How Does the Holy Spirit Convict Us?

blinded by light“Through the law,” says the mixed-grace preacher. “It is by God’s law that we are convicted. When you sin, the Holy Spirit will remind you of God’s holy commands and show you the way to go.”

The Bible says you are not under law, but grace. But if we get rid of the law, how will we know how to please the Lord? How will the Holy Spirit set us on the straight and narrow? Or to use a recent example I read on Charisma News, how will we know it’s a bad idea to steal from Walmart?

The mixed-grace preacher says the law shows us the way of life. Yet the hyper-grace preacher Paul said the law ministers death (2 Cor. 3:7). Something doesn’t add up.

The mixed-grace preacher describes the Holy Spirit as a Spirit of law, but the writer of Hebrews said he is the Spirit of grace (Heb 10:29). Again, something doesn’t add up.

I have heard people say they were convicted of sin while reading the law and that this caused them to run to God in repentance. These experiences testify to the true ministry of the law—it helps us recognize sin and our need for grace. But the law is not the Holy Spirit and the Spirit of Grace does not minister to you through the law.

The ministry that brought death, … was engraved in letters on stone… If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! (2 Cor 3:7-9)

Look into the mirror of the law and you will feel condemned, every time. That’s what the law does. It points out your faults and failings. But that is not what the Holy Spirit does. That is not the more glorious ministry that brings righteousness.

When you sin it takes no faith to look into the mirror of the law and agree that you made a mess. It takes faith to listen to the Holy Spirit and agree that in Christ you are as righteous and holy as he is! This is the good news that turns sinners into saints. This is the startling revelation that empowers you to go and sin no more.

How does the Spirit of grace convict us?

A law-conscious preacher will define conviction (elegcho in John 16:8) as fault-finding and rebuke. But an interpretation of conviction which is more consistent with the Holy Spirit’s gracious character is expose, or bring into the light. (More here.)

law vs Holy Spirit

How does the Holy Spirit convict us? He does it by turning on the lights, not to shame you (Jesus carried your shame), but to show you the way to life. Ian Thomas describes it like this:

The Holy Spirit is like a man with a lamp entering a dark and dirty room, and what you have learned to live with in the dark becomes repugnant in the light.

Think of Saul on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:3). By his own account he was chief of sinners. Then the lights went on and he became a different man.

I have written elsewhere about the need for a new covenant definition of conviction, one that does not emphasize your badness but God’s goodness and grace.

But the simple fact is the Holy Spirit will never convict you of your sin. When you sin, your conscience may condemn you, the law will condemn you, the judge and jury may condemn you, the religious may condemn you, and the devil will certainly condemn you, but against the chorus of condemners stands the sweet Holy Spirit who defends you and draws you to grace.

The Holy Spirit’s conviction has nothing to do with your sin and everything to do with God’s grace. It’s not about the bad thing you’ve done but the good thing he wants to do in you right now.

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118 Comments on How Does the Holy Spirit Convict Us?

  1. Zach Maldonado // September 25, 2014 at 12:39 am // Reply

    Great word Paul! I have been extremely blessed by your ministry! Bless you brother!

    • Warren Murray (South Carolina) // May 3, 2015 at 4:26 am // Reply

      Awesome post. So glad to have found this Escape To Reality site. Sign me up Paul!!! Blessings multiplied back, Warren (South Carolina)

      • Thanks, Warren, and welcome. Unfortunately I cannot sign you up. You have to do it yourself on this page. Thanks.

      • Warren (South Carolina) // May 4, 2015 at 11:36 am //

        I knew that Paul. “Sign me up Paul!!!” was Just a figure of speech to try and convey humor and my excitement for having found this website. Kinda like “beam me up Scotty!!!” but you may not appreciate it if your under 40 or so. Glad to be here, and my iPad has this website (escape to reality) saved as a favorite.

        I also appreciate Jim Richards and Andrew Wommack. . . .feels like I have been searching for Jim and Andrew and yourself most of my 33 years as a believer/disciple of Jesus Christ, especially since He got me out of the churches of Christ in Texas about 27 years ago. I was 23 when I “got saved”.

