Conviction vs correction


What I say: “God never convicts us of our sins.”
What they hear: “God is oblivious to our sins. He never corrects us nor rebukes us.”
What they think: Hebrews 12 says otherwise so Paul is in error.

This issue of conviction of sins is fast becoming an unnecessary shibboleth among Christians. Sincere believers are dividing themselves along one of two lines:

1.    “God never convicts us and if you think he does you are sin-conscious and need to become Christ-conscious.”
2.    “God convicts me in a positive way as a loving father and if you say otherwise you need to read your Bible.”

This is a most unfortunate and unnecessary division! It is the result of two truths hammering the same nail – namely, how does God deal with our present sins and shortcomings? Does he convict us? Does he correct us? Is there a difference?

My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; (Heb 12:5 NKJV)

God both chastens and rebukes us but in this post I want to focus on the word rebuke. (Chastening simply means training. God trains us as a Father; he does not chastise us with punishment, sickness and definitely not scourging (see v.6). God trains us primarily through scripture and the revelation of his Holy Spirit (2 Tim 3:16-17, John 16:13).)

The word for “rebuke” in Hebrews 12:5, elegchō, is the same word which is translated “convict” in John 16:8.

And (the Helper), when he comes, will convict (elegchō) the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; 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 16:8-11, NASB)

It is also closely related to word Jude uses when he quotes Enoch:

See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict (exelegchō) all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him. (Jud 1:14-15)

Put it altogether and you have a recipe for confusion: The ungodly are convicted and the sons of God are convicted! But the confusion may be all in our English-reading heads.

Lost in translation

Consider the meaning of the English word “convict”:

Verb: Declare someone to be guilty of a criminal offense by the verdict of a jury or the decision of a judge in a court of law.
Noun: A person found guilty of a criminal offense and serving a sentence of imprisonment.

Does the Holy Spirit ever declare the righteous guilty? Of course not. If he did, it would be like saying Christ’s redemptive work was an insufficient remedy for your sin. Since you have been justified by his grace (Rom 3:24), you cannot be convicted for your sin. Not now, not ever.

“But Paul, I’ve got some serious sin.” That may be, but he has some serious grace and his grace is greater than your sin (Rom 5:20).

When I talk like that, I am accused of diminishing sin. I am not. Sin is destructive. It has consequences. I am not diminishing sin. I am emphasizing the only thing that can deliver you from the power of sin: his grace.

What’s wrong with a little conviction?

The word convict has become so churchified that we sound like fools when we talk to outsiders.

I used to do prison ministry. If I told the inmates that the Holy Spirit had convicted me of sin they would think, “He busted you! You were caught red-handed you bad, bad sinner.” What a slanderous portrayal of the Holy Spirit’s life-giving ministry. I have made out that he is like the Law or worse, the Accuser. The Holy Spirit is nothing like that!

But it certainly doesn’t help when we have translations like the NIV adding words to scripture:

Joh 16:8 When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin… (NIV)

The word guilt is not in the original Greek. (Check it out in a literal translation.) It was added in the 1970s by translators working for the International Bible Society. Their other Bible, the 20-year old NIrV, is even worse:

Joh 16:8 When he comes, he will prove that the world’s people are guilty. (NIrV)

Sheesh. It makes you wonder why God wasted 14 centuries with the law-keeping covenant. If his plan was to condemn us with the Holy Spirit, what purpose does the law serve?

I hope you can see that “convict” and “guilt” are terrible words to associate with the Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit and guilt go together like the devil and love. He’s the Spirit of grace, not the spirit of guilt (Heb 10:29).

As long as you’re rewriting the Bible, why not go the whole way and call Jesus the Condemner of the world?

What a dis-grace.

Conviction vs. correction

I hope you can see the Holy Spirit never, ever convicts (assigns guilt) you of your sin. In fact, he has gone on record saying, “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more” (Heb 10:17). How can he declare you guilty of sins he chooses not to remembers?

“But Paul, you are speaking of conviction in a negative sense. There is also such a thing as positive conviction and I have experienced it.”

No, you are confused about the meaning of words. There is no such thing as positive guilt or positive condemnation. That old line about the devil condemning and the Holy Spirit convicting is a big fat lie. Say it often enough and people will believe it but it’s not found anywhere in the Bible.

What you have actually experienced is a life-giving correction. And as we shall see in the next post, that is altogether a different thing.

