Conversion, The Holy Spirit, The Name
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CONVERSION, THE HOLY SPIRIT, THE NAME
The Bible teaches a rational plan of salvation. Do what Jesus and the apostles commanded and you will be saved. The Scriptures do not teach us to look for lights and signs and listen for strange voices, and expect to be picked up bodily. The religion of Jesus Christ is intended for all the people and is made so plain that all the people can understand it. Conversion is simply a change - yes, a change of the heart. The Bible says we think and reason with the heart; that is the intellect (Luke 9:47; Mark 2:8). The Bible says we love and hate with the heart; that is the affections (Matthew 6:19-21). We purpose with the heart; that is the will (II Corinthians 9:7). The Bible says the heart condemns and approves; that is the conscience (I John 3:20-21).
When a man therefore is converted, he is completely changed in intellect, in affections and will. He has done his duty and hence the heart or mind approves of what he has done and his conscience is at ease. Faith changes the way of thinking; repentance his will, and baptism his state; and all combined change his relation toward God, and make him a Christian. A man who hears the gospel, believes on Christ, repents of his sins, confesses Christ, and is baptized into Christ is a Christian. He has met Christ where Christ promised to meet him. He must then continue faithful unto death and he will receive a crown of life.
THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe in the personality of the Holy Spirit. He is not an emotion of sentiment, but a thinking intelligence. He can be grieved, rejected or resisted. He is the third person of the Godhead. In conversion, the Holy Spirit operates through the Word of God. He has told us what to do to be saved. God has ordained that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation.
The Bible teaches that the children of God should be known simply as Christians. Luke says: "The disciples were first called Christians in Antioch" (Acts 11:26).
Peter says: "But if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not feel ashamed, but in that name let him glorify God" (I Peter 4:16).
Pauls says that party names are wrong. (Read I Corinthians 1:12-13.) Martin Luther said, "Do not call yourselves Lutherans, but Christians." Wesley said: "I would to God all party names were forgotten." We desire to be called simply Christians, not the only Christians, but Christians only. This is the only name all believers can accept, and it is Scriptural.