“Genuine conversion, however, means ceasing to sin without any backward glances”

The doors are open for all who sincerely and wholeheartedly return to God; indeed, the Father is most willing to welcome back a truly repentant son or daughter. The result of true repentance, however, is that you do not fall into the same faults again, but utterly uproot from your souls the sins for which you consider yourself worthy of death.

When these have been destroyed God will again dwell within you, since Scripture says that for the Father and his angels in heaven the festal joy and gladness at the return of one repentant sinner is great beyond compare. That is why the Lord cried out:

What I want is mercy, not sacrifice. I desire not the death of a sinner but his conversion. Even if your sins are like crimson wool I will make them as white as snow; even if they are blacker than night I will wash them as white as wool. (Ez 18:23)

You must also curb all the other evil passions: anger, lust, grief, and fear. Although only God has power to forgive sins and cancel transgressions, the Lord commands us also to forgive our repentant brothers and sisters every day.

So if we who are evil know how to give good gifts, how much more generous must be the Father of mercies, the good Father of all consolation, who is full of compassion and mercy, and whose nature it is to be patient and await our conversion!

Genuine conversion, however, means ceasing to sin without any backward glances.

God pardons what is past, then, but for the future we are each responsible for ourselves. By repenting we condemn our past misdeeds and beg forgiveness of the Father, the only one who can in his mercy undo what has been done, and wipe away our past sins with the dew of his Spirit.

And so, if you are a thief and desire to be forgiven, steal no more. If you are a robber, return your gains with interest. If you have been a false witness, practice speaking the truth. If you are a perjurer, stop taking oaths. You must also curb all the other evil passions: anger, lust, grief, and fear.

No doubt you will be unable all at once to root out passions habitually given way to, but this can be achieved by God’s power, human prayers, the help of your brothers and sisters, sincere repentance, and constant practice.

St Clement of Alexandria

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14 Responses to “Genuine conversion, however, means ceasing to sin without any backward glances”

  1. Julian says:

    What is the image on the article?

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  2. Tom says:

    So then, I am not yet converted. That’s news.

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    • Grant says:

      Not really, none of us are truly converted yet, at best we might only have began to turn towards repentance. Only in the age to come and even beyond when we and all we are connected to, all loved or hated, all helped or hurt or been helped or hurt by, until we come into reconciliation and love in union with and in Him, One with Him as He is One with the Father, His life illuminating and animating us completely, bright and without blemish coming through the consuming fire, our true selves revealed will we be converted.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Robert Fortuin says:

      Congrats, Tom, you have realized the very first step (although I suspect you are much further along, as you have known this truth for years)

      Liked by 1 person

    • Curdie says:

      I see this idea in light of a firstfruits/remnant narrative. Living as a Christian on earth doesn’t mean you never sin again. But it represents the fullness of future redemption now. In the same way that Christ’s death and resurrection is a microcosm of the universal restoration yet to come, which represents a macrocosm of Israel’s exile and restoration, the remnant of holiness in me is the firstfruits of the holiness yet to come. The church as a whole also represents the firstfruits of God’s living kingdom on earth, which promise the rest of the harvest. The defeat of sin and death is both an inevitable future state and also an imminent reality now. Romans 11 comes to mind: “If the first piece of dough is holy, the lump is also; and if the root is holy, the branches are too.”

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  3. ebcvictoria says:

    ahh yes, the religion I was saved from.

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  4. abeilleaksite says:

    Such a good reminder that we indeed needed with all that is happening in the US! Thank you Fr Aidan!

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  5. Dee of St Hermans says:

    I accidently posted with the wrong id and email header
    Fr Aidan Thank you so much for this post. We needed it here in the US

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  6. Asa Jota says:

    What does he mean by conversion? I had always understood conversion when used in a religious context be rejecting one system of belief to adhere to another to secure salvation or exemption from eternal punishment. That is not the definition of the word, but that is usually what is meant in religious contexts. Reading the comments, I believe that is the way many understood it.
    Does he really make out forgiveness and God dwelling with us contingent on the cessation of sin?

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