Philippians 2:12-13: "Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."
The reason why True Conversion is radical, powerful and breaks with sin is because it is God's work. It is a wonderful work of God!
Yet we must take care in distinguishing it from other wonderful works of God in our salvation.
True Conversion is not the work of redemption performed by Jesus Christ. That work took place at the Cross some two thousand years ago. Redemption took place once and for all at the Cross - outside of us. Redemption was the once-for-all payment of the purchase price for all our sins and for all other benefits of God's salvation.
And neither is True Conversion regeneration, a work which, like True Conversion, takes place inside of us.
How do we distinguish the two?
First, True Conversion follows from Regeneration. God first puts the seed of new life inside of us - that's regeneration. Then comes Conversion as a result of that new life in us, translating us from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to God.
Second, in Regeneration we are passive, but in conversion we are active (Phil 2:12-13). Just as we have nothing to do with our physical birth, (we are passive at the time of our birth), so also we have nothing to do with our spiritual birth (we are passive in our being born again). But in the work of conversion which God works - we are active. We consciously reject the way of sin and darkness, and we consciously turn to light and life with God.
Third and finally, Regeneration is a one-time thing, but conversion is a life-long process. We are born once, but converted many times thereafter.
For Meditation: Take time to consider all the wonderful works that God performs in order to save us from our sins. Especially consider that it cost God nothing less than the suffering and death of His beloved, only-begotten Son so that all these works might be applied to us. Give thanks to God for your salvation so rich, full and free!