Session 12 - Faith, Repentance Conversion, Conviction Notes

Terms Describing the New Life


 Meaning: Pistij, from the root, piq (bind), means a confident trust or belief. Also πιστός an adjective normally meaning trustworthy or faithful. The verb (πιστεύω) form means to believe. The various forms of the term all have the idea of trust, believe, persuade, or genuine.

 Key Uses – the noun appears 243x in NT, the adjective 67x, and the verb 143x.

  How important is faith? 

 Romans 1:17 For in it athe righteousness of God is revealed 1from faith to faith; as it is written, "2bBUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH."

Romans 3:28 1For awe maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works 2of the Law.

Romans 10:9 1that aif you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and bbelieve in your heart that cGod raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, 1resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, 2resulting in salvation.

Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who acomes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

 Where did faith come from? 

2 Peter 1:1 1Simon Peter, a abond-servant and bapostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received ca faith of the same 2kind as ours, 3by dthe righteousness of eour God and Savior, Jesus Christ:

Philippians 1:29 For to you ait has been granted for Christ's sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to bsuffer for His sake,

Ephesians 2:8 For aby grace you have been saved bthrough faith; and 1that not of yourselves, it is cthe gift of God; 9 anot as a result of works, so that bno one may boast.

Note previous discussion - what is the gift of God? Pronoun must agree with antecedent in gender and number (not in case as with adjective and noun agreement Machen 35, 37). Problem: grace is feminine singular; faith is feminine singular; “that” is neuter singular; gift is neuter singular. See diagram.

 What role does faith play in salvation? 

Faith is always tied to the Godhead and the Gospel

The foundation of faith – upon Jesus Christ Acts 11:17

The extent of faith – into God John 12:44

The location of faith – in the Gospel Mark 1:15

The position of faith – on the basis of Him 1 Peter 2:6

The compass of faith – with reference to God Acts 17:34

Faith is a display of God’s power  

 Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

Faith is a requirement for salvation

 Acts 16:30 and after he brought them out, he said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" 31 They said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household."

Faith follows God’s appointment

Acts 13:48 When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.


 Problem: How can a depraved person who is the enemy of God embrace Christ in faith? Answer: He can’t.

John 6:44 "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me adraws him; and I will braise him up on the last day. 65 And He was saying, "For this reason I have asaid to you, that no one can come to Me unless bit has been granted him from the Father."

Romans 8:8 and those who are ain the flesh cannot please God.

When God effectually calls a person to salvation he enables him to freely embrace Christ in faith. He does this by regenerating him; He makes him alive by turning him into a new creature.

Ezekiel 36:25 "Then I will asprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your bfilthiness and from all your cidols. 26 "Moreover, I will give you a anew heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the bheart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 "I will aput My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.

Humans are wholly dependent on Divine volition in order for regeneration to take place. We are completely passive in regeneration.

John 3:5 Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of awater and the Spirit he cannot enter into bthe kingdom of God. 6 "aThat which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 "Do not be amazed that I said to you, 'You must be born 1again.' 8 "aThe wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit."

John 1:13 awho were 1born, not of 2blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

Therefore, faith is the product or effect of regeneration. We are not born again because of faith or repentance; we repent or believe because we have been regenerated. God regenerates; we believe. It is impossible for one whom God has regenerated to not believe.

It may be impossible to distinguish between faith and regeneration chronologically. However logically faith follows regeneration.

Summary: Faith is confident belief or trust. Only genuine faith plus nothing results in eternal life. Hebrews 11:8



 Meaning: The noun μετάνοια normally viewed as a change of mind, is built from the root no meaning mind, think, or perceive plus the preposition meta meaning with, in the middle of, or after. Hence, repentance is after knowledge. On the basis of this after knowledge, a change of mind or opinion is assumed. And, to repent (verb Metanoewis to think again.

Key Uses: The noun and verb form occur 46x in the New Testament. The related term metamelomai, to (an after care) regret occurs 4x.

Repentance and belief:

Mark 1:15 and saying, "aThe time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God 1is at hand; brepent and 2believe in the gospel."

One could argue that repentance = believing (two terms are imperatives connected by kai. Yet these two terms are clearly distinct. However, it is normally difficult to determine a difference in actual chronological outworking.

Repentance and fruit:

Acts 26:20 but kept declaring both ato those of Damascus first, and also bat Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even cto the Gentiles, that they should drepent and turn to God, performing deeds eappropriate to repentance.

Both the noun and verb used in this verse. The main verb is the imperfect indicative “kept declaring.” The content of the declaration is “repent and turn” (the word for conversion; see also Acts 3:19). Repent and convert are almost synonymous in light of v 18. So, genuine repentance is coupled with a turning to God. Furthermore, whenever anyone professes repentance, it is always appropriate to look for evidences that the repentance is genuine by examining his/her life. No fruit, no fruit tree.

Kinds of Repentance:

2 Corinthians 7:10 For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a arepentance 1without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.

This is a fascinating use of words – godly sorrow (lu,ph) results in genuine repentance (meta,noian – after knowledge). with no regret (avmetame,lhton – after care). In other words, repentance need not be a highly emotional experience! And, people can have a ungodly repentance. And “regret” itself doesn’t necessarily indicate the presence of repentance.

