Monday, March 9, 2015

What does the Holy Spirit convict me of?

But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:4-7
 We began a study a few weeks ago on condemnation and conviction and repentance. We've looked at condemnation and how it being the ministry of death, has no place in the life of the Christian. Today I want to deal with this idea of the Holy Spirit convicting believers of their sin.

 To begin I'd like to use the Biblical method of establishing truth and doctrine.
This is the third time I am coming to visit you (and as the Scriptures say, “The facts of every case must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses” 2 Corinthians 13:1
 The Word of God is clear in this matter. If we can't find two or three New Covenant passages from the Word then we discard something as a true teaching or doctrine. For example, we know it's God's will to heal because we see overwhelmingly in the New Covenant His healing hand extended to all who come to Him. 

 We need to see from the Word two or three passages specifically stating the Holy Ghost convicts you when you as a believer, sins. So here are the three passages detailing the work of the Spirit in convicting you of your sin;

 Notice, the blank space above. There exist no passage that states the Holy Spirit convicts believers when they sin. So why then is this such a predominant teaching? Allow me to reveal one passage where the Spirit is convicting someone of sin;

And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment. John 16:8

 So who is the Holy Ghost convicting of sin? Is it the Church? Is it the believer? It is clear, He convicts the World of sin. Of which sin? Their hate and prejudices? Is it their rampant immorality? Is it their wars and violence to each other? As wicked and wrong as all these are what actually is the Spirit convicting the World of? 
 And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment. The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in me. 10 Righteousness is available because I go to the Father, and you will see me no more. 11 Judgment will come because the ruler of this world has already been judged. John 16:8-11
 The Holy Ghost convicts the World of the sin of unbelief. The sin of rejecting Jesus as Savior and Lord is what produces all these other wicked acts. The only sin The Holy Ghost is convicting any one of is rejecting Jesus as Lord. The Holy Ghost is never convicting a believer in Christ of their sins.

 Based upon this passage, what is the Spirit's work in the World? It's convicting the World of their unbelief and corresponding rejection of Jesus. Perhaps the Church should stop protesting and fighting the actual sins of the World. These are only fruits of the root of rejecting Jesus. We should get in the flow of the Spirit in convincing the World that Jesus is Lord and He is the only way to new life. Following the work and flow of the Spirit I'm convinced we would see a major decline in the abortions and other immoral acts we see daily.

What I am not saying...

 The word translated convict in this passage is the word elegcho. It conveys the idea to convict, to refute, to expose to light and it also suggests a shaming to the person convicted. God is not in the business of shaming His children. So while I am strongly stating He will never convict you when you sin, I am not suggesting He won't correct you when you miss it. 
 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. John 16:13a

7Fully embrace God’s correction as part of your training,  for he is doing what any loving father does for his children. For who has ever heard of a child who never had to be corrected?  8We all should welcome God’s discipline as the validation of authentic sonship. For if we have never once endured his correction it only proves we are strangers and not sons.      Hebrews 12:7-8 Passion Translation
 When we miss it or our actions are harming others or ourselves the Lord will gently capture our thoughts and remind us of who we are in Him. He will say this behavior is destructive and not beneficial or profitable. He knows how to capture our attention. He also will never correct with tragic circumstances. He is always good.

What I am saying...

 The Holy Spirit never convicts a believer of their sins. Yet He does convict a believer of something. Look again at John 16. He convicts the World of the sin of rejecting Jesus. He convicts the believers of righteousness. Why? When we knowingly miss it our own conscience may overwhelm us with guilt. The enemy pours out condemnation. The spirit of religion working through men will hurl shame upon us. So the Spirit work is to convict us of our righteous new nature. 

 This conviction reminds us of our right standing before God. It convinces us that we are forever accepted in His presence. This conviction leads us to God not away from Him. What would it accomplish if all we do is feel guilty? Religion relishes in the idea of our guilt. Conviction of righteousness allows us to come to God and continue in fruitful relationship with Him. 

 Secondly this conviction helps us overcome. When we are convinced of our righteousness we begin to manifest who we already are in Him. Look again at the words of the Apostle Paul to the Corinthians. 

 When Paul spoke of their actions that were not Christ like what did he say? Did he just condemn them and say God is finished with you? No, Paul by the Spirit reminded them of who they already were. They were washed clean by the blood. They were already sanctified by the Cross. By reminding them of who they already were he knew they would eventually manifest outwardly who they were inwardly. 

 In closing this is the true conviction of the Spirit. The Spirit convicts the World of rejecting Jesus. He convicts the Church of their right standing before God. He convicts the enemy satan of his judgement. Note, the Spirit is not sending judgment to Africa or Japan or to the homosexual community for their "sins". The judgment is on the forehead of the devil who was defeated at Calvary. Jesus came to save the World not condemn it and judge it. 

 I trust this lesson has blessed you and strengthened your relationship with Jesus. God isn't mad at you, or disappointed in you. He loves you madly! Peace be to you, in Him.

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