Christian Conversion Defined
This article is over two typewritten pages long. I suggest you read it when you have sufficient time.
I love the way the Bible defines what the Lord did for us the moment He saved us. I also love the way it defines our lives after that moment. A few New Testament descriptions of that moment are: saved, born again, becoming a child of God, becoming a new creature, being converted. I was delighted to find an Old Testament passage that defines that moment as the day of thy power.
Psalm 110:3: Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.
The moment we became saved our will was changed. Theologians seem to debate endlessly that our will was changed first and therefore we were born again or that our will was changed the moment we were born again. Both sides seem to agree that for Christians both things happened. Both sides seem to agree that a Christian*s will continues to change after that moment. Both sides seem to agree that the whole thing is a gift of God. I trust you will enjoy some commentaries* descriptions of the the day of thy power and I trust that you will identify with their descriptions of Christians after their conversion.
British Family Bible from Horne.Christianity:
*The day of his power* is the season of their conversion, when the corruptions of nature can no longer hold out against the prevailing influences of grace; and they make a free and voluntary offering of themselves to their Redeemer. Then it is that they appear *in the beauties of holiness,* adorned with humility, faith, hope, love, and all the graces of the Spirit.
Treasury of David quote by Theophilus Jones, at Surrey Chapel, 1823:
*In the day of thy power.* This refers in a general way to the gospel dispensation, and in particular to the period of conversion. To the perishing sinner the gospel comes, *not in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance.* It is an arresting power; it meets the sinner, and stays his mad career, as in the case of Saul of Tarsus. It is a convincing power, it teaches the sinner that he is ruined in every respect, and leads him to cry out, *What shall I do to be saved?* . . . It is a life giving power; it quickens dead souls, and will eventually bring the dead bodies from their graves; *all that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of God and shall live.* . . . It is also liberating power; *if the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.*
Matthew Poole*s Commentary:
They shall offer and present unto thee as their King and Lord, not oxen, or sheep, or goats, as they did under the law, but themselves, their souls and* bodies, as living sacrifices, as they are called, (Romans 12:1: *I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.*), and as free-will offerings, giving up themselves to the Lord, (2 Corinthians 8:5: *And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.*), to live to him, and to die and be offered for him.
Now the (body of Christ) is the people of liberality . . . the princely, noble, and generous people; Christ*s real subjects; his own children, who form his Church, and are the salt of the world; the bountiful people, who live only to get good from God that they may do good to man. Is there, has there ever been, any religion under heaven that has produced the liberality, the kindness, the charity, that characterize Christianity? Well may the followers of Christ be termed . . . the cheerfully beneficent people. They hear his call, come freely, stay willingly, act nobly, live purely, and obey cheerfully.
John Wesley*s Notes:
Thy subjects, shall offer thee as their king and Lord, not oxen or sheep, but themselves, their souls and bodies, as living sacrifices, and as freewill-offerings, giving up themselves to the Lord, (2 Corinthians 8:5), to live to him, and to die for him. . . . In the day of thy power; when thou shalt take into thy hands the rod of thy strength, as it is called, and set up thy kingdom in the world, and put forth thy mighty power in the preaching of thy word, and winning souls to thyself by it.
Treasury of David quote by Edward Reynolds:
*Thy people.* That is, those whom thou dost receive from thy Father, and, by setting up the standard and ensign of the Gospel, gather to thyself. *Shall be willing.* The word is willingness, that is, a people of great willingness and devotion, shall be freewill offerings unto thee. The abstract being put for the concrete, and the plural for the singular, notes how exceeding forward and free they should be; as the Lord, to signify that his people were most rebellious, saith, that they were rebellion itself, (Ezekiel 2:8.) So then the meaning is, thy people shall, with most ready and forward cheerfulness, devote, consecrate, and render up themselves to thy government as a reasonable sacrifice, shall be of a most liberal, free, noble, and unconstrained spirit in thy service, and shall be voluntaries in the wars of thy kingdom.
Treasury of David quote by John Pulsford, in Quiet Hours, 1857:
Thy people shall be willing. Willing to do what? They shall be willing while others are unwilling. The simple term *willing,* is very expressive. It denotes the beautiful condition of creatures who suffer themselves to be wrought upon, and moved, according to the will of God. They suffer God to work in them to will and to do. They are willing to die unto all sin, they are willing to crucify the old man, or self, in order that the new man, or Christ, may be formed in them. They are willing to be weaned from their own thoughts and purposes, that the thoughts and purposes of God may be fulfilled in them. They are willing to be transferred from nature*s steps of human descent to God*s steps of human ascent. Or, to abide by the simplicity of our text, God is Will, and they are *willing.* God will beautify them with salvation, because there is nothing in them to hinder his working. They will be wise, they will be good, they will be lovely, they will be like God, for they are *willing*; and there proceeds from God a mighty spirit, the whole tendency of which is to make his creatures like himself.
Treasury of David quote by Wolfgang Musculus:
Thy people shall be willing in believing, loving, obeying, adhering, living piously and justly in this world; so that they do not need the constraints of laws or threats, because they are led by the Spirit of God, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there, also, is liberty.
Treasury of David quote by Alfred Edersheim:
*Thy people shall be willing.* Am I one of the willing people . . . not only my obedience and allegiance secured from a conviction of the truth, but my heart inclined, and my will renewed? To do the will of God, to bear the will of God, to coincide with the will of God . . . and that with calm if not cheerful consent of the heart, as seeing him who is invisible, and holding fast my living apprehensions of his person and character? All unwillingness, whether practical or lurking in the heart, springs from unbelief . . . from a failure to realize him or his purposes. Were Jesus, as God become incarnate, and as giving himself for me, and his counsel of grace towards me, ever or even in any measure before my heart, how could I hesitate to yield myself, absolutely and implicitly, to him and his guidance? Again, this *willingness* is the essence of holiness; it constitutes *the beauties of holiness* . . . the beauty of Christ cast over the soul. The cure, therefore, for all my misery and sin is more faith, more of Christ, and nearer to him. This let me seek and ask with ever increasing earnestness.
Treasury of David quote by Rivetus:
*Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power,* The prophet here notes three things respecting the subjects of the kingdom of the Messiah: 1. Their prompt obedience. 2. Their attire or vesture. 3. Their abundance, or multitude. This representation admirably agrees with what precedes. He had said that the Messiah should reign in the midst of his enemies, but lest any one should think that he would reign only over enemies, unwilling and opposing, as the devils are made subject to Christ, now he lets us know that he will have a loyal people, and obedient subjects, for else there would be wanting that same glory of which Solomon speaks in Proverbs 14:28, *In the multitude of people is the king*s honour.* He affirms also, that he would have his own people, who would recognize, receive, and serve him as King, with true obedience, nor would it be a small company, but like the dew, which waters the face of the whole earth.
If you are not aware of at least the beginning of these, God*s works in your life, perhaps you need to ask Him to begin now.
Care to discuss Christian Conversion Defined with Ron?