25At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. 26Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure. 27“All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:25-30)
I was reading about this passage this morning in The Gospel According to Jesus by John F. MacArthur, Jr. In that book MacArthur describes this passage as containing five essential elements of genuine conversion. One question that gets highly disputed is how you can tell if someone is a true believer or not. It is an argument that I don’t have an answer to, but I do know that there are people who wear the name of Christian who show very, very different witnesses. I see Christ as a radical, unwavering, deeply committed, grace-filled, incredibly loving, just, and fair savior. To follow him and adopt a character like his means we need to become like that. That is one of my deepest prayers right now that I would be developing a heart, character, and life like that of Christ. To love, care, serve, challenge, speak truth, etc. with that conviction would result in huge changes in my life. I am looking forward to it!
These are the essential elements of genuine conversion MacArthur names. I will have to wrestle through whether I think these are required for conversion, but I do agree they should be a part of living a life of following Christ.
- Humility (v25) – Become dependent like a child.
- Revelation (v27) – Christ reveals God to us, and we won’t see until he draws us to him.
- Repentance (v28) – Come to me…the call is to those who are at the end of themselves, ready to let go and turn around toward God in repentance and desiring a changed life
- Faith (28-29) – Faith is directly tied to repentance because we turn from our sin and to God. We must believe in him and that he can overcome our sin or repentance has no value.
- Submission (v29) – The yoke is a tool that was used to lead animals in submission. It is a symbol to us to call forward a surrender and submission, and to learn from Christ. We can only learn with an open heart.