Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Does The Holy Spirit Convict Believers Of Sin?

Recently some fellow Christians brothers came against a few of us because we, after reading the bible time and time again, were convinced that the Holy Spirit does not convict believers of sin.
Some brothers even came to the point of slandering us openly and behind our backs. (these were also because of other things we spoke/taught/preach.)

This article is to answer the questions and misconceptions we believe many practice...

So (for the sake of entertainment of our souls) let us take these claims that the Spirit convict believers of sin as true and see if it stands.

So, let us make an assumption.
Let's really assume that the Holy Spirit did convict believers of sin.

But with every theory and assumption, let us put it to the litmus test of the Holy Spirit.


Problem 1
The Definition Of Conviction Bars Believers From Coming Boldly To God

Let's define 'convict'.
According to:
Convict (verb)
1. to prove or declare guilty of an offense
2. to impress with a sense of guilt

Hebrews 10:15-18
The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says:
"This is the covenant I will make with them
after that time, says the Lord.
I will put my laws in their hearts,
and I will write them on their minds." Then he adds:
"Their sins and lawless acts
I will remember no more."
And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.

In these passage of Hebrews the Holy Spirit himself says He remembers our sins NO MORE.
What is there to convict of sin? What is there to bring to remembrance of sin?

Some said that it is not to convict but to impress the sense of guilt.

But Hebrews 10 later goes on to say in vs 22-
let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.(Hebrews 10:22)

What other sense of guilt is there?
If a believers' 'conviction of sin', 'sense of guilt' or 'whatever-you-term-it' remains, then you cannot draw near! Your "Knowledge of Good and Evil" will cause God to put back that flaming sword. Minds will be veiled.

But what we discover is No condemnation and no separation - Read Romans 8!
Why no more condemnation and no separation? Because He is faithful when He and that remembering our sins no more is part of His faithfulness!


Problem 2
The Law Is Void Of Purpose If The Spirit Convicts Believers Of Sin!

Paul says in Romans 5:20
The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more,

Paul's argument in Romans 5 was that the law was given so that trespass (sin) might increase - hence made known and become clearer - hence the law was given the full right to not only convict but also condemn everyone as a sinner - for all have fallen short.

This resounds in Romans 7:7
What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, "Do not covet."

The purpose of the law was to convict sin and to define what sin is.

Hence if the Holy Spirit convicted believers of sin, then would not the purpose of the Law made void? Yet no where in the Bible does any part of scripture shows that the Holy Spirit made sin more clearer!

So where did such teaching come from? Men?

Also, God's word cannot return to him empty. The things of God never fail! How is it that now the Holy Spirit does law's work - that is to condemn and convict - hence implying the Law failed in its purpose???

Hence, the Law MUST HAVE achieved its purpose of bringing out sin clearer - therefore, the Holy Spirit cannot convict believers of sin.


Problem 3
If the Holy Spirit Convicts Believers Of Sin, He CANNOT Convict Them Of Righteousness

When I read my bible, I discover:
Romans 8:2
because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death

If the Spirit of Life (that is the Holy Spirit) sets believers free from the law of sin and death, can you be convicted of sin anymore??? - IN FACT it is Him that sets us free from the conviction of sin!

You cannot be condemned NOR convicted of sin - Why?
Romans 8:3-4
For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.

You see, our SINS WERE CONDEMNED at the cross - in the body of Jesus Christ! The result - the requirements of the law were met and now believers no longer live according to sinful nature (condemnation & conviction of sin) but according to the Spirit (that convicts you of righteousness)

Question - Are believers in Christ when they believe in Jesus?
YES THEY ARE! The result?

Romans 8:10
But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.

Why are believers alive? Because the righteousness of Jesus Christ is imputed to believers!


Problem 4
The Holy Spirit's Conviction Of Sin Nullifies Christ's Perfect Sacrifice

The Bible says in 1 Cor 15:2-4
By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you.
Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

Issues -
a) If Jesus died for believer's sins and God REMEMBERS IT NO MORE, why does the Holy Spirit still remembers it and reminds believers? (and to what end?)

b) If Christ Work is already completed and the Holy Spirit now convicts believers of sin, where can we now find forgiveness? There is no more sacrifice for sins! [some say confession - but think about it - Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith - will He save believers halfway, and leave the balance of salvation for you to do? - when in fact the bible says it is ONLY BY GRACE you have been saved and NOT BY WORKS?] Believers are saved by grace through faith - not daily confessions!

1 Peter 1:2
who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.

The Sanctification process belongs to the Holy Spirit! Not you!
Your role is to make that salvation clear - that is to bring forth the fruits.

