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Answers for a Young Convert

A new convert to the Christian faith wonders how to fulfill his duty to God. An older and seasoned follower says,

“Love God with all of your heart and then love your neighbor as yourself. Do these things, and you will fulfill your obligation to God.”

Another seasoned Christian joins the conversation saying, “Yes, focus on loving God and others, but only as a way of believing in Christ. Follow and imitate him. Do that and you will fulfill your obligation to God.”

Still one more older Christian adds, “Follow Christ. But don’t just think generally. Think specifically. Be loving. Be joyful. Be at peace with one another. Be patient. Be kind. Be good. Be faithful. Be gentle. Be self-controlled. Do that and you will fulfill your obligation to God.”

Feeling somewhat overwhelmed, the young convert replies, “I’m still confused. The one who led me to Christ gave me a Bible and told me to find out what God has done for me.”

What do you think? Did anyone give the new believer wise counsel?

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23 Responses to “Answers for a Young Convert”

  1. tallmark says:

    The older christians perhaps should consider showing the new believer what love is by studying with him and teaching her. Our actions speak so loudly they cannot hear our words. Teach the believer to find the joy that comes from a relationship with Jesus which comes from studying his word and his life, from fellowship, service and worship. Each older christian should look at the list they gave and apply it to a relationship with the new believer. We must stand as examples. Instead of just saying here it is, we should bring the new believer along side of us and help them grow in their faith by building them up and equiping them for service.
    Thanks for offering me a chance to think about these things Mart.

  2. Hephzibah610 says:

    Yes, and no….There is truth in those things that we should do: Love God, love others, imitating Christ, being joyful and loving, etc. But he should start with knowing how much God has done for him…because in that he will find Christ…and as the knowledge of the love of God grows in his heart..it will overflow into loving God and others. In knowing God… The focus must always begin with God.

  3. Gale L. Jarvis says:

    Good Morning everyone, Mart, Good advice, but i believe learning how to love must be taught, by my example to a babe in Christ, that i have also learned from the Holy Spirit by asking the Holy Spirit to teach me, true love is not a natural action.
    True love is shown to others in many ways, that is why things such as this blog, and other ways of fellowship are so important whereby we can learn from one another how to love others as the Holy Spirit guides us.
    The Holy Spirit began teaching me to do little things for others, never desiring any thing in return, just desiring for the other person to know it was God doing for them through me.
    There are many gifts God gives freely that any one can take a hold of and can run with, the gift of giving is one such gift, and for me this has been a gift for a new babe in Christ to learn early in life, it is absolutely not a natural thing to do, but God rewards the person that will take hold of this gift in a way they will desire to give more, not money, but time for that new babe, or what ever i see another person in need of, help this new babe by example, they love to talk about the Lord, and have a desire to learn, spend time with them, help them to know at an early age, you can never out give God with any thing.
    Luke 6:38, Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
    Teach them how to live by FAITH, take a thought from God and stake your life on it.

  4. Mart De Haan says:

    Good comments!!
    We’re on the same page. Here’s what I’m thinking. Seems to me that, in the hypothetical set-up above, the one who led the convert to Christ and said, “take this Bible and find out what God has done for you, has given better advice than those who gave him “the rules”.

    I think that if a spiritual doctor were to listen to the heart of a healthy follower of Christ– this is what he would hear…

    We love him because he first loved us.
    We give because we have received.
    We seek peace because God has reconciled us to himself.
    We experience joy because of what God has done for us.
    We love our neighbor because God has loved us.
    We don’t want to worry because God has asked us to rest in him.
    We work because God has given us work to do.
    We believe God because we know he has spoken…
    We trust God because he has shown himself trustworthy
    We give ourselves to God when we realize he has given himself to us…

    Isn’t anything short of this just another form of legalism or “principle-ism”?

  5. desert rose says:

    Obligation? God’s gift of salvation is just that a “gift.” Appreciation, thankfulness, giving is what comes to my mind. When I first read the blog, I wondered why someone did not respond as Mart did. I figured using the word obligation was a trick question.

    I am familiar with legalism and one should avoid that with a ten foot pole. We are saved by grace and we live by grace.

    For a new believer, I would seek God’s help and supply the new believer with scriptures similar to those Mart left along with some such as Isaiah 41:10, scripture that would state God would never leave us nor forsake us. Along with that I would give the new believer a Bible Promise book which has verses under specific topics. Most of all I would befriend the new convert and make sure they received encouragement and a listening ear.

