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John_C
John_C
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#58845 Sun Jan 28, 2024 10:36 AM
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I like to use the word compel in explaining my understanding of grace and conversion. I have a Christian friend who says that is wrong in that one's conversion is an natural outgrowth of regeneration. I just think compel better explains my experience.

What would be the best way of describing it?


John Chaney

"having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith . . ." Colossians 2:7
John_C #58847 Mon Jan 29, 2024 9:23 AM
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J.C.,

When you write "grace and conversion", I think of an adult whose heart the Lord opened to have an understanding of salvation solely in Jesus Christ. Some are like I was, born into an active Christian family, raised on a small farm in the country in nature among animals, attending a conservative church. I cannot point to any date in which I was born anew, or then started believing in Jesus Christ. If I may put it one way, I grew up as if Jesus was part of the family, a family member who is God Almighty. I cannot say when I was born anew, nor when the realization was such that I had understanding of believing and obeying the gospel. I remember professing my faith in front of the church when I was 9 years old and then was being baptized on an Easter Sunday in 1951.

There are so many individual experiences it must vary. Yet, as to your mention of "compel", I thought of an illustration I've heard a pastor use in the past -

"No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day." (John 6:44 NRSV)

That word "drawn" translates the same Greek word used in the following statement -

"Then all the city was aroused, and the people rushed together. They seized Paul and dragged him out of the temple, and immediately the doors were shut." (Acts 21:30 NRSV)

In our day I think of conversion as applying to those coming out of indifference or modern day type of idolatry, or from a false christian religion into the faith of Jesus Christ.

John_C #58850 Mon Jan 29, 2024 3:11 PM
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Originally Posted by John_C
I like to use the word compel in explaining my understanding of grace and conversion. I have a Christian friend who says that is wrong in that one's conversion is an natural outgrowth of regeneration. I just think compel better explains my experience.

What would be the best way of describing it?
I suppose there are various ways to describe conversion which are correct. The issue is often taking one aspect of conversion and making it the whole. In the matter as described above, I would judge that you two are both correct. BigThumbUp Your friend is correct in saying that conversion is the "natural outgrowth of regeneration" which I typically describe as the immediate expression/fruit of regeneration. And you are no less correct in saying that the regenerated man is "compelled" in conversion, which I likewise and emphasize when discussing the matter. Why? Because "compel" describes the radical nature of what happens in regeneration. The person who once hated God, hated good, and all things which pertained to righteousness is given a new nature which loves God, loves good, and yearns to be holy. This radical transformation "compels" the person to confess their sinfulness, guilt and worthiness of condemnation, flee and embrace the Lord Christ in faith, and plead to God to be given mercy in Him and remitted of all his sins, being clothed in Christ's perfect righteousness. Scripture also describes this supernatural work in a sinner in several parables, e.g., the Pearl of Great Price, et al. John Gerstner concludes this similarly when he writes: "A person is born again and when he’s born again and when he loves the light, you can’t keep him away from it. When he finds that pearl he’s been seeking for, he’s going to sell everything else and he’s going to get it. You cannot take away the kingdom from a man of violence from a man who is determined to have it." Simply put, the compulsion isn't from without, but rather from within.


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Thanks. I didn't think the use of compel was wrong. I heard some say that God enables us to believe, but does not compel us. That sounds Arminian to me.


John Chaney

"having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith . . ." Colossians 2:7
John_C #58852 Tue Jan 30, 2024 9:24 AM
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We hold to the biblical doctrine of "Irresistible Grace/Efficacious Grace" which basically teaches that God's salvific grace WILL infallible succeed. The radical transformation of regeneration is the means to that success. Just as with the unregenerate cannot and will not come to Christ the regenerate can and most assuredly desires to come to Christ. In both cases, the nature of the individual determines what that person desires and thus will do. Man is free (free agent) to choose according to his nature. He does NOT have a "free" will, i.e., he cannot choose that which is contrary to his nature. To speak of a "free will" is absurd for even God does not have a free will by the Arminian/semi-Pelagian definition for God CANNOT sin nor desire to sin due to his infinitely holy and righteous nature. To accredit fallen man with having an unfettered "free will" is to make man more powerful than God Himself. igiveup

One of the most beneficial books written on this subject is Thomas Boston's Human Nature in its Four-Fold State. Highly recommended reading. smile


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