Converts

And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
– Acts 2:47

The Church, itself, cannot avoid adding some who should not be received. With the greatest possible care and prudence we shall still make mistakes, And some are thus added whom the Lord never added to the Church. You have heard Mr. Hill’s story of meeting a man in the street one night, who hiccupped up to him and said, “How do you do, Mr. Hill? I am one of your converts.” “Yes,” said Rowland, “I should say you are, but you are none of God’s, or else you would not be drunk.” Converts of that sort are far too numerous. Converts of the preacher, converts of friends, or converts of a certain fashion of making profession—but not true-born children of the Lord.

– Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Additions to the Church, 1874

The fruits and effects He produces

“When He comes, He will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment.” (John 16:8)

Where the Holy Spirit is, there will always be deep conviction of sin–and true repentance for it. It is His special office to convict of sin.

He shows the exceeding holiness of God.

He teaches the exceeding corruption and infirmity of our nature.

He strips us of our blind self-righteousness.

He opens our eyes to our awful guilt, folly and danger.

He fills the heart with sorrow, contrition, and abhorrence for sin–as the abominable thing which God hates.

He who knows nothing of all this, and saunters carelessly through life, thoughtless about sin, and indifferent and unconcerned about his soul–is a dead man before God! He has not the Holy Spirit.

The presence of the Holy Spirit in a man’s heart can only be known by the fruits and effects He produces. Mysterious and invisible to mortal eye as His operations are–they always lead to certain visible and tangible results.

Just as you know there is life in a tree by its sap, buds, leaves and fruits–just so you may know the Spirit to be in a man’s heart by the influence He exercises over his thoughts, affections, opinions, habits, and life. I lay this down broadly and unhesitatingly. I see it clearly marked out in our Lord Jesus Christ’s words, “Every tree is known by his own fruit.” Luke 6:44

– J.C. Ryle, 1816-1900, The Holy Spirit

I Never Knew You

And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. – Mt. 7:23

I never knew you. That is, I never approved, loved, or regarded you as my friends. This proves that, with all their pretensions, they had never been true followers of Christ. Jesus will not then say to false prophets and false professors of religion, that he had once known them, and then rejected them; that they had been once Christians and then had fallen away; that they had been pardoned, and then had apostatized; but that he had never known them.

— THEY HAD NEVER BEEN TRUE CHRISTIANS.

Whatever might have been their pretended joys, their raptures, their hopes, their self-confidence, their visions, their zeal, they had never been regarded by the Savior as his true friends. I know not a more decided proof that Christians do not fall away from grace than this text. It settles the question; and proves that whatever else such men had, they never had any true religion.

– Albert Barnes, 1872-1951, Barnes Notes

The Butterfly and the Converted Sinner

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. – 2 Corinthians 5:17

Look at that cold creeping worm! The playful child shudders from its touch!

Yet in a few weeks, and with merry laugh and flying feet, that same child over flowery meadow, is hunting an insect that never lights upon the ground, but flitting in painted beauty from flower to flower — drinks nectar from their cups, and sleeps the summer night away in the bosom of their perfumes.

If that is the same boy — this is also the same creature. The change most wonderful!

Yet this is but a dull, earthly emblem of the divine transformation wrought in those who are converted by God!

Fallen though he is, man is capable of undergoing a more wondrous change than the insect when, no longer a worm, no longer crawling on the ground, no longer feeding on garbage — it leaves its shell to spend its happy days in sport, flitting from flower to flower; its food their juices and its bed their leaves.

The spiritual change which we call conversion, is not a mere reform. It is a mighty revolution — a revolution greater than the tomes of profane history. Conversion changes the heart, the habits, and the eternal destiny of an immortal being!

Conversion does not bestow new faculties. Yet our affections, our temperament, our will, our judgment partake of this great and holy change. Thus, the understanding is enlightened; the will is renewed; and our whole temperament is sweetened and sanctified by the Spirit of God.

Thomas Guthrie, 1803-1873