    Most of all I would listen to the Holy Spirit’s leading.

  6. silvervknight says:

    I have been a Christian for almost 4 years now. And due to the blessing of the Spirit of God, the college ministry that brought me to Christ has been bringing many college students to know Christ for the first time in their lives. Many of them attend my church now. This is a desperately needed answer for my church. Being 4 years old in Christ, I’m considered one of the more mature Christian … our church is very young. And because it is a Korean-American Church, there is a huge gap between the adult generation and the college generation.

    Out of all the answers, tallmark presented the one I desired the most: an older mentor who can demonstrates the love and life of Christ through his own life. Many of the suggestions from supplying Scripture verses to learning to focus on God are good. I found the Holy Spirit teaching them to me as I grew in love and passion for Christ. But having someone there is even better. I need and want discipleship. And I highly suspect that to be the case for many of the new believers in my congregation as well. Please lift up a prayer for my church located in Koreatown, LA as you read this comment. Thank you guys so much!

  7. Niivam says:

    Though all the advices given by these older christians are good, I believe the best answer to this new bliever is to read the Bible especially the new testment and prayerfully ask the holy spirit who is now dwelling in him for understanding as he reads. A new believer is to read the Bible for himself, find out what his salvation in Jesus is all about and who he has become now that he is in Jesus, and how to live in his new life “in Jesus”. This should be the first step then through the word, he will begin to cultivate and know the others.

  8. poohpity says:

    I believe reading the Bible, the whole Bible, because without this knowledge one is unable to discern what is being taught from others. It is really easy to take out of context scripture and applying to whatever one teaches. The Bible is a whole book of revelation of God and how he works although no book can contain the fullness of God. It seems that there are many Christians whom have never read the word of God. It is something that can not be read once because it is an on going revelation that we have for daily communion with God. The Bible is the living word so one needs to experience it and God will reveal Himself more every time the pages are opened through the Holy Spirit.

  9. hal.fshr says:

    The new believer needs to realize that growing in relationship with Christ is tied to the Word, prayer and the Holy Spirit.

    Taking the new believer to Christ’s example of meeting with His Father through prayer would be helpful. “Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed” (Mark 1:35).
    Also, it would be good for them to know how to deal with personal sin. Confessing sin to God and asking for cleansing can help redirect us back to God. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
    It’s also important to yield to the Holy Spirit to live the Christian life. “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). These seem to be some important spiritual disciplines to put before a new believer in Christ.

  10. wpleasant says:

    “For there is one God and one Mediator”…. (i.e. go-between)… “between God and men”, (i.e. mankind), “the Man Christ Jesus. Who gave Himself a ransom for all to be testified in due time”. (1 Timothy 2:5-6 NKJV.) I have found that scripture very comforting and reassuring, and it is critical for a new christian to begin to understand the significance of a personal relationship with God the Father, through His Son Jesus Christ, by the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit. There are many good practices recommended on this blog, but we love God through obedience to Him, we obey Him through hearing Him, trusting Him, and then doing what He says. EVERY person in the Bible who The Bible indicates as pleasing God had to do this. We hear Him through his word or manifestations of His word in our lives. Now those are very high minded suggestions and true enough, but when we are trying to decide what is God’s will in our daily lives it is sometimes not as easy to know for certain. We usually confirm His will and our fulfillment of it, not just when things go well by our yard stick…(sometimes things in our process of obedience won’t go well at all by our standards), but rather by the standards of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Christ in you is the fruit. Always will be. A lot of people may fulfill duties and do “good” things, but they are not necessarily God things. You’ll know when that fruit has benefited those God intended it to benefit through you. God will tell you. A few suggestions I would highly recommend are to know and understand that time with God, one on one, (the daily devotional(preferably in depth), fellowship with other believers, and most of all a readiness to confess, surrender, and receive His forgiveness when we recognize we haven’t “fulfilled our duty”, is so important for every Christian. You have an enemy. He is relentless in trying to guilt you into not trying to fulfill anything God wants because of our failures. This is particularly true in an internet multi-media world where so many false teachings are present. Christ died for all your sins. He lives and advocates on your behalf today. Just like a seed grows to be a tree, your growth as a Christian is dependent on time, nourishment, and Gods power received by you. Your salvation is sealed. You cannot “fulfill” God’s grace. He knows you are flawed and because of the blood of His Son He sees and loves you unconditionally as His child. You must accept His grace and mercy. It comes from Him for His glory. Thank Him for it each day.

