Tag Archive | Conversion

What is True Conversion?

Steve Lawson:

6.3.1 (Road sign)Jesus said, “Unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:3). Jesus is clear that if a person of this world is to be accepted into this other kingdom—the kingdom of heaven—he must be converted. Put very simply, to be converted is absolutely necessary to enter the kingdom of God.

What does the word conversion mean? In the biblical sense, conversion means a turning—a spiritual turning away from sin in repentance and to Christ in faith. It is a dramatic turning away from one path in order to pursue an entirely new one. It involves turning one’s back to the system of the world and its anti-God values. It involves a turning away from dead religion and self-righteousness. It involves a complete pivot, an about-face, in order to enter through the narrow gate that leads to life.

Conversion also involves the idea of changing direction. A true spiritual conversion radically alters the direction of one’s life. It is not a partial change wherein one is able to straddle the fence between two worlds. It is not a superficial turning, a mere rearranging of the outward facade of a person’s life. Conversion is not a gradual change that occurs over a period of time, like sanctification. Instead, a genuine conversion occurs much deeper within the soul of a person. It is a decisive break with old patterns of sin and the world and the embracing of new life in Christ by faith.

This spiritual conversion is so profound that it involves many changes in a person. It involves a change of mind, which is an intellectual change; and a change of view, a new recognition of God, self, sin, and Christ. It involves a change of affections, which is an emotional change, a change of feeling, a sorrow for sin committed against a holy and just God. It involves a change of will, which is a volitional change, an intentional turning away from sin and a turning to God through Christ to seek forgiveness. The entire person—mind, affections, and will—is radically, completely, and fully changed in conversion.

Theologically speaking, regeneration and conversion are two sides of the same coin. Regeneration is God’s sovereign activity by the Holy Spirit in the soul of one who is spiritually dead in sin. Regeneration is the implantation of new life in the soul. Regeneration gives the gifts of repentance and faith. On the other side of the coin, conversion is the response of the one who is regenerated. Esteemed British pastor D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones said: “Conversion is the first exercise of the new nature in ceasing from old forms of life and starting a new life. It is the first action of the regenerate soul in moving from something to something.” Regeneration precedes and produces conversion. There is a cause-and-effect relationship between these two. Regeneration is the cause, and conversion is the effect. Put another way, regeneration is the root and conversion is the fruit.

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.

The whole purpose of conversion is to bring men and women into a right relationship with God. This is why Christ came, and it is the reason for which He died. It was God who was “in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself ” (2 Cor. 5:19). Conversion is the crying need of the soul. Until one’s life is turned from sin to Christ, nothing else matters.

This post was originally published in Tabletalk magazine.

~What is True Conversiom?, http://www.ligonier.org/blog/what-true-conversion/, Copyright 2017 by Steven Lawson, Ligonier Ministries, http://www.ligonier.org

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Conversion Without Consecration?

“I doubt, indeed, whether we have any warrant for saying that a man can possibly be converted without being consecrated to God! … If he was not consecrated to God the very day he was converted and born again, I do not know what conversion means. Are not men in danger of undervaluing and underrating the immense blessedness of conversion? Are they not, when they urge on other believers the “higher life” as a second conversion, underrating the length, and breadth, and depth, and height, of that great first chapter which Scripture calls the new birth, the new creation, the spiritual resurrection? I may be mistaken. But I have sometimes thought, while reading the strong language used by many about “consecration” in the last few years, that those who use it must have had previously a singularly low and inadequate view of “conversion,” if indeed they knew anything about conversion at all. In short, I have almost suspected that when the were consecrated, they were in reality converted for the first time!”

–J.C. Ryle, Holiness (p. 57)

Source: https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/consecration-and-conversion-ryle.91092/, Comment 1

Nabeel Qureshi’s Conversion

I enjoyed reading how the Lord brought Nabeel Qureshi unto Himself:

Dear Seeker,

Nabeel qureshi bio (1)I thank God Almighty for your devotion to the truth and your desire to lay aside personal comfort for His sake, for He is Truth. Your struggle to get closer to the truth—and thereby closer to God—will be rewarded due to your sincerity and purity of heart. It is for you that I write my testimony.

I myself have always been dedicated to finding the truth, and many extraordinary events have transpired which led me there. I am certain that the miraculous occurrences in my life have all been due to that pure dedication which is readily available to all of us, and not in any way due to skill or accomplishment of my own. Praise be to God, for I asked, and He gave. I sought, and He helped me find. I knocked on the door of truth, and He opened it for me.

