The Nature of Conversion.

Once saved always saved. These folks believe that Christian will always sin. They say that a Christian will only be free from sin at death no matter what the Bible says.

I firmly believe that there ate OSAS people who are real Christians. They love God and live holy lives, but there are quite a few people who are OSAS people who accept sin in themselves and others as just the way it is. They not only accept just “small” sins like cussing, but they also accept huge things like sex outside of marriage or drunkenness. They excuse people who do these things as people who are born again but just need to grow. Yeah. . . No.

I decided to quote a OSAS guy on salvation. I am convinced that the old time Calvinists attitudes toward sin will shock todays OSAS people deeply.

This is one of the most important topics there is. I can not explain it any better than Joseph Allene so I am going to quote him. We return now to Joseph Alleine’s book for exerpts from his chapter “The Nature of Conversion:”

(For anyone who is worried about copyright laws this is public domain.)

This is long. Be ready.

“This change of conversion extends to the whole man. A carnal person may have some shreds of good morality, but he is never good throughout the whole cloth.

Conversion is not a repairing of the old building; but it takes all down, and erects a new structure. It is not the sewing on a patch of holiness; but with the true convert, holiness is woven into all his powers, principles and practice. The sincere Christian is quite a new fabric, from the foundation to the top-stone. He is a new man, a new; all things are become new (2 Cor. 5:17).

Conversion is a deep work, a heart work. It makes a new man in a new world. It extends to the whole man, to the mind, to the members, to the motions of the whole life…

.Conversion turns the balance of the judgment, so that God and His glory outweigh all carnal and worldly
interests. It opens the eye of the mind, and makes the scales of its native ignorance fall off, and turns men from darkness to light.

The man that before saw no danger in his condition, now concludes himself lost and for ever undone (Acts 2:37) except renewed by the power of grace.

He that formerly thought there was little hurt in sin, now comes to see it to be the chief of evils.

He sees the unreasonableness, the unrighteousness, the deformity and the filthiness of sin; so that he is affrighted with it, loathes it, dreads it, flees from it, and even abhors himself for it (Rom. 7:15; Job 42:6; Ezek. 36:31).

He that could see little sin in himself, and could find no matter for confession, now sees the rottenness of his heart, the desperate and deep pollution of his whole nature. He cries, ‘Unclean! Unclean! Lord, purge me with hyssop, wash me thoroughly, create in me a clean heart.’ He sees himself altogether filthy, corrupt both root and branch (Ps. 14:3; Mt. 7:17,18). He writes ‘unclean’ upon all his parts, and powers, and performances (Is. 64:6; Rom. 7:18).

He discovers the filthy corners that he was never aware of, and sees the blasphemy, and theft, and murder, and adultery, that is in his heart, of which before he was ignorant.

Hitherto he saw no form nor comeliness in Christ, no beauty that he should desire Him; but now he finds the Hidden Treasure, and will sell all to buy this field. Christ is the Pearl he seeks. Now, according to this new light, the man is of another mind, another judgment, than he was before. Now God is all with him, he has none in heaven nor in earth like Him; he truly prefers Him before all the world. His favor is his life, the light of His countenance is more than corn and wine and oil (the good that he formerly enquired after, and set his heart upon. Ps. 4:6,7).

A hypocrite may come to yield a general assent that God is the chief good; indeed, the wiser heathens, some few of them, have at least stumbled upon this. But no hypocrite comes so far as to look upon God as the most desirable and suitable good to him, and thereupon to acquiesce in Him.

This is the convert’s’ voice: ‘The Lord is my portion, saith my soul. Whom have I in heaven but thee? And there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever’ (Lam. 3:24; Ps. 73:25,26). …

The intentions of the will are altered. Now the man has new ends and designs. He now intends God above all, and desires and designs nothing in all the world, so much as that Christ may be magnified in him…

.His choice is not made in a fright, as with the terrified conscience, or the dying sinner that will seemingly do anything for Christ, but only takes Christ rather than hell. He deliberately resolves that Christ is his best choice, and would rather have Him than all the good of this world, might he enjoy it while he would (Phil. 1:23).

Again, he takes holiness for his path; he does not out of mere necessity submit to it, but he likes it and takes God’s testimonies not as his bondage, but his heritage; yea, heritage for ever. He counts them not his burden, but his bliss; not his
cords, but his cordials (I Jn. 3; Ps. 119:14,16,47).

He does not only bear, but takes up Christ’s yoke. He takes not holiness as the stomach does the loathed medicine, which a man will take rather than die, but as the hungry man does his beloved food. No time passes so sweetly with him, when he is himself, as that which he spends in the exercise of holiness. These are both his ailment and element, the desire of his eyes and the joy of his heart.

