Are You Saved but Not Converted?
The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. Psalm 19:7 NKJV
Often time Christians conflate salvation with conversion and salvation with the new birth. The New Testament clearly shows that there are scriptural distinctions. Salvation is not the new birth and the new birth is a more profound experience than salvation alone. Conversion is an experience as a result of salvation—not an automatic experience that happens simultaneously with salvation–not necessarily.
The word for conversion in the New Testament is epistrophe which means to turn about or around, i.e., turning from and turning to. For example, prior to Jesus’ arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane. The Apostle Peter, who was unquestionably a true disciple of Christ, was of the over-inflated opinion of his bravery and commitment to Jesus, and he told Him that he was ready to go to prison and even die for the Lord. “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” (Luke 22:31-32). Simon Peter believed (salvation) but he wasn’t converted.
Salvation is a decision to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ in your heart (John 3:16; Romans 10:9-11). But isn’t it plausible that one can be saved but unchanged. Notwithstanding their faith of salvation, they sometimes fail to live “unto righteousness” (1 Peter 2:24). Only the “engrafted Word” produces change that converts the believer (James 1:21-22). The law of the Lord (the Word of God) is perfect, converting the soul (Psalm 19:7).
What is true conversion? Conversion is an experience that occurs after repenting of sin and turning to Jesus Christ as both Savior and Lord (Acts 3:19-20). It is a conversion from the dominion of Satan and turning to the lordship of Jesus Christ (Romans 6:14). Beyond simple faith for eternal salvation, conversion is the believer changing and turning and becoming as little children in their new found humility (Matthew 18:3). Salvation is a progressive experience that can grow and mature into a true conversion. ; And, the new birth springs forth during this growth process like a light in darkness (John 3:3, 5). The path that leads to the new birth is conversion. So it is certainly possible to be saved but not converted. When you are converted strengthen your brother!