Acknowledgement: This post was inspired by a question raised by Dustin Horstmann in the comments section of this recent post, namely, are we who preach grace creating an unnecessary schism by insisting God doesn’t see our sin? I want to thank Dustin for framing the issue in such a clear and sensitive way. I also want to thank Felix, Jennie, John S. and Colleen G for their thoughtful responses to Dustin, some of which I have incorporated here.

79 Comments on Conviction vs correction

  1. Great Post Paul! I think if the church could truly understand grace we would be a different group of people! I used to have a friend/mentor that would always “convict” me of things… and I can remember her saying how the Holy Spirit would convict her when she did wrong things. I always left her feeling down on myself. Surely we model to others how we think God treats us.

  2. jazieltantw // March 1, 2013 at 12:02 am // Reply

    Great post. Still what does it mean when hebrews said
    “nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; “?
    What is the lord “rebuke” or “convicting” us of?

    are you saying that conviction in this context refers to correction?

    • I did cover that in my original post but then I realized it was too long for publication, so I chopped it in half. I will return to Hebs 12:5 rebuking in the next post.

      • jazieltantw // March 1, 2013 at 7:31 pm //

        looking forward to that. thanks.

      • Hi Paul, did you ever do another post that expounds on Hebrews 12:5? Same word (elegchō) used in John 16:8. The context in Hebrews was their “struggle against sin” and the resulting elegchō from God, albeit because they are sons whom the Father loves. The standard grace based explanation of John 16:8-11 makes a lot of sense but this creates some questions for me as to whether we can dogmatically say that the Holy Spirit doesn’t elegchō us for our sins. Do you see it as a question of how elegchō is defined? What is your take please?

  3. Can’t be bothered with all this talk about SIN! The Holy Spirit spoke these words to me, “….Accentuate the positive………………,Eliminate the negative…”. They are from a very old song by Johnny Mercer; are well worth meditating on!!!!!

    He gave them to me because I was fed up with all the negativity being spoken by the Body of Christ regarding the sin issue. He says, “There is only one sin that mankind has to deal with &, as believers, we have overcome that one!”

    Believe; be blessed!!!!!!!!!

    • Nick, I clicked on both links and got a message – the video you are looking for does not exist. But don’t worry, I think many of us here have been around long enough to recall that great song.

      • Hi Paul,

        Thanks for the reply to my post, sorry about the other links.

        Please try this link, The Lord gave me the words above but I did not realise about the rest of the lyrics!!! Most versions of the song ignore the intro but this is what helped to convince me it is from Him..

  4. Jerry Nendel // March 1, 2013 at 1:12 am // Reply

    Yes. The Holy Spirit convicts (convinces) us of our righteousness. Jesus was always ministering to his disciples that they were righteous. Fear not little flock it is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom . . . You are already clean through the word I have spoken to you . . .many righteous men have desired to see the things you see. It must have been an incredible experience to constantly have the Son of God speak righteousness into your life. And then Jesus said it will be the Holy Spirit who will convince you of your righteousness because I go to the Father and you see me no more.

  5. And that my friends is how the Holy Spirit takes a schism(a negative) and turns it into a teachable lesson(a positive).

  6. Yeah, the Holy Spirit was sent as our Comforter, to teach us all things and even show us things to come – not as our molester who constantly bashes us over the head and makes us feel guilty of what we have already been forgiven for. Amen! The Holy Spirit has the exact same character as Jesus. So, if Jesus says that He did not come to judge but to save, then this is exactly what the Holy Spirit reminds me of. HalleluYAH!

    Daniel – SA

  7. Good stuff this removes walls so we can come boldly before the throne of grace.

  8. Excellent clarification. Well done.

  9. Thank you Paul. I would say ‘you da man’, but Jesus already has that staked. :)

  10. Doug Thompson // March 1, 2013 at 4:46 am // Reply

    Don’t get discouraged my friend. I can look back 20 years and remember where I was spiritually , seeking answers but having a hard time letting the Holy Spirit transform my thinking. I would listen to Andrew Wommacks radio broadcast each day and argue with him! Then finally the revelation broke through! Almost too good to be Good News! Be of good cheer my brother, those who hunger for the truth will get it!

    • that is kinda funny… because you never reached over and turned the radio off! the Holy Spirit inside of you kept your hands off the dial because He wanted you to hear it! lol

    • Hey Doug! I remember two years ago when I was up to my eyeballs in law I would read Joseph Prince destine to reign. I would read a chapter then get mad and threw it in the trash calling it heresy. A minute later I picked it up out of the trash and read it some more. Then I got mad again and threw it back in the trash, then I picked it back up again. Amazing grace!

