"No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God" (1 John 3:9)
I am often asked if I believe in sudden conversion. I believe in something far more wonderful than sudden conversion. I believe in sudden regeneration. Conversion is an outward thing; it means merely turning around: one is faced away from God, then turns round and faces God. That is conversion. But regeneration goes down to the very depths of the human heart and spirit. It is a radical transformation of the innermost man by the impartation of spiritual life. An outward conversion, if it is to be real and lasting, must be the result of an inward regeneration. A man may be converted a hundred times, but he can be born again but once; for, when one is born again, receiving God's own nature, "God's seed remains in him." Yes, I believe in sudden regeneration, a sudden, thorough transformation of the innermost man.
The new birth is a glorious doctrine that sweeps away false hopes. It comes to the man who is trusting in his morality and tells him that morality is not enough. The man who is trusting in reform in turning over a new leaf, is told he must be born again. Education and culture, amiability of character, kindness of heart and generosity of giving, trusting in the externals of religion and partaking of the Lord's Supper - none of these are enough. "You must be born again."
But while it sweeps away all false hopes, it also tells you of a better way, the only way. Whether one is down in sin of one kind of another, struggling hard but futilely to break away from sin, or if one has wandered far from God and committed so many sins that he thinks there is no hope, the way is clear: Jesus says you may be born again. The Spirit of God is able and He is ready to make you all over, to impart to you His own nature through His Word, if you will only let Him do it.
Son of God, how foolish we are when we try to make ourselves over, try to break the power of sin in our lives, or try to do good and be good in order to gain the Father's acceptance. Thank You for sweeping away these false hopes and showing me the way through the new birth. Amen
~R. A. Torrey~