Okay, I’ll confess- like so many, I’ve gotten caught up in the Kanye West conversion story. I’ve watched the two hour interview, caught him on Jimmy Kimmel and downloaded his new joint, Jesus is King, listening to it non stop for the last few days. I even felt grieved when I heard the track, Hands On, “What have you been hearing from the Christians/They’ll be the first one to judge me/Make me feel like nobody love me”. I fear Kanye may have a point. I’ve caught a whiff of this myself as I’ve seen a host of “let’s just wait and see,” messages from the Christian community regarding West.
So what are we to make of his conversion? While none of us are in any position to say who is really saved or not, there are three things every Christ follower needs to be mindful of when thinking about conversion:
1. Every conversion is a miracle. Behind many of the responses to Kanye’s conversion lies a subtle to not so subtle question of, “Can this really be?” Even if you aren’t a Kanye fan, chances are you’ve been startled by some of his back in the day antics. In a genre known for its explicit braggadocio, Kanye stood out. His award show rants where he would interrupt someone else’s acceptance speech, miffed at why he didn’t win, to his borderline blasphemy in taking on the name Yesus, West was a paragon for sin and lawlesslness. And now he is taking every opportunity to proclaim Jesus Christ is Lord. But this is what conversions are supposed to do. Like any miracle, conversions shock us. In fact, for those of you who have gotten saved later on in life, if your conversion isn’t shocking then maybe it wasn’t a legitimate conversion.
2. Sanctification is a process. If indeed Kanye is a Christian, then he has been justified by faith (Romans 5:1). Justification is a one time act whereby God declares us righteous. God can do this because he has taken out his “cash app,” and with one push of the button, transferred the righteousness of Jesus Christ to our morally depleted accounts. So he calls us righteous not because of our goodness (we have none), but because of Christ. But while justification is a one time event, sanctification is a process where God is making us to be what he has already declared us to be. In this journey of sanctification we will have to make war with our flesh (Galatians 5:16-26). There will be some defeats, and many victories, thanks to the power of the Holy Spirit at work within us. While just about all of us have the luxury of “working out our salvation” (Philippians 2:12) in relative anonymity, Kanye will do so in front of the world. So of course he’s going to make some very publicized mistakes. When this happens let’s encourage our brother and not line up to stone him.
3. Take your own medicine. The whole “let’s just wait and see,” posture many Christ followers are using when it comes to Kanye, should likewise be used on ourselves. Salvation really is a mystery. Paul tells us to examine ourselves (I Corinthians 11:28), and Jesus says we will be recognized by our fruit (Matthew 7:16). C.S. Lewis once quipped that when we get to heaven we will be both surprised at who is there that we knew for sure would not be there; and who is not there we knew for sure would be there. Salvation is a mystery. So let’s not do to brother Kanye what we are not willing to do to ourselves.
This article originally appeared here.