  11. Hi, Paul. Your blogs always make clear what my spirit wants to express. Moreover, reading through the comments has made me realize how blindly I had swallowed Christianese, churchy terminologies in the past and adapted them in my own discourse, without fully grasping/studying their truths and erroneous implications. Now, thanks to your writings (with cross-references from the Bible), plus the generous and wisdom-filled responses of other grace embracers all over the world, I have learned to be more careful and discerning with the words I write and say. Indeed, the Holy Spirit is my helper, not my condemner.

  12. Paul, your teaching must be in line with the whole testimony to be true and it is not. 1 Corinthians 11: 27- 29 uses both the word guilt(y) and judgement regarding a believer who behaves in an unworthy manner.

    • Herb, that’s a common misperception. My teaching does not have to line up with the written word but with the Living Word to be true. Jesus is Truth. If what you read in the Bible (say in Job) contradicts the character of God as revealed in Jesus, you can be sure that what you are reading is not true. Jesus is Truth and the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth. I’m not saying the Bible is a pack of lies. It is the greatest book ever written and all of it is useful for training in righteousness, etc. I’m just saying you shouldn’t idolize it.

      Regarding the guilt that some Christians put on themselves and others and communion, read this post and this post.

      • Hi Paul
        Training in righteousness is a statement that is in its content contradicts its self This if we believe that righteousness is not earned but is a gift for faith in the source.

      • Rupricht Prince // March 10, 2013 at 4:02 am //

        “Herb, that’s a common misperception. My teaching does not have to line up with the written word but with the Living Word to be true. Jesus is Truth. If what you read in the Bible (say in Job) contradicts the character of God as revealed in Jesus, you can be sure that what you are reading is not true. Jesus is Truth and the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth. I’m not saying the Bible is a pack of lies. It is the greatest book ever written and all of it is useful for training in righteousness, etc. I’m just saying you shouldn’t idolize it.”

        I know what you’re trying to say and I don’t think you’re wrong, but that’s a very slippery slope you’re on with that one. Correct interpretation of scripture can’t be generalised in such a way. The concept might be fine, but the outworking of it makes interpretation an entirely subjective matter. Fine if you can keep your cult-like tendencies in check. Not so great if you belong to Fruitcakes of the Universe.

      • It’s a slippery slope in the other direction too. Those who base their judgments 100% on the book are apt to miss the whole point, depending on the validity of their hermeneutical lens. I say the ONLY way to ensure this doesn’t happen is to know the Author well and query him whenever you are confused about something in his book. I would further argue that trying to unpackage this particular book without knowing the Author is a waste of time.

      • Warren (South Carolina, USA) // September 1, 2016 at 11:54 am //

        Bingo! Saint Paul. Awesome word study. I really like how your looking at scripture and basing it on KNOWING the Author, His character and what Jesus perfectly represented to us.
        I notice in your March 1st 2013 @ 8:37am post you refer to Jesus as “Truth” and not “The Truth” as in “I am The Way, The Truth, and The Life. . . .” Just curious.
        Warren (South Carolina, USA)

  13. excellent article paul! i love how your writing flows with the Spirit…and makes something that could be confusing… so darn simple! 🙂

  14. Paul! you confirmed what I had realized a more than a year ago.
    I have this title “to say that the holy Spirit convicts the believer of sin is blasphemy”
    as a result of that, I receive very strong comments and have to change the title.
    i knew the convict is not the right word, but now I am convince. you confirmed it Paul. thankx!

  15. Hello Paul, I deeply appreciate your passion to correct our often wrongheaded conception of what we call “grace.” This post here on “conviction” reminds me of my Christian high school where we were told in our weekly chapel meetings that the awful feeling in the pit of our stomach (guilt/false guilt) was nothing less than the conviction of the Holy Spirit (exit any sense of “The Comforter”!) Many developed either a hyper-conscious that was going off indiscriminately making them nearly neurotic while others eventually caught on to the manipulation game and developed an aversion to anything remotely “Christian.”

  16. John 16:8.
    And (the Helper), when he comes, will convict (elegchō) the WORLD (Not believers) concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; 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 16:8-11, NASB).

    I believe the word convict above should be convince (by revelation), thus giving each person the opportunity to believe, accept & confess the Lordship of Jesus. In rejecting this FACT, people blaspheme the Holy Spirit. They actually “CONVICT”, pronounce themselves, guilty.

