R.L Dabney on true conversion

It seems too simple these days for one to call themselves a christian. Whether one has grown up in a christian home or had some spiritual ‘experience’ which leads them to church, we need to ask the question what is true conversion? Church membership should be the place where pastors can pursue the validity of one’s confession, however, it seems self identification as a christian is all one needs in many churches to become members. It should be no surprise, therefore, that many within our churches today are merely cultural christians who possess a good vocabulary of christianised sayings.

R.L. Dabney speaks about the inward change that should give better indications of the genuineness of one’s confession:

This change must be more than an outer reformation of conduct, an inward revolution of first principles which regulate conduct. It must go deeper than a change of purpose as to sin and godliness; it must be a reversal of the original dispositions which hitherto prompted the soul to choose sin and reject godliness. Nothing less grounds a true conversion. As the gluttonous child maybe persuaded by the selfish fear of pain and death to forego the dainties he loves, and to swallow the nauseous drugs which his palate loathes so the ungodly man may be induced by his self-righteousness and selfish fear of hell to forbear the sins he still loves, and submit to the religious duties which his secret soul still detests. But, as the one practice is no real cure of the vice of gluttony in the child, so the other is no real conversion to godliness in the sinner. The child must not only forsake, but really dislike his unhealthy dainties; not only submit to swallow, but really love, the medicines naturally nauseous to him. Selfish fear can do the former; nothing but a physiological change of constitution can do the latter. The natural man must not only submit from selfish fear to the godliness which he detested, he must love it for its own sake, and hate the sins naturally sweet to him. No change can be permanent which does not go thus deep; nothing less is true conversion. God’s call to the sinner is: “My son, give me thine heart.” (Proverbs 23: 26.)

— The Five Points Of Calvinism by Robert L. Dabney

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: