“Conversion is no mere human decision. It is a human decision. But oh, so much more! Repentant faith (or believing repentance) is based on an awesome miracle performed by the sovereign God. It is the breath of a new creature in Christ.
Saving faith is no simple thing. It has many dimensions. “Believe on the Lord Jesus” is a massive command. It contains a hundred other things. Unless we see this, the array of conditions for salvation in the New Testament will be utterly perplexing. Consider the following partial list.
What must I do to be saved?
The answer in Acts 16:31 is, “Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.”
The answer in John 1:12 is that we must receive Christ: “To all who receive him…..he gave power to become children of God.”
The answer in Acts 3:19 is, “Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out.”
The answer in Hebrews 5:9 is obedience to Christ. Christ “became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him.” So also in John 3:36, “He who does not obey the Son shall not see life.”
Jesus himself answered the question in a variety of ways. For example, he said in Matthew 18:3 that childlikeness is the condition for salvation: “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never see the kingdom of heaven.”
In Mark 8:34-35 the condition is self-denial: “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.”
In Matthew 10:37 Jesus lays down the condition of loving him more than anyone else: “He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” The same thing is expressed in 1 Corinthians 16:22 – “If anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed.”
And in Luke 14:33 the condition for salvation is that we be free from the love of our possessions: “Whoever does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.”
These are just some of the conditions that the New Testament says we must meet in order to inherit final salvation. We must believe on Jesus and receive him and turn from our sin and obey him and humble ourselves like little children and love him more than we love our family, our possessions, or our own life. That is what it means to be converted to Christ. This alone is the way of life everlasting.”
Copied from pages 65-66 of John Piper’s classic book, Desiring God.