        Currently worship/attend a southern baptist church with my beautiful wife Mary. Feels like the Lord has me there for a purpose, and that I am to share the gospel with my fellow baptist believers in a non-confrontational and loving way that does not take offense with them when they disagree with the gospel truth of His righteousness in exchange for all our sin. Almost like I am “undercover” so to speak.

        Blessings!
        Warren

  2. This is awesome Paul! I had a problem Once I stopped believing that Holy Spirit is a tormentor to make the person realize how awful they were. When someone would wrong me, I felt frustrated that I couldn’t pray for the Holy Spirit to smack them till they repented. But this is completely awesome and loving. Holy Spirit will keep showing them who they are and hopefully eventually love will be awakened in them.

  3. Fabulous post Paul!

  4. glad you wrote this, this cuts to the core of many of the arguments and such that never stop about grace

  5. Wow! Wow! Wow! Good explanation. I am blessed by this post!

  6. Paul,

    I do not agree with this article, and is contrary to my experience with God.

    Many years ago, I tried to pull a massive trick on a friend – it was a convoluted trick, intricate in planning, and involved several layers of deception. I had also roped in another female friend to assist me in pulling off this trick – all in good fun, I thought.

    But then one night at a Bible study – we were going through Romans Chapter 1, and while I read Romans 1:28-32, I came under massive conviction that what I was doing to my friend was wrong.

    I’m quite adept at self-justification – it’s just a trick, what harm could it do? But the conviction was so intense, that none of my attempts at self-justification could stand.

    Immediately after the Bible study, my friend and I went outside – and I told him the truth of the whole situation. I confessed to him my wrong doing, including the “clever” ways I had tried to deceive him.

    He had no clue about all of this, and he was quite shaken when he heard my confession. He accepted the apology. He was not a Christian then, and I was trying to lead him to Christ too. I realized that if the trick had went ahead, it could have done tremendous damage to his perception of Christianity and affected his pursuit of God. God had saved me from creating a disaster.

    The law is our tutor to Christ (Gal 3:4). My conscience at that time was not fully attuned to God, and God used His Word to show me my wrongdoing. Otherwise I would have remained mired in self-justification, justifying that my “trick” was all in good fun – and dealt tremendous damage to my friend and his view of Christianity.

    I believe my experience with God convicting me of sin is an example of proper usage of the law (1 Tim 1:8).

    True conviction of sin lead us to God, to embrace His forgiveness and His love. It does not lead to shame and condemnation, for they are removed when I turn to Christ and behold His face. God’s aim is not to condemn, it is always to heal and to restore.

    • I’m sorry but this does not sit well with me. I’ve been set free, and I can’t go back into the cage of a rebuking finger-pointer.

      • Roshaneaso,

        Conviction is not the same as condemnation. This is reflected in Scripture having two different words for them.

        Conviction of sin leads us to Jesus, who is the antidote to our problems. And there is no condemnation for those who are in Him.

    • Paul Ellis wrote: “These experiences testify to the true ministry of the law—it helps us recognize sin and our need for grace. But the law is not the Holy Spirit and the Spirit of Grace does not minister to you through the law.”

      The first sentence is definitely correct.

      However, I do not agree with the second sentence. John 16:8-11 speaks of the Holy Spirit convicting of sin (and of righteousness and of judgement) – and He can and does use the law to achieve that, always wielding it correctly as our tutor to Christ. The law originated from Him after all!

      • Hi John, do you have any scriptures to show the Holy Spirit uses the law to convict us of sin?

      • I did a search and here are some verses:

        1. John 16:8-11. The sentences mention the Holy Spirit’s role in conviction of sin. It doesn’t explicitly mention whether the law is used, but doesn’t rule that out either.

        2. 2 Timothy 3:16 – “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” (cross-referenced with

        The Greek word for “reproof” here is “elegmon”, which is related to “elegchos” and “elegcho” – the Greek words for conviction. When Paul wrote this, the New Testament canon had yet to be compiled. So by “Scripture”, he is having the Old Testament in mind, which includes the Mosaic law).

        Let us remember that the essence of the law is sum up in the two great commandments – loving God, and loving our neighbour. So when the law is used for conviction (NOT condemnation), it is about “exposing” and “shining the light” (as you put it in your article) on our deeds.

        Note that this is not the same as “putting us under law” – that is never God’s intention. Conviction is not so that we would live under law, but that we would come to Christ and live under Him.

        3. Titus 1:9 – “…holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.” Similar to #2. The word “convict” here is also the same as that used in #1.

        4. James 2:5-12. One way of reading this verses is that James is using “the royal law according to the Scripture” – “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” – to show that why showing partiality is sin.

        He mentions some of the ten commandments, so it is clear that James had the law of the Old Testament in mind when he wrote this. But his goal is not to bring the readers of his letter under law – because he speaks and affirms “the law of liberty” in verse 12. He encourages them to speak and act as men who have been freed by Christ.

      • None of those scriptures connects the Holy Spirit with the law. If the Spirit of Grace ministered with the law, he would be lukewarm.

      • But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion, wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions. But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted. (‭1 Timothy‬ ‭1‬:‭5-11‬ NASB)

      • Paul Ellis,

        You have not shown from Scripture that: (i) the Holy Spirit never convicts us of sin (which is contrary to John 16:8); (ii) that He never uses the law (which is summarized as: loving God; and loving our neighbour) to convict us of sin.

        The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth. He leads us into all truth, and there is truth in the law. It reflects the truth of God’s moral standard, ultimately summed up in the two great commandments.

        As someone once wrote: “Conviction from the Holy Spirit in the believer is there to draw into a closer relationship with the Lord, to deal with issues that may prevent this relationship from deepening. The problem with a lot of Christians is that when the Holy Spirit convicts, they start feeling condemned and get bound up with guilt.”

        By the way – in my previous list, I missed out on another verse:

        Romans 7:7 – “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.””

        Applying Romans 7:7 – if I were to grow up in a culture where fornication is accepted, covetousness is encouraged and homosexuality is morally OK, and I were to ask God what His views were on these moral issues – surely He is free to use the law in the Old Testament to show me His mind on these issues. That perfectly aligns with Paul’s experience, who was taught by the law that covetousness was sin.

        There is nothing in Scripture which prohibits God from using the law and the Old Testament (He wrote them after all). Let us not put God and His workings in a box.

      • John, you are confusing a number of issues. No one is saying the law is sin or that fornication is a good idea. No one is saying the law isn’t good if used properly and it’s proper use is to lead you to Christ (Gal 3:24).

        What I am saying is the glorious ministry of the law that condemns sinners and ministers death, ought not to be confused with the more glorious ministry of the Spirit that gives life to the dead and righteousness to the sinner. Jesus condemns no one, yet the law condemns everyone (Rom 3:19). The Spirit of Christ is not the law. In Christ, there is no condemnation (Rom 8:1); outside of Christ there is nothing but condemnation (John 3:17). The idea that the Holy Spirit convicts the believer of sin with the law is a manmade teaching that has no basis in scripture.

    • Actually, John, this fits perfectly with this post. Your sin was exposed to you when you were in denial before you could do anything you would later deeply regret or hurt someone else in a terrible way. You were not condemned, the Holy Spirit lead you to do the right thing before it was to late. He was helping you. Despite your great self-denial you were “brought to the light” and “it was repugnant” to you.

      • Yes, Hank – you are right!!

        God’s conviction is not to condemn us. Neither does He use the law to put us under it. His aim is so that we would come to Jesus, and embrace His love… to live in Him and under Him!

      • Eric Commodore // April 21, 2016 at 1:17 pm //

        For the law was given unto Moses but Grace and Truth come through Jesus , In Jesus there is no law only Grace and Truth so the Holy Spirit who is with us in The Name of Jesus don’t testify about the law , The Holy Spirit Testify about Grace and Truth, Grace is opposite to The law , in that if its by works its not of Grace and vice versa , However the Bible specifically and emphatically stated that , The Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin not believers of Sin, So where from this teaching that , The Holy Spirit convicts believers of sin (unbelief) , That teaching is devilish an obstacle to keep people under the law so that they will not be saved,

    • Hi John,

      It may be a matter of what you are calling “conviction of sin” is really the Holy Spirit’s reminder/affirming to you of who you are in Christ and what the love of God looks like. Trickery and deception is inconsistent with your new nature and the Spirit of grace, so you may say that was convicting of sin, but I see very clearly that the Holy Spirit convicted you of your righteousness!; Who you are (identity) not what you shouldn’t do(behavior). When we see ourselves as Jesus declared, a chosen people, royal priests, beloved of our Abba Father and the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus by faith, then we may find ourselves in situations saying and doing things and you hear on the inside, “You are righteous. You are holy. You are beloved.” If what we are doing doesn’t fit that identity, then our mind is renewed to the truth (repentance -to change your mind) and we decide to behave according to who we are and choose differently based on seeing the light of the truth. SO you have very masterfully demonstrated the ministry of the Holy Spirit. He embraces us and reminds us of who we are now that Jesus is inside of us. What a glorious ministry indeed. This has nothing to do with sin and everything to do with the Glory of God that is our hope because of Christ in us!

      • The spirit of the law is the lay you flat on your back, like Paul on the way to Damascus, and grind your soul with the revelation of your complete inadequacy and inability to be right with God, Your complete absence of goodness and the wretched presence of your sin, and to minister death to you who have not been born again. The letter kills and the Spirit gives life (2 Corin 3:6). This is absolutely not the ministry of the Holy Spirit. He is not here to kill believers or lead you to death. He is not here to administer death to unbelievers. He is called the Comforter. His ministry is to lead people to Jesus (unbelievers) and, once you receive him, to come along side you for the remainder of your life on earth and remind you over and over who you are because Christ is in you (believers). The law was not given to destroy people, but sin taking opportunity by the commandment(law)(Romans 7:8), does indeed lead to death as seen in the Garden. God has a purpose for the law and so the devil uses it for his own purpose. His (The Spirit) use leads to the One who can save (Jesus)….the Devil uses it to complete his work of death(stealing, killing, and destroying). Thank the Lord for his wisdom that we may discern and experience the life giving spirit that is Christ and embrace the goodness of God towards his sons. I used to hate the law until I saw the mercy of God to use it to lead unbelieving people to life! That’s the key….if you are a believer, the law of Moses or any derivative of it is not for you. We are to walk in the Spirit of grace(the law of liberty and the law of the Spirit of life). We’ve been set free for freedom and advised to no longer allow ourselves to come under any yoke of bondage! Whom the Son has set free, is free indeed!!! Free to follow the Spirit of Life! Hosanna! Hosanna! Glory be to God in the Highest!

        We can trust the Holy Spirit!!! He is God and loves his children. We can have confidence in the Spirit of grace and the promises of the New Covenant to produce the holy life God desires in His people(#Barry below). We are so blessed to be sons of God!

      • So, when you are presented with the opportunity to do something that is clearly sinful, what do you do if you yield to that temptation? Do you not agree that resisting the Spirit of God is yielding to the Devil? When we must learn to overcome our evil nature, by yielding to the Holy Spirit — and resisting the Devil? So, those who preach and teach that Christians can FORGET about obeying the Law…are they not teaching a false Gospel?

      • No. Those who preach and teach that we should forget the law are not preaching a false gospel. Relationship and law stand in opposition. The law leaves you at the foot of the cross to repent. What happens after that is very different.

      • Hi Sam,

        In response to your question, the Gospel is not a new list of things that we must do. There is no yielding involved in working a “to do” list. The Gospel is about what Jesus did for you. The Spirit is always witnessing to His completed work. So yielding to the Spirit would be putting aside your filthy rags (self effort) and trusting in the perfect work of Jesus. When we yield to or trust in His completed work, His life flows in us and produces His fruit. He is the vine and it is His life that produces the fruit of the Spirit. Our efforts to keep the law is the work of the flesh and produces the fruit of the flesh. Our faith in our flesh assumes that without our efforts to keep the law, sin would flourish, but our self effort cannot produce life. He is the source of life, not me, my good works, or a list of laws. He’s a good Father, trust Him.

  7. Amen, Paul! And we have to remind ourselves of this daily! And that is called faith, and “stirring up the gift”.

  8. This post makes perfect sense. The only thing that would cause me not to believe this would be a fear of sin that is not based on Scripture or maybe some need to fight an enemy that is already defeated.

  9. humbleheart72 // September 25, 2014 at 5:59 am // Reply

    amen❤

  10. The roots of this bogus teaching that the Holy Spirit used the law to bring conviction of sin does not come from the orthodox doctrines of the apostles or early fathers but is more recently introduced and popularized by Charles Finney. Finney would be considered a heretic and a a “dog” by the Apostle Paul because, like the early church Judaiazers, he had no confidence in the Spirit of grace and the promises of the New Covenant to produce the holy life God desires in His people.
    Vis- a return to a mixture of grace and law to keep Gods people in check ( and in prison!)

  11. The testimony given of the Early American Finneyan revivalists of the preaching of the law being accompanied by powerful spiritual conviction of sin and powerful spiritual encounters was in reality produced produced NOT by the Spirit of Grace but by counterfeit religious elementary spirits of the world. Many contemporary “revivalists” covet the spiritual power that accompanied Finneys preaching because it gives the preacher a sense of personal empowerment and a reputation of being a man of influence and power. But make no mistake about it friends- this is a counterfeit spirit of the world because it is a spirit of law and not the Spirit of Grace.
    “So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental spirits of the world. But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” (‭Galatians‬ ‭4‬:‭3-5‬).
    In out day of the idolatrous pursuit of personal spiritual empowerment the modern preachers are easy targets of deception from these elementary spirits of the world.

  12. Absolutely the gospel truth! That would go against the main character of God himself which is love. Love… Keeps no record of wrongs.” He Can’t find fault in a spotless bride! As any good father does train us and teach us by bringing us into the glorious, Soothing bath of his kind and generous gospel Word.

    The Holy Spirit pointing out sin is an oxymoron. It’s the same thing as saying God brings about pain and punishment into peoples lives because of the things that they are doing. These are strongholds that exalt themselves against the true and pure knowledge of the goodness of the living God! Barriers that keep us from seeing Him in all his goodness and walking in his miraculous power!

    • M&M. You are right in that God will not punish a believer in that Jesus has paid for it, but to say in His love for us that he may NOT cause pain or rebuke us about our sin is NOT scriptural. Or do you think that only the apostles rebuked other Christians for sin and it never came from the Holy Spirit. The Bible is the Word or God. Their are some pastors who preach that God will GENTLY correct you only. Really? Sometimes yes and sometimes no. First of all it is subjective. What may be felt by you as a gentle correction may be very sorrowful and painful to someone else as the scriptures say. I wouldn’t put a box around how much God loves us. Some people will right away say something like “are you telling me a loving father would put his child’s hand in fire to teach him” When I read comments like that I just have to shake my head. Thanks for your post. In Christ!

  13. excellent!
    and so true – love the ian thomas quote… and the Holy Spirit is nothing like gallagher😉

  14. For the sake of discussion, I want to ask a question that has been asked to me multiple times:

    “So do we no longer need the ten commandments?”

    • But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, (‭I Timothy‬ ‭1‬:‭8‬ NKJV)
      There is an enormous difference between using the Law (the inspired Torah /Old Testament Law and Prophets ) to “correct , rebuke, exhort ” etc and promoting a return to living by the principle of law- which in essence is self effort motivated by the fear of divine judgement or rejection.
      Paul used the Torah continually as a means of revealing Gods standard for love, practical righteousness and behavioral holiness but Paul vehemently opposed using the law to secure it maintain divine favor or blessings. Here is a perfect example of Paul using the law “lawfully”:
      What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” (‭Romans‬ ‭7‬:‭7‬ NKJV)

      • As Paul explains in that passage, the purpose of the law is to inflame sin and make the law-keeper wretched, so that he might see his need for Grace.

