Conversion is a matter of regeneration. It is not “become a better person” or “try not to sin.” It is to be a new created person. It is to come from death to life. That is what a true convert—a true believer—is. We see this in 2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
To be converted—to be a true believer—is not simply to be nice but to be new. Romans 3:10 says, “None is righteous, no, not one.” We cannot only be nice; we need to be a new person—new in Jesus Christ. Jesus told Nicodemus that he had to be born again (John 3). Without being born again in Jesus, you cannot call yourself a convert or believer.
As I worked on a video lesson for the Imprint YouTube training channel, I came across six identification marks of a true convert from 1 John. These were helpful for me to work through.
Every true convert or believer will, first, have a real sense of sin (1 John 1:8–9). Without knowing our sin, we would not know that we need a Saviour: Jesus Christ.
Every true convert or believer will, second, love and obey the word of God (1 John 2:5–6). If we do not know we need the word of God, we will not be able to know God and know how we should walk with him.
Every true convert or believer will, third, love other believers (1 John 3:14; 4:20). We cannot love God, but hate his body, other believers. Otherwise, we hate him.
Every true convert or believer will, fourth, resist the world (1 John 2:15). The world deceives us into believing that we should go after worldly treasures. We need to resist the temptations it brings.
Every true convert or believer will, fifth, not love, but fight, their sin (1 John 3:9–10). We need to hate what God hates. Otherwise, we do not have his love.
Every true convert or believer will, sixth, confess Jesus as Lord in their life. He is in control of our lives (1 John 4:15; 5:1).
I pray these six identification marks will serve as a helpful reminder of what we should be as true converts. Let me know if you can find more identification marks in the Bible. We can meet up over coffee to discuss them.