Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Convicting Work of the Holy Spirit

by Steve Me Vey

The ministry of the Holy Spirit in bringing conviction into our lives is one of the most misunderstood truths of the New Testament. Many of us have lived for many years with a viewpoint that suggests that one of His main responsibilities is to point out our sins so that we will abandon them. Many are surprised to learn that, while the Holy Spirit does indeed convict us, it isn't about our sins. He convicts us about something altogether different.

Consider John 16:8-11:

8 "And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; 11 and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.

This passage says that the Holy Spirit convicts of three things: 1. Sin 2. Righteousness
3. Judgment. He convicts two groups of people: The world (not you) and you (the Christian).

    Who does the Holy Spirit convict of sin? Verse 9 says that the conviction of sin is connected to the world. Why are they convicted? "Because they do not believe in Me," says Jesus. It is the unbeliever who is convicted of sin. What is that sin? They are convicted of one sin in particular-unbelief in Christ. The Holy Spirit doesn't convict unbelievers of their sins (plural), but of the singularly greatest sin of all -- their failure to trust Christ as their Savior.

   Even if they stopped doing all the wrong things they do in life, the world would still have the fundamental problem of their unbelief. When your house is burning to the ground, you don't worry that it needs a paint job. There are more pressing matters. So it is with those who don't know Christ. The Holy Spirit convicts them of their great need to believe in Him. Everything else is incidental.

   But what of the Christian? Jesus said the Spirit would convict of righteousness because "I go to My Father and you no longer see Me." Conviction of sin is directed to a group Jesus called "they" - the world. Conviction of righteousness is associated with "you" - the follower of Jesus. The ministry of the Holy Spirit toward the Christian is to convince us of our righteousness. Jesus has put away our sin by the sacrifice of Himself (see Hebrews 9:26). Now He seeks to convince (convict) us of that reality so that we will act consistently with who we are.

   The Spirit of Christ doesn't put you under guilt and condemnation about something Jesus Christ has already absorbed into Himself at the cross, defeated and put away. Remember that Jesus dealt with sin and then sat down by the right hand of God because there was nothing left to do regarding sin. Your sins have been defeated and put away. So at every moment, "There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus."

When the Christian sins, the Holy Spirit causes us to realize, "This isn't who I am. I don't want to live like this." That realization is a call to recognize our righteousness and act like who we are. If you sense feelings of worthlessness and shame; if you think you are a horrible person when you sin, that isn't the Holy Spirit speaking to you. It may be your church or family history rising up to condemn you, but it isn't God's Spirit. He doesn't do that. Ever.

You can be convinced (convicted) that the ruler of this world (Satan) has already been judged and has nothing on you anymore. Your sins have been defeated, so when you find that you have fallen, don't beat yourself up because God doesn't. Just get up and act like who you are!

No comments:

Post a Comment