    • Fort me the 10 commandments issue was decided with me when I realized that scripture calls the 10 Cs the old covenant . See Deuteronomy 4:13, 9:9 and Hebrews 8:8-13

    • Would you prefer your children to relate to you by keeping rules or to live out a relationship of love with you that determines their action in every given situation?
      God wants us to be assured of His heart towards us only when we are will we lives of joy dependent on His Grace.
      That is what God would really have us DO.
      I pray this speaks to you brother.
      Blessings.

  15. Hey John
    Pls read 1Timothy 1-9.
    Dont take bible out of context
    .Paul tks for your sharing.
    It bless me.Amen

    • My short answer is no we don’t. First, did anyone really EVER need to be told not to steal, or murder? If those things were never written, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t do them anyway. So, in the sense of needing rules to follow or a moral guide, no.

      I had a friend who was upset that we don’t spend enough time preaching morality in our church, and I could only ask, “What do you think people are going to do, if we don’t preach it?” I don’t believe for a moment we will go to Walmart to steal something, as you referenced earlier.

      When I was much younger, I meditated on “the law” for a while to see if I could find some use for it beyond making me realize I can’t do it and I need a savior. Starting with “Love God with your whole heart, mind and soul, and love your neighbor as yourself,” I came to a conclusion. Since what I just quoted summarizes the whole law, I decided that sin is selfishness. You can either put God first or you first. Then I saw that all of the prohibitions in the ten commandments are things you do when you put yourself ahead of others. So rather than try to follow a bunch of rules, I try to keep God first. When I am doing that, sin becomes an impediment to my goals. That law has made itself irrelevant.

  16. John 16:8-11 used to trip me up all the time until I began to get MY interpretation of it out of the way. The Holy Spirit does convict the “world” of sin (not the saint) … and He convicts (convinces) the saint that he is Righteous (because Jesus won’t be here to remind them) … and judgment …
    When I hear the word Convict anymore, I cringe. I am beginning to allow myself to step away from the legalistic life/thinking I’ve been entrapped in (it has been difficult to be willing to put “what I thought I knew to be true” aside and for MY foundation to possibly be shaken. But when I started “hearing” Grace versus Law – I mean really “HEARING” … I began to be set free. I am so glad the Holy Spirit is here to Convince me I’m righteous (if I’m in Christ) because everything else around me (including my own thoughts) try to convict/convince me otherwise.
    I love this post! There was I time I would have despised it! Reading it cause me to stop and Praise God! Jesus – please keep revealing to me what you did for me!❤

  17. John 16:7-11 says it CLEARLY that the Holy Spirit ONLY convicts BELIEVERS of RIGHTEOUSNESS! “Believer” in what?: that God has counted ALL your sins agianst Jesus (in your place)! So of course if you are not believing in that TRUTH, then you will be convicted of sin, cuz the only way to avoid God’s judgement is to believe that the presious blood of His Son has CLEANSED you from ALL unrighteousness!! halelujah!!…

    John 16:7-11
    7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
    8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
    9 Of sin, because they believe not on me;
    10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;
    11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

    ENJOY God’s Grace!!!!!!

    • Uh….where in that passage do you see that the Holy Spirit only convicts believers of their righteousness (in Christ)? I do not see that there at all.

      • momzilla76 // January 17, 2016 at 7:54 am //

        The Comforter will do 3 things mentioned there in John. 1) reprove the world of sin v8 “because they believe not” v9 2) of righteousness v8 “and ye see me no more” v9 Number 2 here is clearly speaking to believers not the world. 3) judgement for the prince of the world.
        Going by plain reading= the world will be convicted of their sinfulness and the “ye”, aka believers in Jesus, will be convicted of their righteousness.

  18. For a long time I felt like the Holy Spirit was like the cricket from Walt Disney movie telling me my conscience should be my guide. He was sit and tweet at me every time I thought of sinning. But the Holy Spirit is not the good angel on my shoulder while the devil is on the other.

    Those who focus on sin (theirs and others) after we have received the grace of God througb Christ, are not doing what Jesus taught. He said ” if I be lifted up I shall draw all unto me” not if you point out sin. Yes…we must recognize our state prior to receiving Christ. But sinful is what I once was…past tense. I am now a holy nation…God, s special possession.