    Those who accept this convincing are “SAVED THROUGH FAITH BY THE GRACE OF GOD!”

    The Holy Spirit does not convict believers or unbelievers of any of the above!

  17. Jerry Nendel // March 2, 2013 at 1:31 am // Reply

    Paul, I am really in agreement with you about your comment on the Bible and how we should not idolize it. Misconceptions about the role the Bible is to have in a believer’s life is one of the underpinnings that lead to so much erroneous ideas of the law having a role in our lives. We Are told to “… rightly divide the word of truth”, but Jesus is the truth, and the word is Jesus and everything spoken about him. As Peter said “… and this is the word which by the Gospel was preached to you”.

  18. God’s manner of correction or conviction is through Jesus, for now once we are born through Him its natural to exhibit His nature. Thus we hear Holy Spirit revealing that we do have the nature of love though many time we hate, we just have to believe to see that manifested without our own knowledge. Just a change of thinking or in other words repentance in believing that loving inner voice is involved.

  19. Sharon Medina // March 2, 2013 at 5:24 pm // Reply

    Awesome. Basically, we believers do not get convinced(convicted) of our sin. In actuality, we get convinced that we are righteous, and therefore, if we happen to sin, we feel “convicted” because it is not who we are. We are not sinners, we are saints. So if we act contrary to our new nature in Christ, it will not sit well with us!

  20. Adam Tanti // March 2, 2013 at 8:05 pm // Reply

    And when He comes Holy Spirit will show us the best Way. His way. What a way to be corrected. Not like the world. What wonderful grace, what great love the father has for us.

  21. I have understood this script to mean that the holy spririt brings to light or convinces us of unbelievers our need for a saviour, B. as believers, the fact that we are righteous whenever we muck up and C. Well I keep forgetting what that part means.. In a sense, the spirit is then with unbelievers showing them that without Jesus, they are guilty..surely?

    • Not that they are guilty, but they are lost. Imagine your teenage son was being slowly killed by a wasting disease and you discovered the cure. Problem it, he doesn’t think you’re much of a doctor. You wouldn’t seek to convince him of his disease (he already knows) but your cure. Same with the Holy Spirit. Some unbelievers already know they are lost sinners; a few don’t. (The law will tell them!) What do all unbelievers have in common? They don’t believe. Hence, the Holy Spirit seeks to convince them about Jesus so they might believe and be saved. We were designed to receive God’s love. Anytime we seek to meet that basic human need from another source, we are essentially sinning – even if we doing something most folks would not consider sin (Rom 14:23). The Holy Spirit seeks to connect us with the only One who can supply our every need.

      C: Concerning judgment – the devil has been judged. We are opposed by a defeated foe.

      • Paul,

        You may find this interesting. As we walked, my wife & myself were having a discussion & we both got this revelation at the same time.

        The Holy Spirit, who came to convince “THE WORLD”, revealed that there are three people groups in the world today;-

        1. The “Elect” who became “Saints” by accepting the “convincing” of the Holy Spirit & were “Born Again”.

        2. Those who “Blasphemed” the Holy Spirit by rejecting His “convincing” & became “Sinners”.

        3. This group is made up of the “Elect” & those who will reject the Free Gift of Salvation. They are dead people according to 2Cor5:14-15.

        This group have yet to receive this “Convincing” by the Holy Spirit, they are neither “Saint” nor “Sinner” at the moment. God will only judge a person according to the revelation they have received (Matt.12:36-37). This 3rd group has yet to be judged whether wheat or chaff, sheep or goats etc.

        Something else the Lord showed me when I asked about the difference between the “Saints” & the “Elect”. He said, “The “Saints” are always the “Elect” but the “Elect” are not always “Saints”………YET!”

        I hope this helps to make things clearer for some!

        God Bless.

  22. Patrick Hng // March 3, 2013 at 2:34 am // Reply

    Before the Holy Spirit convicts the believers of sin; He will first need to get out from our sin-filled body!

    • Brilliant! You got it! As “Believers” we are “In Christ” & “In Him there is NO SIN”! (1Jn 3:5). In this case, to convict us of sin would be to convict Jesus of the same!

