This post is going to demolish an idea that has been taught for some time. I have not gone and historically looked up when this idea came in and how or why. Yet this is going to cause a ripple, as I come out with what the Lord has been showing me in scripture. He sent me on a hunt because of conversations I have had with friends. Conversations are wonderful, as they cause pondering with me and the Lord. 😉
What I have realized is that many believers are sin focused. I was. I have done this for many, many years with my walk as a believer in Jesus. I really wanted to be obedient to God, I thought because I loved Him (which I do); but I believe, for me, it was because I wanted to do everything I could to assure myself that He loved me. In turn what this said about me is that I didn’t trust Him or His Word, I trusted more in my behavior to make things right between He and I. So today I am repenting=turning and seeing things God’s way.
When I wrote my first post on this subject, Time to Let Go of the Rules-Law, I had written about conviction and condemnation and many other terms we use on a regular basis as a believer. Today I want to tackle conviction in a deeper way through scripture. What I have been taught is that the Holy Spirit convicts and the enemy brings condemnation. I have also written that I believe the church has taught condemnation as conviction. Well that was a tuff one to swallow for many who may have taught it or believed it. I even had declared I had done the same, teaching condemnation as conviction. Yet, it has hurt so many believers in Christ and God desires to heal the way His people see Him=repentance.
Because I come out and say this, even though it is fully supported by scripture, people will begin to say that I don’t believe in Jesus anymore and am believing/teaching false doctrine. This is the furthest thing from the truth and please do not let it deter you from asking and seeking for His Face.
Here is the definition of conviction:
n. Law The judgment of a jury or judge that a person is guilty of a crime as charged.
n. Law The state of being found or proved guilty: evidence that led to the suspect’s conviction.
n. The act or process of convincing.
Because of the nature of this word, many in the church view the Holy Spirit as convicting believers of sin from the viewpoint of the Law. That He is showing us where we are guilty and where we should be charged. Please look at the first two definitions of conviction. Both times “Law” is listed before the definition. In my first post I described what the Holy Spirit is doing: convincing. I did a word search of convict, convicts and conviction and it shows up eight times in the New Testamentof the NASB version. Each time the word is associated with law, ungodly, unbelievers, the religious elite, faith, and the world. Not once do I see the Holy Spirit convicting believers of sin. Here is where I think this has come from:
But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment;
I think many stop reading there and don’t finish to see exactly who the Holy Spirit is convicting. I also think that many do not realize that it is the Holy Spirit living through believers (the Helper is sent to us, believers) that actually does the convincing. Here is the rest of this scripture:
concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged. (John 16:7-11 NASB)
Not believing in Jesus is the sin the Holy Spirit is here to convince the world of. Probably, so not one will perish, you think?!?! (Matthew 18:12-14)
This chapter in John is instructing Jesus’ disciples by the Christ Himself as to what is going to happen when He leaves and why He needs to leave them and Who He will be sending. Just prior to this, in Chapter 14, Jesus is explaining the Holy Spirit again. If we read this chapter 14 as a Jewish person we need to remember we would have been taught, ingrained with the idea that God is One. Here in Chapter 14, Jesus is trying to teach them that He is Triune, all Three in One and describe how He is in the Father and how He will be in them. Just as all Three are One we will also be in Him and He in those that love Him or more accurately “prefer Him” or “prefer to live through Him”. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would teach them all things, bring back to rememberance all things (John 14) and Jesus said He had much more to say but the disciples could not bear it so He said the Spirit of truth (aletheias-reality) will come and He will guide you into all truth (aletheia-reality) which will glorify Jesus. This reality is the truth, it is so much more than what we may understand it to be. The Holy Spirit leads believers. Here is the link to the Greek word aletheia if you want to look deeper. 😉 The truth is that you are the Righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. That is what the Holy Spirit helps convince (convicts) you of.
I think we have become more sin conscious then Christ conscious. We are so afraid of sin that we can become so focused on it that we end up immobile. Just exactly where the enemy wants us. The Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth/reality. The REALITY is that Jesus took care of all of our sin at the Cross and announced, “It is Finished”. That was no small statement!! The perfect sacrifice for the imperfect me. He now lives in me, the Holy Triune One. In ME!! Jesus was never afraid of sin, surprised about sin or too Holy to be near sin. He healed the sinful, loved the sinful and ate with the sinful and in His presence the sinful were made whole. His presence is in me, in you as believers and we are new creations, dead to sin. Yet, where is your focus-on the sin that might entrap you or has entrapped you or is it on the Face of Jesus? Who, if you have seen Him you have seen the Father?
Jesus told the woman caught in adultery to go and sin no more. He gives the ability, you do not work at it. All you do is believe in Him,that is the truth or the REALITY and He transforms you from glory to glory. (2 Corinthians 3:18)
Okay, so what do I do when my conscience is not clear, I have done something wrong, or when the enemy is reminding me of something I did wrong? First, we need to understand and acknowledge that Christ paid our penalty back on the Cross and we received this FREE GRACE gift as we believed in Who He is, the Son of the Most High God. He took all our penalties and gave us all of Him, His blessings and His favor. We did NOTHING to deserve what He has done or given. This is challenging for us, and He knows that. I thank Him for what He did for me over 2,000 years ago. I thank Him because of what He did, I am know the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. What I really want people to understand is this is a relationship NOT a rule book. It is a relationship where God has done everything and I have just believed. He continues to do everything, as I behold Him. It is relational, it will always be relational, it is what He wanted and what He put in us to want.