How God Turns Hearts

1 Timothy 1.15

Sermon by Dr Peter Masters

Paul again speaks about his own conversion, showing how God has mercy even for enemies, and how the most unbelieving and hostile heart may be brought to seeking and faith. Here are the details of how cynical unbelief is dissolved, and reconciliation with God comes.

‘This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.’

The words of the apostle Paul and our subject it is how God turns hearts to himself. Now it must be little over a year since I took as a subject the conversion of the apostle Paul. Saul of Tarsus as he was, Paul as we know him. And I’d like to look at some aspects of this again this evening from a quite different point of view because there’s so much to challenge our hearts. And I look back to verse 13 first of all where the apostle Paul describes himself before conversion in these words, ‘who was before a blasphemer and a persecutor and injurious, but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.’

Conversion is a tremendous change, always. Conversion is a great change. It changes us in a number of ways. Conversion to Christ is a change in your status, a tremendous change in your status. One moment you are just a worldling, an earthling. You are not a citizen of the kingdom of heaven. You have no claim on God. You are rejected by him and under his condemnation. You are a rebel. You are a squatter in your body, a rebel against him. And then through conversion, you become his child. You become one of his family. You become a citizen, a subject of the kingdom of heaven. Your status is different. You have a new nationality given to you by God. What a change that is.

And then there’s another respect in which there’s a great change for you,  and that is concerning your future. As such a citizen of the kingdom of God, you are now bound for heaven. Before conversion, you were not bound for heaven. There was only condemnation ahead and being cast away from the presence of God and punished rather than eternal life. But now you have a right because God has given it to you. By mercy and grace,  you have a right to eternal life, and you’re going to glory to heaven, to the paradise of Christ with then a glorified resurrection of your body into the eternal glory prepared for all his people. But then there’s an obvious change in you right now. Conversion changes your character and your nature and your whole deportment and your way of life.