Converted by Grace: Conversion’s Relation to Justification – H.Hoeksema

… turn thou me, and I shall be turned.- Jeremiah 31:18

When we speak of the conversion of the sinner by grace, it may be well to consider for a moment the question as to the relation which this particular blessing of salvation sustains to the rest of God’s wonderwork of grace whereby He redeems and delivers us from sin and death and makes us partakers of His eternal glory.

In the chapter on justification we remarked that this is the most fundamental blessing of grace: for God loves the righteous only; and therefore, unless we are justified, declared righteous by Him, we cannot expect any token of His favor. In this sense, that is, as the ground of all other blessings of salvation, justification is first. But this must not be misunderstood. It does not mean that in order of time the sinner first receives the gift of righteousness by faith, and that thereupon he is regenerated, united with Christ, called and converted.

From God’s viewpoint this is certainly true. Before God His people are justified from eternity; and He beholds them forever as perfectly righteous in Christ, and as such He blesses them. Moreover, this sentence of justification, our righteousness in Christ before God, was realized in the cross and resurrection of our Lord. And it is also true before the consciousness of the believer that by faith he first of all takes hold of this righteousness of Christ, the forgiveness of sins, before he dare hope for any other gift of God’s grace.

Yet the fact is, of course, that when the sinner performs that act of faith whereby he lays hold upon the righteousness of Christ, he is already reborn unto new life, called out of darkness into God’s marvelous light, united with Christ in the Spirit; and he has already received the gifts of faith and conversion. For it is only as a reborn, called, and believing sinner that he can embrace Christ as his righteousness. Even though justification is the ground of conversion, the justified sinner is a converted sinner.


Taken from chapter 9, “Converted by Grace,” in The Wonder of Grace by Herman Hoeksema (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1944), pp.74-75. This work has now been republished by the Reformed Free Publishing Association.

Published in: on September 30, 2020 at 9:34 PM  Comments (1)  
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