    • For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, (‭Titus‬ ‭2‬:‭11-12‬ NASB)
      Grace not only teaches us to see ourselves as righteous and to say yes to love – Clearly this text SAYS the grace if God teaches us to say “NO” to sin.
      What does that look like ? It looks like this: “Don’t do that- it’s sin!”

      • So grace = law?🙂

      • I see this text saying that grace teaches us to say no to ungodly desires ( sin) -that’s not law. I see grace in this verse not as an impersonal principle but as Jesus living in us speaking to us and motivating us to say no to sin- so therefore grace teaching us to say no to sin is a actually Jesus Himself teaching us to say no to sin. How is that law?

      • Because “Don’t do that- it’s sin!” is a sin-focused command. It reminds me of how Paul illustrates the law in Romans 7 and Colossians 2:21ff. Jesus said the Holy Spirit would guide us towards something (Truth) not away from something (sin). He draws and inspires and guides and as we respond we inevitably leave the old way behind. I have found that saying no to sin is not as effective as leading me away from sin as saying yes to Jesus. Saying no to sin leads me to rely on my resolve, which is weak, while saying yes to Jesus leads me to rely on he who is strong.

        I am reminded of something Spurgeon said: “Repentance will not make you see Christ; but to see Christ will give you repentance.” The Holy Spirit doesn’t point to our sins, he points to Jesus. And when you see Jesus you repent. It’s the same dynamic in Titus 2: grace comes first. We reject the inferior ways of the world not because we have been told to, but because we have been offered something far better.

      • I agree with you on that Paul. I was thinking more along the lines of emphasizing that grace teaches us to say no to ungodly desires and what that practically looks like in our everyday lives . Namely that grace not only teaches to say yes to the good but also to say no to ungodly desires. I owned a Porsche 911 which had astounding power for acceleration and agility in forward momentum. But all that forward momentum would have been not only incomplete but deadly without its massive brakes to slow down and to stop when required . Gods grace is like that – it has both powerful motivation to propel us into loving Jesus and others but grace also has powerful ability to warn us of ungodly desires and to say no to them. Titus 2:11-12 mentions saying “No” to ungodly desires BEFORE it mentions grace enabling us to live upright self controlled and godly lives. Grace is for saying no to sin FIRST – then it is for saying yes to Gods will.

      • Paul Ellis: you are twisting what Barry says to allow your conscience to become “dead.” As believers we are to walk in the Spirit “….and ye SHALL NOT FULFIL THE LUSTS OF THE FLESH.” Why would those words even BE THERE if God did not want us to understand the truth: that “….he that is born of God SINNETH NOT…”????? I don’t have the references for these verses but the Spirit of God is giving me them. Please, listen to what He is saying and what Barry is saying. If you are not set free by the TRUTH, you are living a lie. “Be careful, lest ye FAIL of the grace of God.” The warnings to all — not just unbelievers — are in the New Testament for a reason.

      • Hi Adam, I don’t want to put words in Pauls mouth but I don’t think he is saying here or anywhere for that matter, that grace doesn’t involve saying “no” to sin (Titus) that grace means we never are commanded to resist temptation to sin (I Cor 10:13)or that grace means we don’t ever struggle against sinning (Heb 12:4) What I think Paul is saying in this article is that this passage from Jn 16 (or any other passage for that matter) is NOT saying that Holy Spirit points out or reminds believerd of their sins.
        He does however motivate and empower believers to say no to sin and ungodliness and Holy Spirit does help believers in their temptation to sin (Heb. 2:18) but clearly He NEVER points out or brings guilt over believers sins. Rather the Scriptures are clear on this: “He remembers our sin no more” (Heb. 8; and He “does not take into account our sins” (Rom 4:8) and He “has forgiven us all our sins” (Eph 1). This bears repeating again: The only relationship Holy Spirit has with sin as it relates to believers is to give us grace to say no to sin (Titus) and to help those who are being tempted to sin (Heb 2).
        But motive is also everything here. Why do you want to avoid sin? If it’s because you are afraid of losing your favor with God that is not an acceptable motive because you are not favored by God by your performance but by JESUS death alone. Fear is never an acceptable motive for avoiding sin. Only one motive for avoiding sin is biblical and acceptable to God- that motive is because you love Him and you love those whom your sin hurts. Avoiding sin for self centred narcissistic reasons is the essence of sin itself. More believers sin against God and the gospel by embracing a selfish fear based motive for avoiding sin than any other way men sin. This is the greatest sin – the sin of unbelief !

