Conversion is the turning of God’s elect to Christ by the power of his grace. It is a willing turn of rebels to Christ as their King, surrendering to his dominion. Yet, it is a turning that is caused by God’s free grace. We turn to him, because he has turned us by his grace. Yet, unlike regeneration and effectual calling, conversion is not something in which we are passive. Conversion is both God almighty turning us, and us willingly turning, under the influence of his grace, to him. Conversion is the willing response of the newborn soul to the effectual call of God’s grace. As John Gill put it, “Conversion lies in a man’s turning to the Lord actively, under the influence of divine grace, being thoroughly convinced that there is salvation in no other but in Christ.” If you read the Scriptures carefully, you will find that repentance, faith, and conversion always go hand in hand. They are inseparable gifts of God’s grace (Acts 11:18-21).
Notice once more what great emphasis is placed upon the instrumentality of Gospel preaching in the gracious operations of God. As in regeneration and in effectual calling, so also in conversion, the Lord God has been pleased to save his elect through the instrumentality of gospel preaching (James 5:19-20). It is as plain as the nose on your face that James declares by divine inspiration, that God uses human instrumentality to accomplish his purpose of grace toward chosen sinners. God is pleased, in his infinite, inscrutable wisdom, to work the conversion of his elect by the instrumentality of converted sinners. C. H. Spurgeon said, “Instrumentality is the plan of the universe.” So it is in the new creation God’s invariable rule that he converts sinners by the instrumentality of converted sinners. Specifically, sinners are converted by other sinners, in one way or another, preaching the gospel to them. Several things need to be stated and clearly understood in this regard. (1) The use of human instruments is in no way a necessity with God. It is his pleasure. (2) The employment of human instruments in the work of saving his people is honoring to God, both as an act of amazing, condescending grace and as an act of infinite wisdom and sovereignty. (3) If God almighty is pleased to use you, or me, or any other human being for the conversion of his elect, it will be the conferring of the highest possible honor upon us.