The last blog included an incident at Goodwill where I was sinning and Holy Spirit spoke to me “No, Julie!” I thought He had convicted me of sin but as I was writing out the story the Lord began speaking to me about conviction by saying “I didn’t convict you at Goodwill. You already knew it was wrong. You are not a convict you are My child who needed a reminder!” I was a bit confused because I thought Holy Spirit brought conviction when we do things contrary to His Word. But I knew I heard clearly so searched His Word to find an explanation. John 16:8-9 “And when He (the Helper) has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me.” In this context He is speaking of reproof or rebuking by exposing sin and error in our lives.
At first glance these verses suggest Holy Spirit does continually convict us of sin because even Christians are part of the world. But notice He convicts the world of sin because they do not believe in Him. Do you believe in Him? If so, this conviction is not for you. When Jesus says they do not believe in Him, He is saying they do not believe He is the Messiah, the author of Salvation, and they refuse to be obedient to Him. Holy Spirit exposes their unbelief by shining the light of the Gospel on them. The conviction is to bring them into relationship with Him so they may know and believe in Jesus! Once this conviction is received and we believe in Jesus we are filled with the confidence, certainty, and assurance that Jesus is Lord and we respond with sincerity, passion, and fervor to Holy Spirit because we now hold this strong conviction to be true!
In reality we “were” convicted of sin, righteousness, and judgment if and when we did not believe in Jesus. But when we know Jesus as Messiah, as Savior, and choose to obey Him, we receive the precious gift of Holy Spirit who ministers to us through guidance, teaching, and reminding. In John 16 Jesus talks about Holy Spirit as guide. Verse 13 “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” Then in John 14:26 Jesus reveals Holy Spirit as teacher and reminder: “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”
Once convicted of sin we remain well aware of its effect in our lives. We know for certain we sin and fall short of the glory of God needing to confess our sin. In the Goodwill incident I knew my actions were sinful because my conscience bore witness but I chose to “ignore” what I knew for that moment. Holy Spirit guided me into truth by speaking two simple words, “No, Julie” which snapped me out of my disobedience back to truth and righteousness. Holy Spirit guided me into truth, reminding me to do right. We know without a shadow of a doubt that God is faithful and just to forgive our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. When we believe in and follow Jesus Christ we carry with us continual conviction and though we may ignore or avoid dealing with sin, we still know right from wrong. In covenant relationship with God we desire to respond to His guidance.
We misrepresent Holy Spirit if we think He is continually convicting us of sin when we choose to do wrong because we make Him our own personal policeman, who is watching us in order to convict us for wrongdoing. If it were the Holy Spirit’s job to continually convict, that would mean He finds us guilty and is sentencing and condemning us. In reality, He does the opposite by acquitting us and reminding us Jesus died to remove the guilty verdict from our lives, not to continue to convict! Beloved! He is not our policeman or watchdog! Just as parents do not hover over their children making sure they never do wrong, Holy Spirit does not hover over us preventing us from sinning. Instead, because of the personal loving relationship with have with God, we believe in Jesus and receive Holy Spirit for who He is: Our Guide who leads us into truth. Our Teacher, who shares His heart by teaching righteousness. Our Reminder who prompts us to live righteously!
Perhaps you think it is merely semantics if you often find yourself thanking God for His conviction when you sin. But God would tell us to change our terminology because we are not “convicts”! Convicts are criminals, offenders, or villains deserving of punishment. We are His children who were convicted and now live under the conviction of true faith in Christ Jesus. We deserve death but through Jesus we have life everlasting! Once we were lost, now we are found. Once we were blind now we see. Once we were convicted, now we live in His assurance. Because we have been convicted and Holy Spirit now leads, guides, teaches, and reminds us all we need to know, we possess the following benefits given through an acronym of the word “CONVICTION”!
C = Confession
We are able to confess our sin. 1 John 1:8-9 “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Notice how truth is tied in with sin. Truth reveals we sin which is why Holy Spirit guides us into all truth. Truth leads us to confession, a beautiful truth indeed!
O = Obsessions are revealed
We are able to identify obsessions in life which preoccupy our thoughts and to which we devote most of our time and effort, keeping us from following the guidance of Holy Spirit. 1 John 2:15-17 “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” Verses 20-21 “But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth.” Hopefully you see it! We know the truth! We do not have to be convicted because we know and we have an anointing! Holy Spirit reveals, teaches, and reminds us of what we know!
N = Natural Tendencies are exposed
These are behaviors or actions we possess as a result of upbringing, religious mindsets, habits, or belief systems. Conviction initiates a change from our carnal nature to our spiritual nature and we exchange our natural tendencies for His supernatural walk. Galatians 5:16-17,25 “…walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
V = Value
Conviction reveals our true value to God. Once He shines His light into our darkness we can “see” His intense care and love for us. God highly values us! Matthew 6:26 “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds, them. Are you not of more value than they?”
I = Intimacy
Conviction paves the way for intimacy and desire to be in a secret place with God. Psalm 91:1 “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”
C = Compassion, Consolation, Comfort
Through conviction we witness His compassion to a lost and hurting world, thus demonstrate the same compassion to others. Once convicted, compassion is released and we are consoled and comforted in the loving arms of the Comforter! 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good work and work.”
T = Trust
Conviction releases trust in a God who is the only One who is 100% trustworthy. We trust His guidance and love when we walk in His light and stop relying on ourselves. Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.”
I = Identity
Conviction reveals our identity in Christ alone. We are not sinners. We are saints of God who commit sin! As a result of knowing who we are, forgiven and saved, we confess and repent of sin, then walk clean and righteously. We see ourselves as He sees us, being transformed into His image. 2 Corinthians 3:18 “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
O = Obstacles
Conviction exposes the obstacles which cause us to wander from the narrow path of life! Holy Spirit shines the light of Jesus and we see the obstacles clearly. John 11:9-10 “Jesus answered, ‘Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.’” Notice this is a state of being with the light in us. Once Holy Spirit convicts us of sin and we believe in Jesus, we walk in the day and see Him as the light of this world. With the light in us, we live in the assurance and conviction of light!
N = Newness
And finally, every day is new and fresh because of conviction! New days bring new mercies, new hope, and new opportunities. Revelation 21:5 “Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ And He said to me, ‘Write, for these words are true and faithful.’” Without conviction it is the same old, same old. As a result of conviction we live and believe in Jesus and the same old is gone and the new has come! Lamentations 3:22-23 “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”
I pray that if you have been convicted of sin you now believe with your whole heart and live in the light of His guidance and teaching! And I pray you will hear and listen to His voice each day as He reminds you of His will! In Jesus’ Name – Amen!