Conviction of Sin
(This is taken from my book, Realities of True Christian, chapter four. Learn more here.)
“He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness.” Are you a wise child accepting the Father’s discipline? Do you love God’s knowledge? Or do you hate reproof proving yourself stupid? Just as any person without the Holy Spirit is dead to God, so also is the person who is not disciplined by God in regards to their sin.
“There is a kind who is pure in his own eyes, yet is not washed from his filthiness.”
At the beginning of my Christian pilgrimage I had not learned much of the true Christian life. When the Lord pulled me from my pool of sin, I was awakened to the reality that the things I was doing were sin in the eyes of God. Although I had little knowledge of godly things, the Lord so convicted me that repentance became a response of my soul. His conviction was not just head knowledge but a true working conviction of sin that affected my whole life. As I grew in the things of Christ, more of my worldly ways of living had to cease. But were my actions (or manifestations of sin) and objects of idolatry the real sin that I was saved from and battled against? Or was there more?
My outward manifestations of sin (sin in action) stem from a heart problem. For even from the mouth the heart speaks. I soon learned from the Word of God that my affections towards sin were because of my defiled and depraved heart. A life unrighteous unto God is the result of a heart (soul) unrighteous unto God. If our hearts are left unconverted, then all we are is a sack of dry bones.
Having been confronted with spiritual truth, I had only two choices: Reject it all and live my life hell-bound or accept the reality of what the Bible says, and this by true faith; a faith that reacts “to the conviction of things not seen” (I was so convicted of my sin that I could only repent – glory to the Lamb of God). But what was really changing in me during those early days? Was it simple conformity and decision making or was it something far more?
Much deeper than my committed acts of sin, was my darkened heart, my darkened mind and my darkened style of life. I had to first come to a real sense that before the throne of the living God I was a sinner deserving of eternal punishment – an eternal hell in the lake of fire without so much as even a drink of water. Not only did I deserve God’s wrath and was destined for hell, but I had been enjoying my sin. The driving force behind my love for sin was my wickedly deceiving heart.
“The heart is more deceitful that all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?”
Here is the big show stopper for many professing Christians and the culture at large. They cannot believe, nor accept, the fact that before a holy God they are wicked and in themselves under the weighty judgment of God’s wrath and justice. People believe themselves to be good, moral, descent and honest. And even if these things could ever be found true, they are still a far cry off from God’s righteous standards, commandments and laws; a far cry from godliness, holiness and a singleness of eye unto the living Christ.
The fact is, if we are left to ourselves, we are all wicked and separated from the grace of God and the person of Jesus Christ. We are depraved souls deserving of hell’s eternal darkness and God’s holy torment. It’s not that we are good; it’s that we have never been good at all.
Let’s look for a moment at what the Bible has to say in regards to our depravity.
– In the garden we fell to depravity (Genesis 3:5-7).
– Prior to the flood we continued in depravity (Genesis 6:5).
– After the flood we remained depraved (Genesis 8:21).
– Today we are still depraved. There are none of us who are righteous, none who understand, none who seeks for God, none who does good (Romans 3:10-12). We are all brought forth in iniquity, and in sin conceived (Psalm 51:5).
If left to ourselves, this is our reality and our lot. Praise the Lord that His hand is not so short that He cannot save. As a matter of fact, it is God who draws sinners to Christ in the first place. “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.” If you are saved, then praise the Lord forevermore. Continue in sanctification. Seek more and more of His glory, His excellence and His presence. If you are not saved, then seek Him with a full out reckless abandon of yourself. Do so until He saves you – do not stop.
“You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. Seek the Lord while He may be found.”
I praise the Lord that He has begun to awaken me to my depravity and sinfulness. I say begun because if He were to reveal all my sin at once, I believe, my heart would cease to beat, my lungs would cease to breathe; the shock would literally kill me.
