To affirm true conversion implies that there is also false conversion. Put simply, there is such a thing as non-saving faith. Not everyone who says, “Lord, Lord” has entered the narrow gate (Matt. 7:21). People may know the truth and may have felt grief regarding their sin, but it is a selfish sorrow over what their sin has caused them to suffer, not how it has offended a holy God. The most stark example of a false conversion we have in Scripture is that of Judas Iscariot. In a counterfeit conversion, there is no death to self, no submission to the lordship of Christ, no taking up a cross, no obedience in following Christ, no fruit of repentance–only empty words, shallow feelings, and barren religious activities. On the contrary, with a true conversion sin is abhorred, the world renounced, pride crushed, self surrendered, faith exercised, Christ seen as precious, and the cross embraced as one’s only saving hope. more
Actually, one of the most dangerous things we can do as Christians is to determine our theology by our experience, because no one’s experience is normative for the Christian life. We have to determine our theology from the Word of God, not from what we feel. Not only that, we are open to misunderstanding and misinterpreting the meaning and significance of the experiences we go through. That’s why we are called to check our experiences against Scripture, so that we define our faith by what Scripture says, not by what we feel or what we experience. If we rest our assurance on experience and not on the Word of God, we’re inviting all kinds of doubts to assail us in our pilgrimages. We need to seek authentic knowledge of our salvation, not just some warm and fuzzy experience.