Illumination and Conviction without Regeneration

Quotes from John Owen’s work on the Holy Spirit:johnowen

“Illumination is not regeneration, nor does regeneration infallibly take place after illumination. When light is shone on Gods saving grace, then the soul sees clearly what is being offered. So illumination prepares the soul for regeneration.”

“The second thing that happens is that the Holy Spirit brings conviction of sin.”

“Some neglect this light and conviction or seek to stifle it. Some are overwhelmed by the power and strength of their lusts, the love of sin and the power of temptations. Some think that being enlightened is quite enough and that this is all God intends to do with them”

“In some,real conversion takes place. This initial work of the Holy Spirit [illumination and conviction] is neither weak nor imperfect,but it can be willfully and stubbornly resisted. In the elect, the Holy Spirit of his own sovereign grace,removes this willful stubbornness. The rest he leaves to suffer the righteous rewards of their evil deeds”

A poster on ChristianForums aptly noted, “…when considered alongside passages like Hebrews 6 and Matthew 7:21-23 it can be concluded that there are those who can have some experience of the Holy Spirit in terms of gifts and graces and yet remain totally unregenerate. But it struck me all the more that what Owen is contending is that there can be some measure of Spirit inspired enlightenment and conviction of sin that falls short of regeneration. I suppose the parable of the sower falls into this category too but it is still very striking to me when you consider it with more than a passing observation.”



  1. William McQuade · February 7, 2013

    I am the author of this thread on Christian forums and am currently working on a short paper on this topic. I will respond to the original thread with a link to this paper when it is completed. Thank you for considering this worthy of inclusion on your blog. even more significant since I am a fellow Scot.

    • jm · February 7, 2013

      Look forward to reading your paper. Maybe we could post it on this blog?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s