      There is only one SIN, which is to blaspheme (reject the “convincing” of) the Holy Spirit. This “Convincing” happened to us when we were “of the WORLD”, who the Holy Spirit came to “Convince”. Therefore, a Christian cannot commit this sin! This is a bit easier to understand when we remember that there was also only one sin in the Garden of Eden! Adam committed his “sin” & caused the fall & seperation from God, we believers did not commit the sin against the Holy Spirit & were brought back into right relationship with God.

      Jesus dealt with ALL sin (except the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit) on the cross. If we believe that we can still sin today, we will, of course, always be conscious of this, & have not fully appreciated the finished work of the cross, i.e. how perfect, complete & eternal it is!

      “You will know the (whole) TRUTH & the (whole) TRUTH will make you (completely) FREE!

      Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift (of grace)

      Thankyou Father.

  23. CONVICTION: 1.a fixed or firm belief: No clever argument, no persuasive fact or theory could make a dent in his conviction in the rightness of his position. 2.the act of moving a person by argument or evidence to belief, agreement, consent, or a course of action; the act of convincing. 3.the state of being convinced.

    I think to say the Holy Spirit doesn’t use conviction, as described above, to deal with our sin is just a furthering of a “feel good” gospel and is dangerous. When a believer sins, or engages in a behavior that might lead to sin, the Holy Spirit moves us to forgiveness through convincing…or convicting. While the work Christ did on the cross does indeed offer forgiveness of our sins, we must still deal with present and future sins through asking for forgiveness (…and forgive us our trespasses…). Accepting Christ brings us in right standing with the father, but doesn’t negate our need for daily repentance for the sins we still commit. The issue is not that there is no sin…we will all still sin…but that there is no CONDEMNATION in Christ.

    • As we know, “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble”. Only a truly humble spirit can acknowledge this “Feel good” Gospel, this Gospel of Grace, this “GOOD News”. When God says “Good” He means exactly that (He does not mean a little bit good or a lot good, He means perfectly/absolutely “Good”).

      To ask God for forgiveness, after all that Jesus has done is an insult to the Spirit of Grace. I know that this all sounds a bit strange but if you “look into the Perfect Law of Liberty”, you will find it very liberating.

      We cannot improve on the “Finished” work of the Cross of Jesus! He did not die just so we could continue to “Work” at it, in fact, just the opposite.

      When God finished creating, He ceased from His works, Jesus said, “It is finished” & is seated at the right hand of God, we also have ceased from our works, having “entered into His rest” & are, subsequently, “seated in the heavenly places in Christ”. All the effort, striving & worrying about our relationship with God is now over. We are “Accepted in the Beloved”, no strings attached! I do love this “Feel Good” Gospel!

    • allen, you are already IN right standing with the Father… when you accepted Christ, you accepted His finished work… you received perfect forgiveness because Jesus paid the penalty for every sin for the whole world (except the sin of unbelief in Him)! he became our sin so that we could become His righteousness (have His right standing with God) (2 cor 5:21) righteousness is not something we earn or get crowned with when we get to heaven…its something we already got when the Holy Spirit moved in! ask yourself this….when Jesus died, how many of your sins were in the future…? 😉

    • and another question to think about: why am i even dealing with sins – when Jesus already dealt with them at the cross…once for all? (heb 7:27, 10:10)

      • Hi Jennie,

        This is great stuff, I have never heard anyone agree with what myself & my wife have come to believe, by the Holy Spirit. I am really quite excited that someone else has the deep revelation of His Grace & is not shouting “Blasphemy” when hearing the truth about the “Good News”.

        You must understand about the different dispensations then in order to “Rightly divide the word of truth”!?

        We must trust God but it is also good to trust ourselves to hear His voice & be guided. 12 years ago He gave me some revelation on scripture & when I asked Him about it He said, “I want to give you a new way of thinking.” , which He continues to do with the Grace message. The whole Body of Christ needs this. If we open our hearts & minds to the possibility that He is much bigger than our understanding, we might all get very, very blessed & set free!

        God Bless.

      • hey nick! its because we have the same awesome Teacher! 🙂
        oh amen! living by the Spirit is way easier than trying to “swim upstream” – which is how most Christians i know describe what its like to be a Christ-follower…. one day they will wake up to grace, and realize that what they’ve been swimming against is actually the life Jesus died to give us!

      • Hi Jennie,

        The biggest problem here is that most Christians are trying to “follow” Jesus of Nazareth & not being led by the Holy Spirit. “Christ IN YOU the hope of glory”, is what we all need to know & see. The glorified Lord Jesus is the One who leads from inside.

        It’s not knowing about Jesus that will change us but knowing Him, as He is right now.