My name is Nabeel. Born as a U.S. Citizen in California, I was raised by devout Muslim parents. My mother and father are immigrants from Pakistan and among the most dedicated Muslims I have ever known. My father was an officer in the U.S. Navy, and because of his career I have lived up and down the Atlantic Coast in the United States, as well as in the U.K…

Read more: https://christianheritagenews.blogspot.ca/2017/02/crossing-over-intellectual-and.html

It Must Come From Above

Hugh Binning, Works, p. 184:

Windswept by John William WaterhouseThings are like their original, and some way participate of the nature of their causes. “That which is born of the Spirit, is spirit,” John 3:6. That which is born of God, who is a Spirit, must be spirit, 1 John 5:1. How royal a descent is that! How doth it nobilitate a man’s nature! Truly, all other degrees of birth among men are vain imaginary things, that have no worth at all, but in the fancies of men. They put no real excellency in men. But this is only true nobility. This alone doth extract a man de fæce vulgi, “out of the dregs of the multitude.” There is no intrinsic difference between bloods, or natures, but what this makes, this divine birth, this second birth. All other differences are but in opinion, this is in reality. It puts the image of that blessed Spirit upon a man. Truly, such a creature is not begotten in the womb of any natural cause, of any human persuasion, or enticing words of man’s wisdom, of any external mercy or judgment. No instruction, no persuasion, no allurement, nor affrightment can make you Christians in the Spirit, till the Spirit blow when he pleaseth, and create you again. It must come from above, – that power that can set your hearts aright, and make them to look straight above.

Source: http://www.puritanboard.com/showthread.php/89243-How-royal-a-descent-is-that!, Comment 1

Make It Sure That You Have Given Him A Soul To Save

Corse Porto tour genoise

“Now when we speak of dying in the Lord, we would have you to take three steps together. (1) Study to be in Him; there is no possible dying in Him without being in Him; any that would be happy by dying in Him would by all means accept of the offers of the gospel, flee to Christ for refuge, and close with Him by faith, and endeavor to put that out of question, that you are in Him. O! make it sure that you have given Him a soul to save, and acquiesce in Him as your savior. (2) Live by faith in Him; there is none that can expect to die in Christ that never seriously sought to live in Him. Make it manifest that you live in Him, by having another sort of life than brutish men still in that natural state have. God may call a thief on the cross, and make Him to die in Christ that has not lived in Him, but none of you can comfortably expect that He will deal so with you, and where one is so dealt with, twenty, if not an hundred, even very many die without it. And let me say it, if ever anytime God was striking men and women with stupidity at death, it is palpable, He is striking many so at this time. It may be some of you may know God striking some with stupidity, that made a mock at the serious exercise of godliness in their lifetime. Therefore, I say again, make your being in Christ sure; evidence your being in Him by living in and to Him.”

~James Durham, Sermon One on Revelation 14:13. And I heard a voice from Heaven, saying unto me, ‘Write, Blessed are the Dead which die in the Lord, from henceforth; yea,’ saith the Spirit, ‘that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.’

Source: http://www.puritanboard.com/showthread.php/90148-None-can-expect-to-die-in-Christ-who-never-seriously-sought-to-live-in-Him, Comment #1

The Method May Vary, But The Effect Is Still The Same

Thomas Watson, A Divine Cordial, Chapter 7, Section 4:

Pusteblume im MorgentauThe Lord does not tie Himself to a particular way, or use the same order with all. He comes sometimes in a still small voice. Such as have had godly parents, and have sat under the warm sunshine of religious education, often do not know how or when they were called. The Lord did secretly and gradually instil grace into their hearts, as the dew falls unnoticed in drops. They know by the heavenly effects that they are called, but the time or manner they know not. The hand moves on the clock, but they do not perceive when it moves.

Thus God deals with some. Others are more stubborn and knotty sinners, and God comes to them in a rough wind. He uses more wedges of the law to break their hearts; He deeply humbles them, and shows them they are damned without Christ. Then having ploughed up the fallow ground of their hearts by humiliation, He sows the seed of consolation. He presents Christ and mercy to them, and draws their wills, not only to accept Christ, but passionately to desire, and faithfully to rest upon Him. Thus He wrought upon Paul, and called him from a persecutor to a preacher. This call, though it is more visible than the other, yet is not more real. God’s method in calling sinners may vary, but the effect is still the same.

Source: http://www.puritanboard.com/showthread.php/88551-Watson-on-conversion, Comment #1

No Real Conviction for Sin

A.W. Tozer on today’s low spiritual energy:

Vittorio Matteo Corcos - Dreams - 1896The result is that when people “accept” Christ they do so with little or no real conviction for sin and without radical repentance. It is rare now to see a transforming conversion. The average convert becomes one by a series of compromises, whereby he surrenders something to gain something and dickers for his salvation like a huckster. The thought of unconditional surrender to the Lordship of Jesus never enters his mind. A shoddy mercantile theology has reduced the whole thing to the level of an across-the-counter transaction with no loss of face to the sinner. Of course the resultant conversion is a cold-blooded, emotionless affair.

Source and read more: http://www.neve-family.com/books/tozer/neglect/08.html