I have increasingly come under the feeling that I am not fully converted yet. While I was thinking about this early this morning I was impressed with the thought that I cannot remember any instance in the Bible where someone was pressured to be converted, at least not by Jesus. He talked about it and described what it looks like, but I do not recall Him ever urging anyone to be converted.
This actually brings some peace for me, for I think Satan has been exploiting my awareness of this issue to discourage me recently. He has been taunting me and trying to convince me to worry about this, insinuating that God is going to remain aloof or distant from me until I am fully converted. Yet I have been reminded that Peter was told by Jesus just before Calvary that he was not yet converted, yet Peter was one of the closest companions of Jesus who had been entrusted with all sorts of privileges and responsibilities and supernatural gifts previous to this time. He, like all the other disciples, had been sent out with power from Jesus to heal, cast out demons, work miracles and proclaim the kingdom of heaven. Yet apparently all the while Peter was not yet fully converted. But this fact didn't seem to inhibit Jesus' relationship with Peter at all as far as I can tell.
The only exception that I see in these collected verses about conversion is when Peter responded to the question of the multitude on the day of Pentecost and told them they should be converted and have their sins forgiven. But even then the circumstances seem to indicate that Peter was not pressuring them but was simply explaining in response to their questions how they could do what they already seemed eager to do.
I decided to look up the word 'converted' and related forms of that word in the Bible to see how it is used. The following verses are the total number that showed up in the KJV, but interestingly when I converted them to the NRSV the word 'converted' did not show up even once. That revealed something even more interesting about this word. Here are the two lists of verses.
Ps 51:13 [Then] will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.
Isa 6:10 Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.
Isa 60:5 Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee.
Mt 13:15 For this people's heart is waxed gross, and [their] ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with [their] eyes, and hear with [their] ears, and should understand with [their] heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
Mt 18:3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Mr 4:12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and [their] sins should be forgiven them.
Lu 22:32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
Joh 12:40 He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with [their] eyes, nor understand with [their] heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.
Ac 3:19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;
Ac 15:3 And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren.
Ac 28:27 For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with [their] eyes, and hear with [their] ears, and understand with [their] heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
Jas 5:19 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;
Here are the same verses in the NRSV.
Ps 51:13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.
Isa 6:10 Make the mind of this people dull, and stop their ears, and shut their eyes, so that they may not look with their eyes, and listen with their ears, and comprehend with their minds, and turn and be healed."
Isa 60:5 Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and rejoice, because the abundance of the sea shall be brought to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you.
Mt 13:15 For this people's heart has grown dull, and their ears are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes; so that they might not look with their eyes, and listen with their ears, and understand with their heart and turn-- and I would heal them.'
Mt 18:3 and said, "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Mr 4:12 in order that 'they may indeed look, but not perceive, and may indeed listen, but not understand; so that they may not turn again and be forgiven.'"
Lu 22:32 but I have prayed for you that your own faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned back, strengthen your brothers."
Joh 12:40 "He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, so that they might not look with their eyes, and understand with their heart and turn-- and I would heal them."
Ac 3:19 Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out,
Ac 15:3 So they were sent on their way by the church, and as they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, they reported the conversion of the Gentiles, and brought great joy to all the believers.
Ac 28:27 For this people's heart has grown dull, and their ears are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes; so that they might not look with their eyes, and listen with their ears, and understand with their heart and turn-- and I would heal them.'
Jas 5:19 My brothers and sisters, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and is brought back by another...
I need more time to ponder this issue of conversion and what it means in my own relationship with Jesus and how He relates to me regarding this.