        Only He can lead us into the “GOOD WORKS” that He has prepared for us to do & I mean “GOOD WORKS” not “WORKS”, those that are by the Spirit & not out of our own minds. It’s so much better & easier to go with the flow & not try to swim up stream.

    • Allen, it all depends on what you believe to be your true identity. If you believe you’re still a sinner,then Jesus work was in vain and you will keep needing him to die for your sins over and over again. If you accept that he did it once for all time and you really are a NEW creation then you have actually passed from death to life. Begin to indentify yourself as this new being, and sin no longer has dominion over you for you are now under grace. Your mind/soul simply need to be transformed by the word to line up with what’s true. You can’t be both sinner and saint…it’s one or the other.

  24. Just heard a sermon from my pastor about God and his convicting and correcting versus Satan who comes to accuse and defeat.

  25. Rupricht Prince // March 10, 2013 at 3:54 am // Reply

    Having not read the earlier posts I apologize if I’m covering old ground, but it seemed to me that we were clouding some of the main issues. Two spring to mind immediately: Firstly the meaning of the word, “convict” (v.); and secondly, whether “convict” is applied to believers or unbelievers or both. Regarding this, the NT use of “world” has significant bearing.
    On the first issue, I think you are misunderstanding the meaning of “convict” (v.) particularly in regards to the role of the paraclete in Jn 16:8. The sense is not that judgment is passed but that the world is made aware that what they have done and how they have lived is in fact wrong…

  26. Great article…looking forward to the follow up.

  27. I hear 1st John 1:9 quoted a lot to tell Christians how they can be forgiven of their sins. Sin is not what a Christian does but what he believes. If we believe it is sin it is then we need to confess it. For to believe it is sin is to put ourselves under the law and remove ourselves from grace. When my behavior comes short of the glory of God I don’t ask God to forgive me for it is not sin ( I am not under the law for there is no sin outside of the law). I instead thank Him that I am becoming more and more like Him and I am showing forth His maturity and virtues.

    • Jim,

      I totally agree, if only the Body of Christ could get hold of this. I am sure we all acknowledge that “We are the righteousness of God IN CHRIST” but not too many are humble enough to accept that “IN HIM there is NO SIN”!

      There is absolute freedom in the acceptance of this FACT &, of course, no need for the Holy Spirit to convince or convict believers of sin (I hate to even mention the word!). With this liberating FACT accepted, there will be no more guilty conscience!

      I have accepted all the positive statements about who we are in Christ & the way God see’s us as totally “Accepted in The Beloved”

      I pray that more & more will will “Receive with meekness” the truth, the whole truth & nothing but the truth because anything else is a LIE! It is the complete truth that will make the Church ” free indeed”.

      God Bless All who hear.

    • So, as long as I don’t believe it’s sin then it’s not really sin? If I were to, say, lie about my income to avoid paying so much tax (which is patently unfair anyway), that wouldn’t really be sinning if I didn’t believe it was sinning. Is that what you’re saying? Wow! That’s great. So long as I can justify it to myself I can be free.This has so much application in so many ways! Thanks guys. I feel a whole lot better now.

      • Sorry but it is not about what you believe or do not believe because this will not change God’s Truth. It is about accepting that Truth! This, in turn, enables us to make right, Godly choices as we live to “do all things as unto The Lord”, not pleasing ourselves. Grace empowers us for this!

        Grace is pure & talks of the perfect, complete & eternal work that Jesus did for us in order to set us completely “Free”. But remember that “A little leaven leavens the whole lump” & this will contaminate your thinking, hindering your life in this beautiful Grace “In which we stand” (Stand being the opposite of fall, to established, set, as a jewel mounted in a ring etc.!).

        I know we do not all believe exactly the same things but the secret is to remain open & tender-hearted, so we can continue to receive deeper revelation. “In Him there is NO sin” (believers are “In Him”!).

  28. Ok I like your emphasis on grace, some challenges to your ideas: God was always loving, but he cursed us with death (eternal death) in Eden, hence why the Father sent Jesus came to save us. If we choose Him by faith for grace in what He has done. We were guilty and are.

    Confession with our mouth about Jesus and belief in our heart is necessary for salvation. We can grieve the Spirit, would that be the case, if He forgot our current sins ? We will be judged for sins in the flesh still. I suppose Ananias and Sapphira’s sins were somehow forgiven? Was Judas’ sin, he believed in God.