Our role is to believe and made clear the fruits of our salvation - that is to show to others what salvation through Christ is in total!


Problem 5
The Holy Spirit's Conviction Of Sin Categorises You WITH THE WORLD!

John 16:8-11 - The Holy Spirit's Work
When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

If the Holy Spirit convicts you of sin, then you will die with the world!

You need to be clear on a few thing!
Who does the Holy Spirit convicts of sin?
because they do not believe in Jesus!

What does the Spirit convict believers?
Because Jesus is at the right hand of the Father!

Who does the Spirit judge?
The prince of this world!



The Holy Spirit cannot convict believers of sin! If He did all the problems above will arise.

But the Holy Spirit convicts believers of righteousness!
If you still believe that the Holy Spirit convicts you of sin - then you better brace yourself - because you'll fall in the same category with the WORLD!

Please change your mind! Metanoia please!


Kurt said...

Yes! The Holy Spirit does convict us of sin, of righteousness, and of judgement, just as the scriptures teach.

There is a distinction between condemnation and conviction. The Holy Spirit leads us to repentance, to a change of mind. Repentance is essential to receiving God's Grace in our lives. It's His Kindness that leads us to repentance.

If repentance is not necessary, then why did Jesus and John the Baptist preach repentance as a central message, to receiving the Kingdom of God?

We do know that Jesus didn't come to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved. It's His goal to bring salvation. He is also about changing our lives. Romans 12 says that we are transformed by the renewing of our minds. The Holy Spirit Works to Help us by convicting us and leading us to this change. He doesn't "accuse us" or "condemn us", but He leads us to the right way, to the Righteousness of Jesus. He Leads us to the Truth, that sets us free.

We must allow Him to "prick our hearts", to bring to the Light, the things that need to be changed in our lives. That is still His Work in our lives.

Randy said...

Hi Kurt,

First and foremost, you must understand that there is a shift before and after Jesus died.

When Jesus was still alive, He taught His disciples to pray for forgiveness on the basis of having forgiven others.

Luke 11:4 Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.

What this clearly means is this - that "God you should only forgive me provided I have forgiven everyone I know." This is based on merit. On what the person has done. In fact, if you look at verse 1 - One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples."

If you check your bible in Greek, it is confirmed that the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray 'according to' John's prayer. This is old covenant prayer.

The disciples were asking Jesus to teach them "John's prayer". John the Baptist is a symbolism of the Old Covenant - that is the Law.

But Paul under the new covenant says in Eph 4:32
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

It is now reversed.
The same way goes when Christ said carry your cross and follow me. But Paul says I have been crucified with Christ!

Repentance in the New Testament, is METANOIA in Greek. It literally means Transform Your Mind. This is consistent with what you said in Romans 12.

However, the 'prick our heart' repentance is METAMELOMAI. This was what Judas did in Matthew 27:3. KJV said Judas repented himself, other versions say Judas was remorsed.

Dear Kurt, the Holy Spirit is not a wavering reed. He cannot at one moment tell you that you're 'guilty' and at another moment says 'I remember you sins no more'.

Kurt said...

Hi Randy,

I think this is so good to have this talk. One thought I have, is what is the purpose for all of the conviction of the Holy Spirit? Should our lives be changed? Do we need the Holy Spirit to help us see where we have fallen short, or when we need to make a good decision? In that process, does He touch our heart and even help us to have a godly sorrow, that leads us to truly repent? I think so. Here is a passage in 2Cor. 7: 10Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 11See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done."

I see that there is a distinction between a sorrow that leads to repentance and a sorrow that works death. I believe in the real world, we need to experience the conviction of the Holy Spirit, to help us truly experience repentance and a real change.

As I counsel couples, who know and love Jesus, but need real change in order to experience God's Grace in their marriage, I see that they need the Holy Spirit's Work to lead them to this change as they humble themselves. It leads them to health in their relationship with each other and with the Lord.



Randy said...

Hi Kurt,

The Holy Spirit does convict sin, but not in the way most Christians would accept.

John 16:8-11 (NIV)
When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

The Holy Spirit convicts guilt in regard to sin because of disbelief in Jesus. It is not in terms of conscience. (will explain this later below)

In terms of 2 Cor 7:10, it is exactly in english as what is in Greek. However, you must also understand the context of 2 Cor. It is written based on 1 Cor.

The Church in 1 Cor was an immoral church. They tolerated division in the church, as well as other problems. Paul had to stamp and reaffirm 1 cor 3:11 in his letter because it shows that possibly the church had deviated from Jesus.

