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Charles Buck Theological Dictionary
A change from one state to another. Conversion may be
1. Merely external, or that which consists only in an outward reformation.
2. Doctrinal, or a change of sentiments.
3. Saving, which consists in the renovation of the heart and life, or a turning from the power of sin and Satan unto God, Acts 26:18 . and is produced by the influence of Divine grace on the soul.
4. Sometimes it is put for restoration, as in the case of Peter, Luke 22:32 . The instrumental cause of conversion is usually the ministry of the word; though sometimes it is produced by reading, by serious and appropriate conversation sanctified afflictions, &c. "Conversion, " says the great Charnock, "is to be distinguished from regeneration thus Regeneration is a spiritual change; conversion is a spiritual motion: in regeneration there is a power conferred; conversion is the exercise of this power: in regeneration there is given us a principle to turn; conversion is our actual turning.
In the covenant, God's putting his Spirit into us is distinguished from our walking in his statutes from the first step we take in the way of God, and is set down as the cause of our motion, Ezekiel 36:27 . In renewing us, God gives us a power; in converting us, he excites that power. Men are naturally dead, and have a stone upon them: regeneration is a rolling away the stone from the heart, and a raising to newness of life; and then conversion is as natural to a regenerate man as motion is to a lively body. A principle of activity will produce action. In regeneration, man is wholly passive; in conversion, he is active. The first reviving us is wholly the act of God, without any concurrence of the creature; but after we are revived we do actively and voluntarily live in his sight. Regeneration is the motion of God in the creature; conversion is the motion of the creature to God, by virtue of that first principle: from this principle all the acts of believing, repenting, mortifying, quickening do spring. In all these a man is active; in the other he is merely passive." Conversion evidences itself by ardent love to God, Psalms 73:25 . delight in his people, John 13:35 . attendance on his ordinances, Psalms 27:4 . confidence in his promises, Psalms 9:10 . abhorrence of self, and renunciation of the world, Job 42:5 . James 4:4 . submission to his authority, and uniform obedience to his word, Matthew 7:20 .
See CALLING, REGENERATION.
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Buck, Charles. Entry for 'Conversion'. Charles Buck Theological Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/cbd/c/conversion.html. 1802.