    I think your grace idea promotes a liberty unto sin.

    The folk above are right in saying believers are in Him, but scripture is clear that we are still sinners and I say that makes you an atheist, when you do it, all of us, no faith at all. We are divided people, yet there are lists if things that condemn us to hell, despite faith or baptism in the new testament.

    Would like your comments on this, because as far as I can tell, your views don’t make sense and take a few scriptures out of the wider context maybe…

  29. It stand to reason that the narrowness of your definition of “convict” is at issue. If it is merely as above, I would say that is not what the Holy Spirit does to “me”, per se. But in Biblical usage of the word, there is a wider semantic range of usage (reprove/convince), hence “conviction” does not imply a court case, but merely “proof”. Even a Lexicon bears this out, because the word elegchō includes “correction”, as does the common usage of the word “convict” in Biblical discussion. Does the Holy Spirit make me a felon? Of course not. But, does He prove to me that I am not living according to Christ in every area of my life, and sometimes, strongly? Most certainly. I agree that perhaps the word is used a bit different in Biblical circles than it is in a secular arena, because that kind of “conviction” doesn’t exist except in the believer. I do not think, when most people object to your comments, they are as narrowly defining the term as you are, and, if so, there lies the crux of the argument. If that is the case, it seems it would be arguing over words, and thus 2 Timothy 2:14, it isn’t very profitable.

    • Which reinforces the point I was trying to make in the post, that the issue of conviction of sins is fast becoming an unnecessary shibboleth among Christians.

      • I remember a times where I came under what Biblically, I would term “conviction”.. I was doing wrong, and the Spirit convicted me.. Conviced me.. Proved it to me.. I love that, and I would welcome it any way.. Simply because you might use a different word for that.. I wouldn’t prefer that to call it “correction”, because it was “conviction”.. Specific. I find Biblical and Lexical support for it, even if not direct English dictionary support (although, I bet I would if I found an older English dictionary). It seems like, without expressly explaining your narrow definition, simply saying things like “Holy Spirit doesn’t bring conviction…” is overly confusing.. Again, it’s just arguing over words.. 2 Tim 2:14. I don’t mind the distinction that God doesn’t come to condemn the believer, John 3:16,18, but saying the other, since “convict” is actually a perfectly legitimate word in many people’s words that doesn’t have a stigma of condemnation, is overly ridgid, based upon your own emotional context with that particular word..

      • You might be interested in this post on Biblical correction.

  30. So if guilt and guilty are the wrong words to put there, what is the right word? Also, if the Holy Spirit convicts the world of it’s sins, how is that bad? Before you’re saved you have to realize that you are guilty and you need God to forgive your sins. Peter preaching to the crowds in Acts 3:19 says, “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” The Law is to show us we are unholy and need a holy God. Just a question.

    • The right words are those actually found in the Bible, rather than extra words added by guilt-conscious translators. The Holy Spirit convicts the world “concerning sin because they do not believe in me” – the conviction pertains to Jesus who is the only remedy for sin. The Holy Spirit will always seek to draw your attention to Christ. Yes, it’s good to recognize your sinfulness and your need for forgiveness, but this is the ministry of the law, not the Holy Spirit. If you don’t know the law then your conscience will condemn you. And if you don’t have a conscience then the Accuser will condemn you and so will religion. In this world there is no shortage of fault-finders, but there is only one Spirit of Grace.

  31. I believe the Holy Spirit convicts us of our Righteousness!

    • Convict means to tell of a wrong that was done. Condemn is to sentence or give punishment. I believe the Holy Spirit will tell you about things that you should or shouldn’t have done but that no guilt is assigned to it. More like correction like someone said. It’s more of a do it this way next time. A guilty person deserves punishment but Jesus has already been punished on our behalf.

  32. Hello Paul, I’m kind of new to E2R (1year in)…just want to say I appreciate you for being out the box. This is the truth that Jesus was talking about…keeping it simple and UN–CHURCHIFIED. LOL. I’m looking forward to becoming a partner with E2R!!! Question…I get a sick/heavy feeling in pit of my stomach when hearing sermons at my church, please help! Thanks.

