Notes on Mortification (7)

The way, the truth and the life!
The way, the truth and the life!

You must understand that conversion is a matter that concerns our whole life as long as we are in this world. Its beginning may be either sudden and striking, so that you can point to the place and time when this wonder of grace was first performed on your soul; or it may be gradual and unnoticeable, bound up with the early years of your childhood, so that you cannot at all remember that you ever were converted. The former is usually the case with those that live in ways of gross sin until they have reached the age of maturity. God suddenly stops them in their pursuit of sin, and turns them radically about. The latter naturally occurs when we are instructed in the truth of the gospel from infancy, learn to say our prayers on mother’s lap, never depart from the fear of the Lord, but walk in his way from childhood. It should also be remarked that the latter is far preferable to the former, and that he who can mention the date and the place of his conversion has nothing to boast of because of it. By all means, let him not make of the experience of his sudden conversion a ground of confidence that he really is converted. Often, it seems, this is done. You may frequently hear people boast that they know that they are converted because some ten or twenty year ago they came to Christ. But the question is not at all how and when you were converted, nor whether you had an experience of conversion several years past, but whether you are converted today. For whether you were converted suddenly or gradually, as far as the beginning of your conversion is concerned, it surely is only a beginning. It must continue throughout your whole life. It is never finished. It is never finished till you close your eyes forever upon the things mundane, your body is laid in the grave, and your soul is with Christ in glory. Nor must we ever imagine that conversion gradually becomes less necessary as we grow in grace. The contrary is true. Always there is with the Christian the old man, seeking to regain his former dominion. And never does he get rid of the body of this death. Always the new man in Christ must watch and pray and fight the good fight. We must be converted, and convert ourselves, as long as we live. But remember! The latter is always the fruit of the former. Let no flesh glory in his presence.

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