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The Doctrine of Christ

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    LESSON FORTY-FOUR Conversion

    1. The change designated as conversion, or the new birth, is a necessary one. Matthew 18:3; John 3:3.TDOC 113.5

    2. Repentance and confession of sin, are a part of the experience of conversion. Acts 3:19; Matthew 3:1, 2, 5, 6; 1 John 1:9; Romans 10:10.TDOC 113.6

    3. Conversion, or the new birth, is accomplished through the agency of the word and Spirit of God. 1 Peter 1:23; John 3:5,TDOC 114.1

    4. The evidences of conversion, or the new birth, will appear in the life. 1 John 3:14; John 13:35; 1 John 2:29; 5:4.TDOC 114.2

    5. A converted person should be a help to others. Luke 22:31, 32.TDOC 114.3

    Conversion means self-surrender

    “Conversion means to turn about or upon. When the unsaved sinner is convinced, of sin and resolves to turn from his transgressions and commit his ways unto the Lord, he has repented; and when he acts upon that resolve, and yields himself to God in absolute self-surrender, he is converted.”TDOC 114.4

    The divine life brought down

    “Regeneration is not our natural life carried up to its highest point of attainment, but the divine life brought down to its lowest point of condescension, even to the heart of fallen man.”TDOC 114.5

    In Adam and in Christ

    “As we are ‘in Adam,’ not merely by the imputation of Adam’s sin, but by an actual community of a corrupt nature, derived to us, from him by our natural descent from him, so that we have a sad share in him, as having been in him, and being from him, and of him, bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh; so, on the other hand, are we ‘in Christ,’ not merely by the imputation of his righteousness, but by an actual, real, spiritual origin from him, not physical, but still as real as our descent from Adam. As we are really ‘sons of man’ by physical birth, so are we as really and as actually ‘sons of God’ by spiritual birth; sons of man by being born in Adam, sons of God by being members of him who is the Son of God.”TDOC 114.6

    Children of God by the new birth

    “It is this new, or second, birth which produces children of God. The declaration of John 3:3 puts to confusion the very common claim that God is the Father of universal humanity, and makes it absurd to talk of ‘the Fatherhood of God,’ ‘the heavenly Father,’ ‘the divine Fatherhood,’ and other such phrases with which we are surfeited in these modern days. Nothing is farther from truth, and nothing is more dangerous and seductive than the claim that the children of Adam are, by nature, God’s children.”TDOC 114.7

    This new birth, not in any feeble metaphorical sense, but ‘m a sense most gloriously real and transcending the metaphor instead of falling below it, is precisely what is possible to you through Christ. As your present life, which has been so miserable a failure, came’ to you from your parents, and boars in it the deep and ineffaceable impression of what your parents were and of what their ancestors were, a new life may come to you from Christ, the beginning of that life being the new’ birth.”TDOC 114.8

    “There is but one way through which the relation of son ship can be established, and that is by begetting. That God has created all men does not constitute them his sons in the evangelical sense of that word. The son ship on which the New Testament dwells so constantly is based absolutely and solely on the experience of the new birth, while the doctrine of universal son ship rests either upon a daring denial or a daring assumption,-the denial of the universal fall of man through sin, or the assumption of the universal regeneration of man through the Spirit. In either ease the teaching belongs to ‘another gospel,’ the recompense of whose preaching is not a beatitude but an anathema.”TDOC 115.1

    “Here we have at least twenty different expressions-born again, born of the Spirit, born of God, born of the incorruptible seed of the word, being quickened, arising from the dead, conversion, circumcision of the heart, the creation of a new heart and new spirit, the heart of stone becoming the heart of flesh, repentance, faith, reconciliation with God, receiving Christ, believing God’s record to his Son, awaking from sleep, coming out of darkness into light, darkness becoming light, passing from death to life, a new creation, salvation by the washing of regeneration and by the renewing of the Holy Ghost expressions in which many and various figures are employed, but all indicating how great and radical the change is. This is the new birth of the soul to God by the operation of the Holy Ghost.”TDOC 115.2

    Reformation without conversion

    “A man may be changed from worse to better; from a notorious sinner to a civil, honest man. From civil honesty he may pass on to a formal Christianity, and do and perform religious services, and yet lie in his sins and want the power of inward sanctification. He may by a general power of the word in some sort be inwardly enlightened. He may have some degree of understanding and joy in the word, and do some things after it, and forsake many sins; yet for all this he comes short of a sound conversion.”TDOC 115.3

    The confession of sin

    “True confession is always of a specific character, and acknowledges particular sins. They may be of such a nature as to be brought before God only; they may be wrongs that should be confessed to individuals who have suffered injury through them; or they may be of a public character, and should then be as publicly confessed. But all confession should be definite and to the point, acknowledging the very sins of which you are guilty.”-Steps to Christ, 43.TDOC 115.4

    Confession brings forgiveness

    “Only believe that God is your helper. He wants to restore his moral image in man. As you draw near to him with confession and repentance; he will draw near to you with mercy and forgiveness.”TDOC 116.1

    -Id., 60.TDOC 116.2

    The one way into the kingdom

    “If any who read these pages have reason to fear that this mighty birth of the soul, has never taken place change, this new creation, this in them, God of his infinite mercy grant that they may lay to heart the words of our Lord, to Nicodemus, from which all who touch this subject must feel its exceeding moment, ‘Except a man be born again, he cannot see, he cannot enter, the kingdom of God.’ Men may enter the visible church by baptism; they may enter the societies and the assemblies of the people of God; they may enter the circle of those who gather round the table of their Lord. But unless they are born again, they cannot enter the kingdom of God.”TDOC 116.3

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