  11. daisymarygoldr says:

    The simple answer to this simple question would be for the young convert to take the Bible that was given to him and start to read and read and read till he can read no more…at this point the word of God should have become a part of his brain and heart. The Bible is THE KEY and has the answer to every question under the sun. Then there will be no room for confusion:) It is so cool to have the Bible available in every practical language for every one to read for themselves and know the TRUTH!
    Every individual (young convert or seasoned Christian; babes or mature in Christ; little children or grown ups) must verify the teaching of the Word of God. He will then learn to correctly handle the word of truth himself by his own personal study in order to verify the accuracy of what he has been taught (Acts 17:11). The Holy Spirit (John 14:26) indwells every believer to teach him all things that pertains to God and that includes ‘how to fulfill his duty to God’ (don’t know what that means?)
    Good for you silverknight, that you are able to express the need to be discipled. I’m sure God will provide you all with a good teaching Pastor to feed you at your church (you are being prayed for…) but be prepared for the disappointments that may come along with it. There will be many voices buzzing around- Pastors, teachers, parents, mentors, fellow Christians…you name it. One must apply God’s wisdom and learn to discern and follow the ONE voice that really matters- the voice of the Good Shepherd who is the only way, the truth and Life!

  12. sjd says:

    One comes to a relationship in Jesus Christ through faith. (Ephesians 2:8-9) One continues to live this new life by faith. (Galatians 2:20) Without faith it is impossible to please God. (Hebrews 1:3)
    As some have mentioned above, or I think implied, learning to live by faith is critical. Nothing that we can do makes us deserving of salvation (all our righteousness is as filthy rags) and there is nothing we do in our own power as believers that is worthwhile. We must encourage the new convert that our performance or legalism is worthless. It is only as he learns to sit at the feet of Jesus, to learn how to abide in Jesus as Jesus abides in him, that he will grow and be transformed by the renewing of his mind, as he feeds on the Word.
    Romans 5:10 (NASB95)
    10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

    Help the new believer understand that the fullness of God, the Spirit of Christ, Life itself, resides within him. Walk by faith, being available to whatever the Spirit shows him, realizing that it is Jesus living in an available “living sacrifice” that will do it through him.

  13. Mart De Haan says:

    That’s good. New converts, and those of us who have been around for awhile, need to know that spiritual growth, like salvation, can only be accepted by faith in what God wants to do for us. Reminds me of what the Apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians. In the third chapter of his letter he says, “Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by keeping the law? Of course not, for the Holy Spirit came upon you only after you believed the message you heard about Christ. Have you lost your senses? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?” (Gal 3:2-3).

  14. Mohsen says:

    Well, I have recently converted to Christianity. although I still got some question, but positive there are a lot of answers to my question.
    Well, talk about this later…
    So, I use to be Muslim, and then converted to Atheist!!!

    I was thinking that each religion is living in their bubble of delusion, and that religion is completely imaginary like fairy tales, and now I have found the right path…

    I have known that there is LOVING GOD. Who loves us and has created us…
    And there is only one path, which is through the holy spirits…

    This was my first pray: “Lord Jesus Christ,
    I am sorry for the things I have done wrong in my life. I ask your forgiveness and now turn from everything which I know is wrong. Thank you for dying on the cross for me to set me free from my sins. Please come into my life and fill me with your Holy Spirit and be with me forever. Thank you Lord Jesus, Amen.”
    Please pray for me

  15. Mart De Haan says:

    Mohsen, I am so pleased to learn of your decision to put your trust in our Lord Jesus Christ. I’m sure the friends of this blog will be happy to learn of your decision, and I hope that this will be one of the communities of faith that will provide encouragement and insight to you along the way.

