I was thinking this evening upon a subject and so I thought I’d write about it briefly. I say briefly, because I don’t think there is enough room here to cover the subject in great detail. The subject I am speaking of is that of conviction.
The word conviction has more than one meaning. There is the act of determining someone guilty of an offense. Then there is the act of convincing one of an error and the acknowledging of said error. Finally, there is the convincing or compelling one to admit the truth of a charge. It is the latter we wish to consider this evening.
First and briefly, I would like for us to see the unbeliever or lost soul. According to the bible in Romans 2:23 and Galatians 3:22, every individual is a sinner. This is a truth, regardless of what one believes, however when one is convicted of such, they now have the opportunity to trust Christ as Savior. It is imperative in how the unbeliever responds to the conviction of the Holy Spirit upon their conscience regarding their sinful nature. Should the unbeliever reject the convicting of their conscience and ignore the pleas of every witness God sends, then their “own” response is a testimony against them.
Next and for the rest of this article, I would like for us to consider the saint of God and how they respond to the Spirit’s convicting of their conscience. In John 8, Jesus is introduced to a woman who has been caught in the act of adultery and dragged in front of Christ for judgment. Each person there that day waits in anticipation as to how He will respond. He stoops to the ground and writes, of which no one knows. When He stands He says those profound words, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” Jesus then stoops to the ground again and what happens next is sadly how so many respond today, still. The bible records that, “being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last.” What happened?
These men were confronted with their own sin by the Lord and ironically, the one whom they had brought to be stoned was forgiven. They, on the other hand, were not forgiven. How do we know they were not forgiven? It’s simple really. They were confronted with their sin, their conscience was convicted and their response was to immediately leave the presence of the One who convicted them. The adulterous woman stayed behind and accepted her fate, to which Jesus completely forgave. She knew she was guilty and did not dispute the charges, therefore she responded correctly. However, the men (self-righteous, as they were) refused to acknowledge their sin, dropped their judgment stones and walked away from the One who could and would have forgiven them. Many sit in church houses week after week with stones in their hands with someone’s name on that stone. It may be a husband or a wife that has committed adultery or a friend who betrayed trust or a parent who dropped the ball or even the preacher who hurt them and etc. The list is exhaustive as to the reason for the stone that they carry. If they were placed in the same situation, I wonder how it would turn out. Would they, too being convicted of their own conscience refuse to acknowledge their own sin, due to the fact that they are consumed with the sin of another? Oh! How they must have hated Jesus that day, but oh how that woman surely adored Him.
How we respond to conviction is vitally important. Have you week in and week out sat under preaching that surely convicts you, but the only way you have responded is through anger, resentment, bitterness, even hatred? The preacher is telling you to forgive, as Christ did, but you hold on to that stone tighter. He says to let go of the past and let God give you peace, but your hand is clinched around that stone. You’re waiting for the opportune time to cast it at your target. You can’t though, because like the men in John 8, you know that you’re no better than the one you are bitter against. Why not let go tonight? Why not give it up and respond to the conviction properly?
Let God be God in your life again.
Until He comes again…