Different and the Same

The conversion story of every believer in Jesus Christ is unique.  A child may come to Christ in the formative years while an adult may be born again in the latter years.  Every story will be enhanced by humility and gratitude as one grows in the faith.  A beautiful trio of stories in Acts 8, 9 and 10 gives us some coherent and connected insight in reference to this.  An unnamed Ethiopian has made a long religious pilgrimage to Jerusalem to seek God, and is returning home.  A zealot named Saul becomes a terrorist and is aggressively seeking out Christ followers in order to kill them.  A Roman centurion named Cornelius is leading a life of integrity and sees a vision.  Conversion may be spontaneous or progressive, but the salvation story of every believer is different.

While certain aspects of conversion are different, in essence they are all the same.  Every salvation/conversion story is initiated by a sovereign God.  All are depraved, dead, and unable to respond, and He draws us to Himself in the person of Jesus Christ.  The first evidence of this is some form of intentionality in seeking the truth, even though human seeking may be misguided.  This is where God uses human instrumentality to come along side: Philip engages the Ethiopian, Ananias encourages Saul, and Peter enlightens Cornelius.  Every salvation/conversion story includes continued instruction which leads to the obedience and the growth of the one converted.  Each story is an individual one. Each person must respond to the grace of God.  No one can do it for them, and no one is saved by being born into a Christian family or by being a part of a Christian entity.  Finally, every salvation/conversion story will broaden in influence.  The Ethiopian returned to his country and was involved in the government.  Cornelius affected his entire family and the men he led in the Roman cohort.  And Saul/Paul, apostle and missionary, changed the world.