It is an amazing thing that there are so many people who entertain the notion that conversion to Christ involves merely a warm feeling of trust in Jesus — without any real reformation of lifestyle from evil to good. It must be a comforting dogma, but it is without scriptural substance.
The Thessalonicans are a case in point. When confronted with the gospel of the Son of God, they had become convinced that the idols, which they had served all their lives, were inoperative (dead) and false; accordingly, they “turned away from” (epistrophe) those false deities to (toward) serve a living God who was genuine. They could not serve Jehovah and continue to cleave to their heathen idols. The key word, of course, for this process is conversion.
When Paul, Barnabas, and certain other brethren left Antioch, headed for Jerusalem to settle the issue of the relationship of the law of Moses to the gospel, they passed through Phoenicia and Samaria, and along the way, they declared the “conversion” (epistrophe) that had been wrought among the Gentiles (Acts 15:3).
A comparison of these two passages provides an excellent commentary on what conversion is: it is turning away from wrong to God. It is belief and action. Underline “turned to God from idols” and note: Conversion; see Acts 15:3. Make sure the word “conversion” is marked in Acts 15:3, and cross-referenced with this passage.