  16. daisymarygoldr says:

    Mohsen! I am soooooo happy that you were able to sense and respond to the love of the one who created and gave His life for you!! Know this that there is great rejoicing going on in heaven celebrating your new identity in Christ. God knew you even before you said that simple prayer of faith and has great plans for you. The cool thing is that He made these plans for you even before you were formed in your mother’s womb. Just continue to put your trust in Him and enjoy this loving relationship with your Heavenly father. Praying for you…

  17. Mohsen says:

    Good morning.
    Would anybody please answer my question?
    I left Islam because of the brutality that written in Quran for example killing the enemy in brutal way…
    I’ve found some verses in Holy bible and really confused I don’t know what they mean exactly…

    Exodus 35:2 God demands that we kill everyone who works on the Sabbath day.
    Deuteronomy 21:18-21 God demands that we kill disobedient teenager.
    Leviticus 20:13 – God demands the death of homosexuals.
    Deuteronomy 22:13-21 – God demands that we kill girls who are not virgins when they marry..

    Ezekiel 9
    5 As I listened, he said to the others follow him through the city and kill. 6 Slaughter old men, young men and maidens, women and children, but do not touch anyone who has the mark, Begin at my sanctuary. So they began with the elders who were in front of the temple…!!!!

    Impatiently waiting for your reply…

  18. Mart De Haan says:

    We have a booklet about those difficult passages in the Jewish Old Testament. You can find a PDF of the booklet on line at this link.

  19. daisymarygoldr says:

    I’m sure the booklet will be a huge help towards sorting out your confusion.
    The verses you have referred to is about the ‘Law’ given in the Old Testament. In the New Testament we do not have the law, yet by nature we do things required by the law, our ‘hearts and consciences’ accusing us of every wrong deed and thought (Romans 2:14-15). The purpose of this is to point out our sinful nature- our ‘enemy’ and to show us how desperately we need God’s mercy. The wages of sin is ‘brutal’ death but the gift of God is eternal Life. The law of God was canceled by the Grace of God at the CROSS where Christ fulfilled all its requirements by taking all the ‘brutality’ of all our sins. Today, we are not under the law but by putting our faith in Jesus we freely enjoy the gift of eternal life which God desires for each one of us.

    “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the ‘LAW OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE’ set me free from the ‘LAW OF SIN AND DEATH’. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit”. (Romans 8:1-4)
    Hope this helped…

  20. LisaG says:

    Hello friends,

    Definately, the one who had led this young one to Christ had given him the greatest advice! When a person understands what a great price was paid…and through the reading of the Word and seeing just what God has done for us and is still doing…Well, the christian life will come naturally!

    Love, Agape Style

  21. Hephzibah610 says:

    Mart, I appreciate your comments:

    ” I think that if a spiritual doctor were to listen to the heart of a healthy follower of Christ– this is what he would hear…

    We love him because he first loved us.
    We give because we have received.
    We seek peace because God has reconciled us to himself.
    We experience joy because of what God has done for us.
    We love our neighbor because God has loved us.
    We don’t want to worry because God has asked us to rest in him.
    We work because God has given us work to do.
    We believe God because we know he has spoken…
    We trust God because he has shown himself trustworthy
    We give ourselves to God when we realize he has given himself to us…

    Isn’t anything short of this just another form of legalism or “principle-ism”?”
    So true…everything begins with God. How often we forget that fact that all we are and all we do as Christians should be centered in Him and what He has done for us. He said apart from Him we can do nothing…and that is absolutely true. There is nothing of eternal value that we can do apart from Him…He is our Source.

    I have often heard people in the church warning one another that we need to return to our ‘first love’…as I pondered what that means I came to realize that what first caused me to have a passion for the things of God was the realization of how much He loves me! It is His love that inspires my passion for His work on the earth, and the greater that revelation grows, the more I am willing to lay down my life for others.

    I am growing in the experience of that revelation….and by His grace I will get where I need to go!

  22. Hephzibah610 says:

    Brother Mohsen,
    Welcome! We all still have questions (even those who have followed for many years). What is wonderful about our LORD is that He delights in those who are seeking Truth! Keep seeking….you will find it!

    I believe that the law of the Old Testament came to show us how we were unable to be perfect…unable to fulfill the law. It was an example to us of how desperately we needed the mercy of God…and the mercy has come to us in His Son…who paid the price we were unable to pay..through His death on the cross.

    I agree with you it can be confusing to see what looks like vengence and violence until we begin to understand that the God who is holy and demands perfection from us is the same God who in mercy provided the solution to that demand (of perfection). In Christ we are made perfect…complete…righteous.

    You are in my prayers this day…keep seeking Truth!

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