Put it to your conscience whether you are the man. O happy man, if this be your case! But see that you are thorough and impartial in the search. Conversion turns the bent of the affections. These all run in a new channel. The Jordan is now driven back, and the water runs upwards against its natural course. Christ is his hope. This is his prize. Here his eye is: here his heart. He is content to cast all overboard, as the merchant in the storm about to perish, so he may but keep this jewel. The first of his desires is not after gold, but grace. He hungers for it, he seeks it as silver, he digs for it as for hid treasure. He had rather be gracious than great. He had rather be the holiest man on earth than the most learned, the most famous, the most prosperous….

His cares are quite altered. He was once set for the world, and any scrap of spare-time was enough for his soul. Now his cry is, ‘What must I do to be saved?’ (Acts 16:30). His great concern is how to secure his soul. O how he would bless you, if you could put him out of doubt concerning this! He fears not so much of suffering as of sinning. Once he was afraid of nothing so much as the loss of his estate or reputation; nothing sounded so terrible to him as pain, or poverty, or disgrace. Now these are little to him, in comparison with God’s dishonor or displeasure….

It kills his heart to think of losing God’s favor; this he dreads as his only undoing. ….

His hatred boils, his anger burns against sin. He has no patience with himself; he calls himself fool, and beast, and thinks any name too good for himself, when his indignation is stirred up against sin (Ps. 73:22; Prov. 30:2). He could once wallow in it with much pleasure; now he loathes the thought of returning to it as much as of licking up the filthiest vomit….

He that before dishonored his body, now possesses his vessel in sanctification and honor, in temperance, chastity, and sobriety, and dedicates it to the Lord. The eye, that was once a wandering eye, a wanton eye, a haughty, a covetous eye, is now employed, as Mary’s, in weeping over its sins, in beholding God in His works, in reading His Word, or in looking for objects of mercy and opportunities for His service….

The sincere convert is not one man at church and another at home. He is not a saint on his knees and a cheat in his shop. He will not tithe mint and cumin, and neglect mercy and judgment, and the weightier matters of the law. He does not pretend piety and neglect morality. But he turns from all his sins and keeps all God’s statutes, though not perfectly, except in desire and endeavor, yet sincerely, not allowing himself in the breach of any….

He breaks off his sins by righteousness, and his iniquities by showing mercy to the poor (Dan. 4:27)….

Here again you find the unsoundness of many that take themselves for good Christians. They are partial in the law (Mal. 2:9), and take up the cheap and easy duties of religion, but they do not go through with the work…

.When a man is converted, he is for ever at enmity with sin; yes, with all sin, but most of all with his own sins, and specially with his bosom sin. Sin is now the object of his indignation. His sin swells his sorrows. It is sin that pierces him and wounds him; he feels it like a thorn in his side, like a prick in his eyes. He groans and struggles under it, and not formally, but feelingly cries out, ‘O wretched man!’ He is not impatient of any burden so much as of his sin. If God should give him his choice, he would choose any affliction so he might be rid of sin; he feels it like the cutting gravel in his shoes, pricking and paining him as he goes.

Before conversion he had light thoughts of sin. He cherished it in his bosom, as Uriah did his lamb; he nourished it up, and it grew up together with him; it did eat, as it were, of his own meat and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was to him as a daughter.

But when God opens his eyes by conversion, he throws it away with abhorrence, as a man would a loathsome toad, which in the dark he had hugged fast in his bosom, and thought it had been some pretty and harmless bird.

When a man is savingly changed, he is deeply convinced not only of the danger but the defilement of sin; and O, how earnest is he with God to be purified! He loathes himself for his sins.

He runs to Christ, and casts himself into the fountain set open for him and for uncleanness. If he fall, what a stir is there to get all clean again! He has no rest till he flees to the Word, and washes and rubs and rinses in the infinite fountain, laboring to cleanse himself from all filthiness both of flesh and spirit.

The sound convert is heartily engaged against sin. He struggles with it, he wars against it; he is too often foiled, but he will never yield the cause, nor lay down the weapons, while he has breath in his body. He will make no peace; he will give no quarter. He can forgive his other enemies, he can pity them and pray for them; but here he is implacable, here he is set upon their extermination. He hunts as it were for the precious life; his eye shall not pity, his hand shall not spare, though it be a right hand or a right eye. Be it a gainful sin, most delightful to his nature or the support of his esteem with worldly friends, yet he will rather throw his gain down the gutter, see his credit fail, or the flower of his pleasure wither in his hand, than he will allow himself in any known way of sin.

He will grant no indulgence, he will give no toleration. He draws upon sin wherever he meets it, and frowns upon it with this unwelcome salute, ‘Have I found thee, O mine enemy?’….

Have you crucified your flesh with its affections and lusts; and not only confessed, but forsaken your sins, all sin in your fervent desires, and the ordinary practice of every deliberate and willful sin in your life? If not, you are yet unconverted.

Does not conscience fly in your face as you read, and tell you that you live in a way of lying for your advantage? That you use deceit in your calling?

