Converted by Grace!
I am in the midst of studying and trying to put down my thoughts by preparing some written material on the subject of our eternal standing in Christ, such a huge subject but one I have found great joy in looking into. I have had to search and search again the scripture which is exactly where I want to be, in the Word of God and I have had great reading material from different sources so with the bit of free time that I have that is what I have been doing. So I will try and finish out this great book with this chapter on conversion and a final post on assurance.
In the New Testament there are two words used for conversion, one is strepho which is equivalent to our English word ‘convert’ and denotes a complete turning about (reverse). It is used in Matthew 18:3 for instance: “Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven”.
The other is metanoia which signifies a change of mind of the whole inner man and is translated in scripture as ‘repentance’ (reversal). It is used in Acts 11:18 for instance: “When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.
In Acts 3:19 both words are used: “Repent ye therefore, and be converted that your sins maybe be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord”
So from the reading of scripture we can understand that conversion is a complete (meaning the whole man) turning about in the spiritual sense of the word. It is turning from serving Satan to serving God, from enmity against God to the love of God in Christ Jesus, from darkness to light, from sin to righteousness.
The Heidelberg tells us that we are prone to hate God and our neighbor and in conversion we turn to the living God and our hatred is turned into a love of God. It is not just an external turning whereby a man may put off some sins, it is an internal change rooted in the inner change of the heart, a new heart, a new will and new affections as well.
HH explains that there are two aspects to conversion, the putting off the old man and the putting on the new. The putting off the old, simply put, is a turning away from sin in true sorrow because it is contrary to the will of God and a fighting against sin, both with all our heart. The other aspect is a putting on of the new man: “This new man is the dominion of the new principle of life which the Holy Spirit instills into your heart when you are regenerated. And to put on this new man signifies the constant endeavor to place yourself and your whole life under the gracious dominion of that new life”
If you are a believer, you recognize the above description as it involves our whole life as long as we are in this world. We won’t be rid of the old man until we close our eyes forever upon the things of this world and our soul goes home to Christ in glory!
Let us always remember that it is God’s work of Grace in us that converts and grants repentance: “Turn thou me, and I shall be turned, for thou art the Lord my God, Surely after that I was turned, I repented; and after that I was instructed, I smote upon my thigh” (Jeremiah 31: 18, 19)
O, the wonder of His Grace!