CONVERSION (kOn-ver'shun), (Gr. lirtarpoot ejt-is-trof-ay', Acts xv:3, rendered "conversion," literally, turning toward).
Conversion, a change from one state to another. Conversion may be (t) 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 God, Acts xxvi :18, and is pro duced by the influence of divine grace on the soul.—(4) Sometimes it is put for restoration, as in the case of Peter, Luke xxii:32—(5) The in strumental cause of conversion is usually the min istry of the word ; though sometimes it is pro duced by reading, by serious and appropriate con versation, sanctified afflictions, etc. (6) "Conver sion," says the great Charnock, "is to be distin guished from regeneration thus—Regeneration is a spiritual change ; conversion is a spiritual motion ; in regeneration there is a power con ferred; conversion is the exercise of this power ; in regeneration there is given us a prin ciple 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, Ezek. xxxvi :27. In renewing us, God gives us a pow er; 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 activ ity will produce action. In regeneration, man is wholly passive ; in conversion, he is active. The first reviving us is wholly the act of God, with out 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, re penting, 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, Ps. lxxiii :25, delight in his people, John xiii :35, attendance on his ordinances, Ps. xxvii :4, confidence in his promises, Ps. ix :to, abhorrence of self, and renunciation of the world, Job xlii:6; James iv :4 ; submission to his au thority, and uniform obedience to his word as in vii :20. (See REPENTANCE; REGENERA TION.)