WE BELIEVE that conversion results from effectual calling, and is the state in which the new nature implanted in regeneration becomes active, so that the called persons are consciously involved in salvation, and turn to God.
Conversion always includes the vital elements of repentance and saving faith.
God commands all men everywhere to repent. True repentance is a Spirit-wrought change both of mind and will, which brings a personal conviction of sin, a true sorrow for it and a turning from it. This repentance is experienced in different ways and at different times in the lives of the children of God, and increases in depth as the Holy Spirit reveals some fresh aspect of the corruptions of human nature.
Repentance is not necessarily and exclusively sorrow for particular sins committed by the individual, nor is it only remorse. It is the continuing work of the Holy Spirit leading to Christ, creating a consciousness of the sinfulness of the heart and life, and of failure to reach God’s perfect standard.
Acts 17:30; 1 Thess. 1 :9-10; Acts 20:21; 26:16-18; Isa. 6:5; Luke 18:13; 2 Cor. 7:10.
Faith, whereby the children of God come to trust in Christ to the saving of their souls, is the work of the Holy Spirit, and is commonly brought about by the ministry of the Word of God. Saving faith is the gracious gift of God bestowed upon the elect only, and this faith once given is never withdrawn, but the conscious enjoyment of it can be clouded by sin, by doubt, or by neglect of Bible reading, christian fellowship, and the ordinances of God’s house.
John 1 :12; Acts 15:6-11; 16:31; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 2:8; 2 Tim 1:12.
Those who truly believe in the Lord Jesus and love him in sincerity, and who endeavour to walk in all good conscience before him, may in this life be certainly assured that they are, by grace, the children of God and are in a state of eternal blessing.
1 John 2:1-3; 3:14-24; 5:13; Rom. 5:2 and 5; 8:14-16; Heb. 10:22.
This certainty is clearly taught in the Scriptures and is based upon an understanding of the saving work of Christ, wherein the believer trusts; and it is further confirmed by the inward witness of the Holy Spirit. It results in humility and a desire for holiness and fills the heart of the believer with deep joy and peace, and gives sacred purpose to his life and expectation of the life come.
Rom. 8:1 and 31-32; 1 John 3:1-3.
Normally faith in Christ, as including trust, carries with it a sense of security, but this is not experienced to the same degree by every believer. The believer may also displease God and grieve the Holy Spirit, and so the comfort of assurance may be impaired.
The development of assurance is brought about the Holy Spirit as the fruit of reflection and growth in grace. It is, therefore, the duty of the believer to give all diligence to make his calling and election sure, so that he may live humbly and happily as one of God’s children.
Mat. 6:30; Psa. 42:1-5; 73:1-17; Eph. 4:30; 2 Cor. 3:18; 2 Pet. 3:18; 1 :10; 2 Cor. 6:14-18.
Those whom God has regenerated and effectually called into the blessings of his grace can neither totally nor finally fall away, but they shall be graciously preserved throughout life here on earth and be eternally saved.
John 10:28-29; 2 Tim. 2:19.
This blessing of the eternal security of every true believer is based upon God’s purpose and power, and not upon the free will and good works of the believer. It might equally be termed “the preservation of the saints”, and may be defined as that continuous operation of the Holy Spirit in the believer, by which the work of divine grace that is begun in the heart, is continued and brought to completion. It is because God never forsakes his work that believers endure to the end, yet the believer is to work out his own salvation with fear and trembling, remembering that the Lord has said: “he that endureth to the end shall be saved”.
Rom. 8:28-30 and 38-39; 5:8-10; Phil. 1:6; Heb. 6:17-18; 1 Pet. 1:3-5; Phil. 2:11-13; Mat. 10:22.