30 Aug 2020

We have looked at “You must be born again” and “union with Christ”, the latter being central in salvation and the Bible.

Being born again is regeneration by the Spirit of God and the external manifestation and ‘consciousness’ of this experience constitutes conversion. For many believers, there is a moment of conscious conversion and this is a great blessing; but for some, the actual moment of conversion may not be so obvious but it is nevertheless a reality.

Following “being born again”, conversion must now become a lifelong process – it is giving as much as we know of ourselves to as much as we know of God. And this in fact involves the practice of lifelong active repentance. Growth in holiness and sanctification cannot continue where repentance from the heart has stopped.

It is helpful to consider what John Calvin wrote in the Institutes of the Christian Religion (III, iii, 5 (1599) on this subject:-

“The whole of conversion to God is understood under the term “repentance”…The Hebrew word for “repentance” is derived from conversion or return, the Greek word from mind and purpose: and the thing itself fits each derivation, for the essence of it is that departing from ourselves we turn to God,and putting off our former mind we put on a new one. So I think repentance may well be defined as a true conversion of our life to God, issuing from pure and heartfelt fear of Him, and consisting in the mortification of our flesh and old man and the vivification of the Spirit.”