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Conversion and Reformation

This is a two part question.
1. What is the difference between conversion and reformation?
2. Can a person have a conversion experience and return to sinning?

Hello Valerie,

It is about time that I answer you!  Thanks for you prolonged patience.
Sometimes it easier to answer a question in context for I am sure that your questions aren’t just born outside the context in which they were born.
So I will try to answer as straightforward as possible.

1.  Conversion is the fruit of regenerating grace.  It is the outward aspect of the inward power of God that becomes visible in the person’s thinking, acting, speaking.  In some ways you must think of
conversion as an ongoing experience.  We are not ‘converted’ but ‘converting’ because each day there are sins that we encounter that needs repentance.  The Holy SPirit’s work is very important
in this as well.

Reformation is generally referred to the ‘reforming views’ which also brings a reforming lifestyle.  If we apply it to the person, which may be what you are looking for, then there is little difference
between the two.  A converting person is reforming his or her life style, walk, talk, choices etc.

So in conclusion, I would say they are the same.

2. Yes, definitely.  Let’s take Peter: he was converted and yet he denied Jesus.  David was a converted king and yet he stooped low as he took fell into adultery and murder.
But a child of God cannot stay in sin.  The Lord’s grace is persevering and therefore, though they can make grievous falls, they will not remain in the sins to which they are returned.
John taught that clearly in 1 John 1:6, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness (meaning: walk in a life-style of sin, being involved in sin), we lie and do not the truth.”
Later in 1 John 3:9 he wrote, “Whosoever is born of God, doth not commit sin: for his seed remaineth in him, and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”  John doesn’t teach that a child of
God cannot fall into sin, but that they cannot stay in those sin.  The work of grace will lead them to repentance and returning to God.

But to teach that a converted person cannot fall into sin is contrary to the experience of Paul in Rom. 7.  It is a teaching that may be referred to as ‘perfectionism.’  But that degree of sanctification
which lifts a man above sin is glorification and that is not till God takes HIs children home to Him in heaven.