Who knows the true depth of their sin against God? I am thankful to God that I can earnestly say, “I stand in a heap of sin so insurmountable that if it were not for the grace of Jesus Christ and His propitiation I would forever be undone by my atrocities against the Lord my God.” It is for this very reason that I am so thankful that Christ “died to sin once for all” and that I can consider myself “dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
“Sinned as we have as a nation, yet to our sin we have added pride in our sinning.”
To remain numb to sin and call it relevant, cultural, acceptable, and God forbid, blessed, is blaspheme against the Holy Spirit. You mean to tell me that someone can call themselves a Christian while remaining in habitual and willful sin and yet be born again of the Holy Spirit? I think not. One of the chief workings of the Holy Spirit is the conviction of sin. Yes He is our helper and teacher; yes He is our guide; but He comes glorifying Christ, comes in power and comes convicting “the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.” Don’t tell me that someone can be a Christian and yet live in such a way that is contrary to the Spirit of God. This wickedness will be severely punished and utterly destroyed by the One whom it has waged war against.
“Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations beginning from Jerusalem.”
I dare say, the great majority of professing Christians dance and intermingle with sin, while doing so willingly, and with passion, all under the name of grace. “Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be!” Holiness and sanctification are of no value to such people and will be tossed out. They are unaware that their so-called good works are but filth rags unto God. They have found their comfort in the things of this world. Their blindness leads them to their destruction. What is the biblical assurance that this is not our position in life?
Perverted and blind are the ways of a person who does not consider their own comfort as poison and their willful steps as a syringe. These are they that take the title of Christian, deny the Scriptures, crucify the Christ over and over and joyfully dance their way into eternal hell. They have not denied themselves nor earnestly sought the Lord of glory. Their lives do not show evidence of regeneration. Their lifestyles prove that they do not know the true love of God nor have experienced His true joy. They willfully chase down appetites that God hates. They profess Christ and live as though they were never given a law to follow. They profess freedom but their reality is that they run in the ways of Belial. Reader beware – could this be you? What defense do you have that this is not you? Again, examine yourself in comparison to Christ and His Word. Have you had your sinfulness brought before you in such a way that you now loathe the sin you once loved? Have you been awakened to the reality of your sin? Do you heed God’s reproof of your sin?
“You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility (enmity) toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”
James 4:4 (enmity – English Standard Version [ESV])
“There have been some horrendous cases, of late, of preachers falling into open sin. Glaring cases of preachers dropping their wives for another woman in which they continue their adultery and remain popular preachers. Others are homosexuals, some are known drunkards. These sins are not the causes of backsliding, they are the results of it.”
 Hebrews 12:10
 Proverbs 13:1
 Proverbs 12:1
 John 3:5-8
 Hebrews 12:4-17 for context
 Proverbs 30:12
 Proverbs 15:28; Matthew 12:34, 15:18; Luke 6:45
 Corrupt; wicked; destitute of holiness or good principles. – 1828 Noah Webster’s Dictionary
 Hebrews 11:1
 Luke 16:24 – context 16:19-31
 Jeremiah 17:9
 Isaiah 59:1
 John 6:14
 John 6:65; also see Ezekiel 34:16)
 Jeremiah 29:13; Matthew 7:7; Isaiah 55:6 (bold mine)
 Romans 6:10-11
 Leonard Ravenhill – Revival Praying, pg. 22, Bethany House Publishers, A division of Bethany Fellowship, 1962
 I am not talking about sinless perfection. There are people who are convicted of sin and fight with their sin for some time. I am talking about the people who are not convicted at all and yet claim to be a true believer.
 John 14:26
 John 16:13
 John 16:14
 1 Thessalonians 1:5; 2 Timothy 1:7
 John 16:8 – context 8-11
 Luke 24:46-47
 Romans 6:1-2
 Isaiah 64:6
 Hebrews 10:26-31
 Thought owed to Paul Washer
 unprofitableness, wickedness – see 2 Corinthians 13:15 & 1 Corinthians 10:21
 2 Corinthians 13:5
 Leonard Ravenhill – Revival God’s Way, pg. 135, Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group, 1983, used by permission