The Spirit calls men to Jesus in diverse ways-
Some are drawn so gently that they scarcely
know when the drawing began, and others are
so suddenly affected, that their conversion
stands out with noonday clearness.
Perhaps no two conversions are precisely alike in detail-
the means, the modes, the manifestations, all vary greatly.
As our minds are not all cast in the same mold,
it may so happen that the truth which affects one
is powerless upon another; the style of address which
influences your friend may be offensive to yourself.
“The wind blows where it will.”
Yet in all true conversions there are points of essential agreement-
there must be in all a penitent confession of sin,
and a looking to Jesus for the forgiveness of it,
and there must also be a real change of heart such as
shall affect the entire life thereafter.
Where these essential points are not found,
there is no genuine conversion.
Where there is true faith, there is the new birth, and that
implies a change beyond measure, complete, and radical.
Any man who is united to Christ has experienced a great change.
This change is a thorough and sweeping one, and operates upon
the nature, heart, and life of the convert.
There must be a divine work, making us new creatures,
and causing all things to become new with us,
or we shall die in our sins.
Our condition before God,
our moral tone,
our state of mind,
are made by conversion totally different from what they were before.
In a word, if we are in Christ Jesus we are new creatures;
old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
In conversion, infidels become believers,
Roman Catholics forsake their priests,
harlots become chaste,
drunkards leave their cups,
and, what is equally remarkable, Pharisees leave
their self-righteous pride, and come as ‘sinners’ to Jesus.
Conversion may be known by the fact that it changes the whole man.
It changes the ‘principle’ upon which he lives-
he once lived for self, now he lives for God.
He once did right because he was afraid of punishment
if he did wrong, but now he shuns evil because he hates it.
He once did right because he hoped to merit heaven,
but now no such selfish motive sways him- he knows that he
is saved, and he now does right out of gratitude to God.
His ‘objects in life’ are changed-
he once lived for gain, or worldly honor;
now he lives for the glory of God.
His ‘comforts’ are changed-
the pleasures of the world and sin are nothing to him now,
he finds comfort in the love of God shed abroad in his heart.
His ‘desires’ are changed-
that which he once panted and pined for,
he is now content to do without.
And that which he once despised, he now longs after
as the deer pants after the water brooks.
His ‘fears’ are different-
he fears man no more, but fears his God.
His ‘hopes’ are also altered-
his expectations fly beyond the stars.
The man has begun a new life.
A convert once said-
“Either the world is altered or else I am.”
Everything seems new.
Beloved hearers, may we all meet in heaven.
But to meet in heaven we must all be converted,
for inside yonder gates of pearl none can enter
but those who are new creatures in Christ Jesus our Lord.
God bless you, for Christ’s sake. Amen.