Content of Repentance:

2 Peter 3:9 aThe Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but bis patient toward you, cnot wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

Normally, the assumed content of repentance is about sin and God. Here, however, the context may tell us what men are expected to change their minds about. What is his promise? Note the second coming context vs) and the uniformitarian error vs4). This is likely what believers (v 1, 4, 8) are expected to change their mind about.


Repentance is the point in a person’s life when he changes his mind, purpose, or opinion for the better. However, this abhorrence for the past life is coupled with an intent to and actual change to better conduct. So, the progression might be as follows: 1) an after thought 2) resulting in a change of mind 3) sometimes a regret for previous opinions or conduct and 4) change in conduct.

When does this repentance take place? Repentance is something that a person does; it is therefore not a prerequisite to the new birth. Rather it is a change of mind subsequent to the new birth. It may be primarily related to life activity and is a requisite to fruit bearing.

However, repentance is used overwhelmingly in appeals to the unregenerate.

John the Baptist: Matthew 3:2 "aRepent, for bthe kingdom of heaven 1is at hand."

Jesus: Matthew 4:17 aFrom that time Jesus began to 1preach and say, "bRepent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Luke 13:3 "I tell you, no, but unless you 1repent, you will all likewise perish.

Peter: Acts 3:19 "Therefore arepent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that btimes of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

Thus, men are expected to repent so that they can be saved. However, they can not repent unless they are regenerated. And if they do repent, there will be tangibles evidences of repentance found in their life.

Summary: Repentance is a change of mind. Genuine repentance results in tangible evidences. Acts 26:20


 Meaning: The vivid term epistrefw means to turn about. It is built from the root tref meaning torque or turn plus the preposition epi meaning upon. Therefore, conversion means to turn around or to go in the opposite direction. (The noun form is ἐπιστροφή).

 Use: Most of the 36 uses are non-salvation. However, note the following:

 Conversion and repentance:

Acts 3:19 "Therefore arepent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that btimes of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

A call to salvation; closely connected to repentance (both imperatives).

Conversion and belief:

Acts 11:21 And athe hand of the Lord was with them, and ba large number who believed turned to the Lord.

Belief occurs first – aorist participle (believed) with aorist indicative (turned).

Acts 15:3 Therefore, being asent on their way by the church, they were passing through both bPhoenicia and Samaria, cdescribing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and were bringing great joy to all dthe brethren.19 "Therefore it is amy judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles,

In context this conversion is almost equivalent to the new birth. Verse is the only occurrence of “conversion” in the noun form.

Conversion and repentance:

Acts 26:20 but kept declaring both ato those of Damascus first, and also bat Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even cto the Gentiles, that they should drepent and turn to God, performing deeds eappropriate to repentance. {see comments under repentance}

Conversion and service- are the following passage referring to salvation or service; to believers or non-believers?

1 Thessalonians 1:9 For they themselves report about us what kind of a 1areception we had 2with you, and how you bturned to God cfrom 3idols to serve 4da living and true God,

1 Peter 2:25 For you were acontinually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the bShepherd and 1Guardian of your souls.

James 5:19 My brethren, aif any among you strays from bthe truth and one turns him back, 20 let him know that 1he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will asave his soul from death and will bcover a multitude of sins.


Conversion is the act in a person’s life wherein he reverses his life’s activities or direction. It assumes a full turning about to pursue a better course morally. Positively it is a turning to not merely a turning from. It is a result of repentance. A change of mind and heart produce a change in behavior. Life is adjusted in view of the new birth.

Technically, conversion is subsequent to the new birth. However, the term is clearly also used as description of the new birth experience. Thus, clear chronological distinctions are difficult.

Summary: Conversion is a turning around. In concert with the new birth, people reverse direction. Acts 15:19



 Meaning: The verb, elegcw, simply to rebuke, persuade, prove, or expose. It is built on he root, le, meaning babble. Generally, it is showing someone that he has done something wrong and summoning him to repent based on adequate proof of such wrongdoing. The NAU translates “convict” 5x, “reprove” 4x, “expose” 3x, “refute” 2x, and also show faults, reprimand, and rebuke. Three nouns are derived from elegcw = elegmoj (a reproof in 2 Tim 3:16); elegxij (a rebuke in 2 Pet 2:16); elecoj, (proof in Heb 11:1).

Uses: There are 20 uses of verb and nouns in NT.

Conviction always deals with sin. The presence of genuine conviction means the presence of sin.

Conviction is primarily a Christian doctrine.

The Lord convicts believers

Hebrews 12:5 and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, "MY SON, DO NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD, NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM;

A pastor is to convict his people

2 Timothy 4:2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.

Believers are convicted by the Word

James 2:9 But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.

Believers are to convict one another

Matthew 18:15 "If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.

Conviction generally relates to the believer’s daily walk. When his sin is exposed, the expectation is that a person will amend his life in favor of the conviction.

Conviction is secondarily a non-Christian doctrine

The Holy Spirit convicts non- believers

John 16:8 "And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment;

The Word convicts non-believers

1 Corinthians 14:24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an ungifted man enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all; 25 the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so he will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you.

The Lord or truth convicts non-believers

John 3:20 "For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.

Conviction of the unbeliever is normally not to be equated with the effectual call to salvation. However, the 1 Cor 14 passage indicates that this conviction may lead to salvation.

Summary: Conviction is being persuaded or rebuked. God shows people their sin and summons them to repent. John 16:8

© Copyright. Joseph Flatt. 2017. All rights reserved. May be used for educational purposes without written permission but with a citation to this source.

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