Some sinners God converts in a more legal way and others in a more evangelical manner. In a more legal conversion, the law is emphasized; the person is driven by the law to Christ. This experience can be described in the following manner.
The Holy Spirit begins His saving work by convicting the person of certain actual sins. As he increasingly and painfully realizes his many actual sins, the Holy Spirit deepens his awareness of his original sin - that his heart, motives, desires, and will are sinful. The Spirit also reveals something of God's holiness and righteousness to him.
This twofold revelation, of who God is and who he is, causes the convicted person to diligently strive to improve his life. The more he tries to better himself, however, the more he experiences his failures, sins, and totally depraved heart. He sees God as a righteous Judge who cannot but condemn such a great sinner as he is.
When all hope of salvation through his own efforts to fulfill God's law is cut off, and his just condemnation is all that he can rightly expect, the Holy Spirit reveals a way of escape, a way of salvation through another - through a perfect Substitute, the Lord
Jesus Christ. How this convicted person, whose heart yearns for the God he has offended, longs for, needs, and pleads with the Savior! Jesus possesses such a richness, fullness, and righteousness for his poorness, emptiness, and sinfulness! As the Holy Spirit reveals
more of Christ to him, his heart is won over in love and thankfulness to God for saving such a poor sinner as he is through such a rich way of salvation - Jesus Christ and Him crucified!
In a more evangelical conversion the gospel is emphasized; the person is drawn more by the gospel to Christ. This experience can be described as follows.
The Holy Spirit begins by impressing the person of God's goodness, care, and long-suffering mercy in his life. The person painfully and increasingly feels the blackness of his sin in contrast to the white background of God's gracious dealings toward him.
Further, the Holy Spirit reveals not only who God has been, but also who He is willing to be in the offer of the gospel. As the person strives to properly respond to God's mercies, to improve his life, and be the person he should be (especially as one who received so
Some of our church forefathers spoke of the following types of conversion experience:
- A "north wind" or a "south wind" conversion
- A "being driven to the city of refuge by the avenger of blood" or a "being drawn by cords of love"
What is meant by these expressions?