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Stopping Short!

By Mary Peckham

Many today 'put on the brakes' and stop short of true conversion!

One of the characteristics of a genuine conversion has always been conviction of sin. Jesus said, when he is come He will convince of sin' (John 16: 8 - 11). This does not mean just to be sorry for our sins, nor does it mean being sorry for what sin has done to us. A much stronger work is needed, and the Bible provides it. It means being convinced or convicted, or simply, to be found guilty.

The prisoner goes before the judge and all the evidence is brought forward. Every detail is considered publicly, and finally the jury decides that the prisoner is guilty. The judge pronounces his guilt, and his condemnation. This illustrates the work of the Holy Spirit in convincing the sinner of his sin.

First of all then, there comes the revelation of sin, and then comes the realisation, that is, the guilt. But we cannot stop there, else we would leave the sinner in despair. He must now move on to repentance-and again, let it be stressed that although guilt will bring sorrow, yet repentance is not just being sorry. Repentance means action! I must turn back! 'Let the wicked forsake his way?' (Isa. 55:7). I don't just go on hoping the road will eventually, through a few twists and turns, filter into the right road. I must turn back! I must leave the wrong road. I must repent!

Nothing could be more drastic than the Bible meaning of repentance. Genuine repentance will result in a cleavage-a separation-a new road-a new life-a new way of life. The question now comes to us-is this all? Does all this constitute a genuine conversion? Surprisingly enough, the answer is no! I can have all the experience mentioned, and yet be lost. Revelation, Realisation, and Repentance will still leave me in a lost condition unless there is further experience-and this always follows genuine repentance-i.e. Regeneration.

Regeneration is the work of God. It is the divine miracle which takes place when God Himself takes possession of my life and I become 'a new creation'. 'That which is born of the flesh is flesh, that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto you, ye must be born again!' This, and this alone prepares us for heavenly citizenship-and here lies the weakness of much in Christianity today. It stops short! Some get as far as revelation. Some even come to realisation. Some may even go through some form of repentance in turning from some of the more glaring sins. They are changed. Of that there is no doubt! But they take the change as evidence of new birth, while all the time they are missing the real meaning of that experience.

God offers us eternal life in Christ whom we must receive by faith. When He enters the life, we are born of God's Spirit and become children of God. We must not stop short of God's great regenerating power.

How far have you come?