The Holy Spirit Convicts Us of Sin
As Pentecostals, most go directly to the book of Acts when talking about the Holy Spirit. We like to focus on the baptism in the Holy Spirit and some of the more dramatic ways He manifests Himself.
However, before we go in this direction (and I promise, we'll get there), let's talk about some practical ways that Jesus said the Holy Spirit would function in the believer's life.
He gives joy.
He teaches us.
He testifies of Christ.
He strengthens and encourages.
He enables us to endure persecution.
He comforts us and helps us in our weaknesses.
He intercedes for us.
He imparts the gifts of the Spirit and develops the Christ-like character of the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.
Those who are serious about overcoming the issues in their past, the pain in their hearts, and the sin in their lives NEED the Holy Spirit to fulfill every one of these tasks.
One of the Holy Spirit's primary functions is convicting people of sin in their lives. John 16:8 says, "When He (the Holy Spirit) comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment." (ESV)
Rather than seeing this as a bad thing, Christians need to see this as an exciting opportunity to change, become more Christ-like, and deepen their relationship with God. We all have different areas in our lives that we need to overcome and replace God's ways with sinful patterns. We are all in the process of separating from sin and evil and dedicating ourselves to the worship and service of Christ. This process is called sanctification.
When the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin, He challenges us to take another step forward in this process. Conviction says, "This sin is providing an obstacle in your relationship with God and a barrier to you becoming all God wants you to be. It's time to repent, abandon this sin, and form a new behavioral pattern following the principles of the Bible."
Conviction is like a WRONG WAY sign. Its sole purpose is to make you aware that you are going in the wrong direction so you can turn around and get back on course. The benefit of living a Spirit-led life and heeding the Holy Spirit's voice of conviction is that He will make you aware of the sin in your life so you can adjust and get on the right spiritual path.
Personally, I've experienced many times when the Holy Spirit played this role in my life. Sometimes He's convicted me of things that I didn't even see as sin, or I'd found ways to conveniently excuse.
The best response when the Holy Spirit shines His light of conviction on your life is to agree with Him. Admit that He is right and that you are wrong. Repent and change your ways.
Always remember: the Holy Spirit isn't convicting you of sin to spoil your fun. No, He's doing it for your good. Just like the GPS on your car warns that you are heading in the wrong direction, the Holy Spirit's conviction keeps you from destructive paths that will end in heartache.
That's why we need to embrace the Holy Spirit's conviction, respond to it immediately, and even be thankful for it.
As we grow closer to God and live a more Spirit-led life, sensing and responding to the conviction of the Holy Spirit will become a common occurrence as He leads you into a holier, more sanctified, more intimate relationship with Jesus. What an awesome gift!
Memory Verse: When He (the Holy Spirit) comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment. (John 16:8, ESV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.