  33. I was very legalistic and doing my best to follow the rules yet fell into the sin of fornication for about a year. I felt horribly condemned and guilty. So much so that I studied the topic nonstop in the bible and online forums. I went to one pastor who said it wasn’t a big deal and we should simply get married. I then went to another pastor who threatened that I wasn’t truly a christian if I was able to do this and my husband definitely wasn’t a christian because he felt no “guilt” and that the sexually immoral go to hell. Yup, that worked. We stopped fornicating for months and then legalized our marriage. Then I went to another pastor who said maybe that was just the “spanking” you needed from God to stop. My questions are…
    1: How come the grace from my first pastor didn’t stop me but the threat did?
    2: How come some christian’s don’t feel “wrong” with committing this sin? How do we even know it is a sin if we aren’t supposed to look at the law? same with homosexuality.
    3: Should you simply ignore the guilt in situations like this? And hope the spirit in you will change your direction?
    4: How do you separate the guilt from the promptings of the spirit?
    HELP! (yes I am aware that is more than 4 questions)

    • 1. The threat worked because fear is a powerful motivator. If I told you that God was going to fry your children unless you sent me $10,000, you might do it. Doesn’t mean I’m speaking the truth though. People use fear because fear works. The problem, however, is it seldom works for long and it doesn’t draw anyone closer to God. It just makes them terrified of the angry god they’ve heard about. It sounds like the first pastor didn’t give you grace at all, but a license to sin. He said it was okay to keep doing it and you kept doing it. No surprises there either.
      2. How do we know what is a sin? Our consciences tell us. More here.
      3 & 4. I have written about guilt here.

  34. So our spirit does not tell us what sin is? But our conscience does? Because I was always taught it was our spirit and if so, why do I have many friends and family members with the Holy Spirit who do not see this as a sin. I don’t think the correct answer is that they do not have the holy spirit because I am so sure they do. I know different people with the same Holy Spirit that have differences on what is or is not sin.
    Also, if I made such a huge decision (marriage) while my faith was shipwrecked, did I simply just ruin my life. That is how I feel at times. I prayed for God to do His will with the relationship and all that happened is more people encouraged me towards marriage. I know my conscience was scarred so it was hard for me to know what was God and what was myself with the anxiety I had. Yet everyone encouraged me that this was the right choice and God never stopped it even when I prayed over and over for Him to.

    • Sam, haha. That’s every man’s feelings. No worries. You’re a lucky man. The good news is we get what we don’t deserve and that is what changes us. Stretch your “shoulds” out. Relax with God. Glad tidings to you today and everyday.

      If I could have done my marriage over again, I would have probably read one book and not read another but so what. It’s good questions that lead to good places. You’re doing everything right by reading this site.

    • Sam, remember that Christ will never let go of you. Remember that in Him you are eternally forgiven. That’s how the apostle explained that we will be productive and strong in your personal faith.

  35. Thank you sonofgod. Your words have really given me a peace. I feel as though God always tries to remind me I cant “out mistake” His love. I feel horrible for people still stuck under the law not even realizing how loved they are. Freedom in Christ finally makes sense! You taking the time to encourage me is greatly appreciated.

  36. And by the way Paul, this is a good post. Something has told me twice now to read this post everyday.

  37. Shaun mcCarthy // February 3, 2018 at 8:12 pm // Reply

    Hi Paul
    I was just wondering in john 16v8 he says he convicts the world of sin ,wouldn’t that mean he convicts the non believer at conversion that 1 time ?

  38. Hi Paul. This is a great article, but I’m a bit confused. Although convicting the believer of righteousness seems much more correct, in Hebrews 12:5 I can’t help but wonder if conviction of sin might make more sense in this case. Although God won’t shame you for your failures (I read your other articles on the Holy Spirit’s correction) since these verses are talking about the “rebuke” of the Lord, wouldn’t the Lord exposing your error make more sense than showing you your righteousness? Not just that, but the alternate meanings of elechgo “rebuke” and “reprove”, how could this fit in with God shining light on our righteousness?

    • The context is opposition to the gospel (Heb 12:3) and the possibility of “shedding blood” for the gospel (v.4). The danger is not that they might fail to endure and be cast off as sons, but they might “grow weary and lose heart” (v.3). The author of Hebrews is saying, “Look at this as training. This wouldn’t be happening to you except that you are God’s sons. So while persecution is no fun, and it is certainly not from God, it is a sign that you are his son and that’s a good thing.”

      The writer is saying that they are learning things as a result of this difficult time (v.7). Again, God is not the one persecuting them. But as a result of persecution they are learning something. This experience is producing a harvest of righteousness and peace (v.11). Therefore, encourage one another (v.12-13), pursue peace with all (v.14), and see to it that no one misses out on the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to defile many (v.15).

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