Joseph Alleine (1634-1668): Conversion is a supernatural work



“The author of conversion is the Spirit of God, and therefore it is called “the sanctification of the Spirit” (2 Thess. 2:13) and “the renewing of the Holy Spirit” (Tit. 3:5). This does not exclude the other persons in the Trinity, for the apostle teaches us to bless the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who “has begotten us again unto a living hope” (1 Pet. 1:3). And Christ is said to “give repentance unto Israel” (Acts 5:31); and is called the “everlasting Father” (Is. 9:6) and we his seed, and “the children whom God has given him” (Heb. 2:13). Yet this work is principally ascribed to the Holy Spirit, and so we are said to be “born of the Spirit” (Jn. 3:5-6).

So then, conversion is a work above man’s power. We are “born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man – but of God” (Jn. 1:13). Never think you can convert yourself. If ever you would be savingly converted, you must despair of doing it in your own strength. It is a resurrection from the dead (Eph. 2:1), a new creation (Gal. 6:15; Eph. 2:10), a work of absolute omnipotence (Eph. 1:19). Are not these out of the reach of human power? If you have no more than you had by your first birth – a good nature, a meek and chaste temper, and so forth – you are a stranger to true conversion. Conversion is a supernatural work.”

– Joseph Alleine (1634-1668), A Sure Guide to Heaven, Chapter 2


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