The Nature of Conversion by Joseph Alleine
Conversion then, in short, lies in the thorough change both of the heart and life, in which:
1. The AUTHOR of conversion is the Spirit of God. Conversion is a work above man's power. We are 'born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of manâ€”but of God' (John 1:13). Never think you can convert yourself. If ever you would be savingly converted, you must despair of doing it in your own strength. It is a resurrection from the dead (Eph 2:1), a new creation (Gal 6:15; Eph 2:10), a work of absolute omnipotence (Eph 1:19).
2. The efficient CAUSE of conversion is both free grace, which is internal, and the merit and intercession of the blessed Jesus, which is external.
3. The INSTRUMENT of conversion is the Word and those who minister it.
4. The final END of conversion is man's salvation, and God's glory.
5. The SUBJECT of conversion is the elect sinner, in all his parts and powers, members and mind. Whom God predestinates, them only He calls (Rom 8:30). None are drawn to Christ by their calling, nor come to Him by believingâ€”but His sheep, those whom the Father has given Him (John 6:37, 44). Effectual calling runs parallel with eternal election (2 Pet 1:10). Do not stand still disputing about your electionâ€”but set to repenting and believing. Cry to God for converting grace. Revealed things belong to you; busy yourself in these, and not in unrevealed mysteries. Whatever the decrees of heaven may be, I am sure that if I repent and believe, I shall be saved; and that if I do not repent, I shall be damned. Is not this plain ground for you; and will you yet run upon the rocks?
More particularly, this change of conversion extends to the whole man. A carnal person may have some shreds of good moralityâ€”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 creature; 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, and to the motions, or practice of the whole life.
Excerpt from An Alarm to the Unconverted by Joseph Alleine