The Meaning of Conversion

Jay Forrest

"Conversion is conversion from a self-centered person to a God-centered person." - E. Stanley Jones
Conversion is not optional. Jesus was clear, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3 NKJV). The Apostle Peter said the same thing, “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19 NKJV).

Conversion means to turn around. We can illustrate it by imagining a person heading in one direction and then turning around and heading in a completely different direction. That is conversion. Repentance is changing your mind, conversion is changing your direction in life.

And this is what E. Stanley Jones is pointing to. Before conversion, everyone is self-centered. They are living their life on their own terms, they are doing what they want when they want. They are lord of their lives.

Conversion is turning from selfishness and surrendering to God. Now you are living your life on God’s terms, doing what God wants when God wants it done. You become a God-centered person. God is now the Lord of your life. That is what conversion is.

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Jay Forrest is a Christian teacher of the mystic way of union with God as revealed by scripture and tradition. He is a member of the Episcopal Church and the author of The Deeper Life: Finding God on the Mystic Path.

Scripture Quotations

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition. Copyright © 2021 National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scriptures marked NASB are taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman Foundation. All rights reserved.

Scriptures marked NIV are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scriptures marked NKJV are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.