That there is some way of secret wantonness that you live in? Why then, do not deceive yourself. ‘Thou art in the gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity.’…

There is no surer evidence of an unconverted state than to have the things of the world uppermost in our aim, love and estimation.

With the sound convert, Christ has the supremacy….A man is never truly sanctified till his heart be truly set upon God above all things, as his portion and chief good….

All of Christ is accepted by the sincere convert. He loves not only the wages but the work of Christ, not only the benefits but the burden of Christ. He is willing not only to tread out the corn, but to draw under the yoke. He takes up the commands of Christ, yes, the cross of Christ.

The unsound convert takes Christ by halves. He is all for the salvation of Christ, but he is not for sanctification. He is for the privileges, but does not appropriate the person of Christ. He divides the offices and benefits of Christ. This is an error in the foundation. Whoever loves life, let him beware here. It is an undoing mistake, of which you have been often warned, and yet none is more common. Jesus is a sweet Name, but men do not love the Lord Jesus in sincerity. They will not have Him as God offers, ‘to be a Prince and a Savior’ (Acts 5:31). They divide what God has joined, the King and the Priest.

THEY will not accept the salvation of Christ as He intends it; they divide it here. Every man’s vote is for salvation from suffering, but they do not desire to be saved from sinning.

They would have their lives saved, but still would have their lusts.

Indeed, many divide here again; they would be content to have some of their sins destroyed, but they cannot leave the lap of Delilah, or divorce the beloved Herodias. They cannot be cruel to the right eye or right hand.

O be infinitely careful here; your soul depends upon it.

The sound convert takes a whole Christ, and takes Him for all intents and purposes, without exceptions, without limitations, without reserve. He is willing to have Christ upon any terms; he is willing to have the dominion of Christ as well as deliverance by Christ. He says with Paul, ‘Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?’ Anything, Lord. He sends the blank for Christ to set down His own conditions….The heart that once was set against [the laws, ordinances, and ways of Christ], and could not endure the strictness of these bonds, the severity of these ways, now falls in love with them, and chooses them as its rule and guide for ever…

The desire of the heart is to know the whole mind of Christ. He would not have one sin undiscovered, nor be ignorant of one duty required…

The unsound convert is willingly ignorant, he does not love to come to the light. He is willing to keep such and such a sin, and therefore is loath to know it to be a sin, and will not let in the light at that window….

The free and resolved choice of the will is for the ways of Christ, before all the pleasures of sin and prosperities of the world….

While the unsanctified goes in Christ’s ways as in chains and fetters, the true convert does it heartily, and counts Christ’s laws his liberty. He delights in the beauties of holiness, and has this inseparable mark. He had rather, if he might have his choice, live a strict and holy life, than the most prosperous and flourishing worldly life….

It is the daily care of his life to walk with God. He seeks great things, he has noble designs, though he fall too short. He aims at nothing less than perfection; he desires it, he reaches after it; he would not rest in any degree of grace, till he were quite rid of sin, and perfected in holiness (Phil. 3:11-14).

Here the hypocrite’s rottenness may be discovered. He desires holiness, as one well said, only as a bridge to heaven, and inquires earnestly what is the least that will serve his turn; and if he can get but so much as may bring him to heaven, this is all he cares for.

But the sound convert desires holiness for holiness’ sake, and not merely for heaven’s sake. He would not be satisfied with so much as might save him from hell, but desires the highest degree. Yet desires are not enough.

What is your way and your course? Are the drift and scope of your life altered? Is holiness you pursuit, and religion your business? If not, you fall short of sound conversion.

And is this which we have described, the conversion that is of absolute necessity to salvation? Then be informed, that strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life—that there are few that find it—that there is need of divine power savingly to convert a sinner to Jesus Christ….

Does not conscience carry you to your closet, and tell you how seldom prayer and reading are performed there?

Does it not carry you to your family, and show you the charge of God, and the souls of your children that are neglected there?

Does not conscience lead you to you shop, your trade, and tell you of some iniquity there? Does it not carry you to the public-house, or the private club, and blame you for the loose company you keep there, the precious time which you misspend there, the talents which you waste there? Does it not carry you into your secret chamber, and read there your condemnation?

O conscience! Do your duty. In the name of the living God, I command you, discharge your office. Lay hold upon this sinner, fall upon him, arrest him, apprehend him, undeceive him. What! Will your flatter him and soothe him while he lives in his sins? Awake, O conscience! What meanest thou, O sleeper? What! Have you no reproof in your mouth? What! Shall this soul die in his careless neglect of God and of eternity, and you altogether hold your peace? What! Shall he go on still in his trespasses, and yet have peace? Oh, rouse yourself, and do your work. Now let the preacher in your bosom speak. Cry aloud, and spare not; lift up thy voice like a trumpet. Let not the blood of his soul be required at your hands

(Joseph Alleine, An Alarm to the Unconverted [Now titled A sure Guide to Heaven, Banner of Truth Trust], chapter two, “The Nature of Conversion.”


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