Hence 2 Cor 7, Paul rejoices because his letter 'hurt' them in the hearts and redirect them to repentance (METANOIA) - that is to change their thinking. Paul's letter caused the Church to stop and think and change for the better.

Today the church is suffering because they 'assume' without scriptural backing that the Holy Spirit convict them of sin. No scripture shows that except john 16 - and that refers only to unbelievers!

Hebrews 10:17
Then he (Holy Spirit) adds: "Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.

The question is this - if the Holy Spirit does not keep a record of our sins, how can He (at the same time) convict us of sin? Surely, He cannot convict us something that He has forgotten?

The problem of the church today is not forgiveness, BUT GUILT.

The reason I say this is because of the verses below.
Hebrews 10:1-4 (NIV)
The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship.If it could, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

Hebrews 10 begins by talking about the blood of bulls and goats that cannot clean our conscience.

Which makes vs 17 more significant since the HS now, (because Jesus has died and rose again) - did manage to do what the blood of bull and goats could not do!

That is to cleanse our sins and our conscience.

In verse Hebrews 10:22 - let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.

Hence, the prickling of the heart cannot be a natural progression of a Christian. It is a natural progression of a person who has forgotten that He/She is forgiven.

If the prickling persist, and the reality is that God is the one that is behind it, we would have no confidence to draw near and worship. We would be scared to death and not wanting to come to church (which explains why many people leave church - because their conscience condemns them).

Which is why Hebrews 10 is written.

Paul ends Romans 8 asking readers if there is anything that can separate us from Jesus' love. And he concludes that there is nothing!
That is the truth.

It is in our natural human fears that we forget this - is when we fall prey to guilt that eats us slowly. In fact, for you marriage counseling, i dare say that most marriage problems happen because of the guilt that they carry through their marriage.

And that is something that I'm sure you'll agree - break marriages.

And the marriage of the Church with Christ should not be broken in the same way. And if more people knew this, more people would be more secure in Christ!

Bill said...

if god is concience of our sins, then sin conciseness is godliness.

so if the blood of Christ cleanses me from sin conciseness,

then i could say that the blood of Christ cleansed me from godliness

no god i not mindful of sin, we are told to reckon ourselves dead to sin
god is mindful of our perfection in christ and that is the sole way he deals with us, as if the cross changed everything

jaireidca said...

Writing off the church of 1 Corinthians as an "immoral church" doesn't work. While we hope few churches celebrate what the Corinthian church did, it is clear Paul still considered them to be believers. And Paul taught that it was good for them to feel godly sorrow and repentence.

When we sin it is good for us to repent. White Christians for many years thought slavery was supported by scripture. How did that change? God used some people (non-violent protestors) to prick their consciences, to convict them of their behaviour, and they began to realize the extent of their sin, and repented of it.

You talk about the greek, but you use an English dictionary for "convict." The word being translated, elencho, in the New Testament means exclusively “to show someone his sin and to summon him to repentance.”

You have placed the conviction and forgiveness on opposite sides of the wrong event. Instead of Christ's death 2000 years ago, it is in the moment that we apply what he has done to what we have done.

God does not remember our sins once we have repented of them. You won't find anywhere in the Bible that implies that God doesn't remember sins that have not been repented for.

Of course, I understand that you are probably a pendulum swing away from an extreme view, such as "If I commit some small sin and then die without repenting I will go to hell."

That is obviously unbiblical as well. God looks on the heart. But Christians need to go on repenting for sins they commit, and then putting them behind and accepting that God does not remember them anymore.

jaireidca said...

By the way, I also do marriage counselling, and I would say that guilt is not usually a big factor in the problems. One of the biggest problem in marriages is selfishness (the root of almost all sin), and an unwillingness to admit when we were wrong (repent), and forgive when we were wronged.

Randy said...

jaireidca, thank you for your comments. I will reply soon. It's 4 am in my country, and i need to catch some sleep soon.
I'll reply to your comments later. :)

God bless,

Jennifer Nock said...

Amen Brother! Keep up the good fight against the spirit of religion!
I've been taking up the same battle of late!

Presley said...

What a great teaching! I used to believe the Holy Spirit would convict me of all my sins. I became so sin conscience that it cause me to sin more.I just stayed in endless bondage confessing and confessing. Then when I understood the Holy Spirit is the revelator of Christ , convicting world of unbelief in Christ , and convicting christian of His rightousness in Christ. It crushed the power of sin in my life. When I was under law I used to be against this teaching. Thank God I am free I will never go back. All I can think about is Jesus now!