It is each nearby and international. As the physique grows, a redeemed, multiethnic, intergenerational, economically and culturally diverse humanity emerges. When we act as the church toward 1 a further, we show the gracious, redemptive reign of Jesus to the globe. As Jesus’s redemptive reign breaks into this globe, the church grows into the complete stature of Christ.
When we are converted to Jesus, we are converted into his church.
In the New Testament, the word for “stature” is employed to refer to each physical (Luke two:52 19:three) and spiritual development (Eph. four:13). In Ephesians and Colossians, Paul makes use of this imagery to refer to the historic and progressive function of the gospel in reconciling folks to God and to 1 a further. In other words, the complete stature of Christ is the outcome of the gospel’s function inwardly amongst its members and outwardly in the harvest (Eph. two, four Col. two). It is the outcome of disciples who make disciples. Expanding into the complete stature of Christ is a missional development.1 The physique metaphor shows us that disciples of Christ are converted 3 times—to the Head, the physique, and the complete stature of Christ—to Christ, church, and mission. The family members grows inwardly and outwardly into the complete stature of Christ (Eph. four:13–14). Our development into the complete stature of Christ is a missional development.
- Despite the fact that I have created the “stature of Christ” biblically and theologically, I owe the initial insight to Andrew F. Walls, who writes: “The incredibly height of Christ’s complete stature is reached only by the coming with each other of the distinct cultural entities into the physique of Christ. Only ‘together’ not on our personal, can we attain his complete stature.” Andrew F. Walls, The Cross-Cultural Approach in Christian History: Research In the Transmission and Appropriation of Faith (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2002), 72–81.
This report is adapted from Gospel-Centered Discipleship by Jonathan K. Dodson.