  19. Michael Jenkins // September 26, 2014 at 10:33 am // Reply

    Amen He does not convict us of sin( He choose not to remember it NO MORE!). He convicts( convinces) us of our right standing with God. ( St John 16:8-9)

    This is t the good news!

  20. Thank you Paul, this was such a refreshing and rejuvenating post . It really gave me another ‘aha’ moment when reading it!

  21. “The Holy Spirit’s conviction has nothing to do with your sin and everything to do with God’s grace. It’s not about the bad thing you’ve done but the good thing he wants to do in you right now.”

    As imperfect parents we – when a child does wrong – address that wrong but the do-not is (we try to make it this way) a stepping stone to some other, larger reality which is the Do, or the Good. God, who is the perfect parent, interacts with us in all our do-nots but unlike us He has that larger reality which is up ahead about forty steps where we can’t even imagine stuff being and He’s already feeding us food for that larger Good up ahead out of sight when He is right there in the middle of dealing with us on our do-nots. If sin was the “issue”, or the “aim”, or the “target”, then there need be no new creation. But there is a new creation – and a Wedding, and His Will just is His Pleasure which just is His Wisdom which just is His Work which just is His Word to us in and through every nanosecond. God is not confused. Nor distracted. Seriously. Sin is a passing paradigm, a fading entity, and the thought that He would interact with His beloved, His child all wrapped up in some other fading some-thing rather than His delight, His child’s final good, is to speak of God as not only a bit confused, not only sin-focused, but even forgetful about the actual nature of His Own Creation.

    Condemn? No.

    Convict, Enlighten? Always.

    Because that is what Immutable Love does.

  22. Paul,

    As a recovering pharisee, a damaged legalist, I just want to thank you for your work – and for allowing Him to open up such tall, bright windows through which that light, grace, beams through, filling up the room. People matter. He matters. It’s easy to miss the obvious in our absurd resume’ building, our OCD rule-keeping. But He catches us. All is Grace.

    • Thank you, scblhrm.

    • I’m reminded that the 5th (number for grace) letter of the Hebrew language is pictured by a window. Paul, your posts are without a doubt opening the window for the face of our Father to shine through (as we see in the face of Jesus Christ). BTW-Paul, I pray that doors of utterance will continue to open for you.

  23. Wade Morrison // September 26, 2014 at 3:01 pm // Reply

    John 16:7-13 KJV
    Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
    And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
    Of sin, because they believe not on me;
    Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;
    Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

    I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

    Seems plain?
    nonbelievers of sin?
    believers of righteousness?
    everyone of Satan’s judgement?

    Thoughts?

    Wade M.

  24. I also thank you for your work, but those who really need to understand this – are not willing to read such truth! …and it seems so difficult to get the truth to them – through the veil of the Law that is on their heart. We keep on trying… praying and believing for them!

  25. Paul,i would appreciate your input(and others as well).IN this discussion,numerous times it has been stated that the Law was our tutor to lead us to Christ. Some,actually said(wrongly I believe) IS our tutor.I have several thoughts on this…first of all,as a non-Jew,I have never been under the Mosaic Law.I think when the apostle Paul says “our”,he is referring to fellow Israelites.In Ephesians 2,Paul describes Gentiles(who were never under the Mosaic Law),as separate from Christ,excluded from citizenship in Israel,foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.He then goes on to tell how Christ is our peace,making the two one,by abolishing in His flesh the law with its commandments and regulations.In light of this,and Galatians3:25 which says now that faith has come we are no longer under the supervision of the Law….it seems foolish to me our many “uses”of the Law.If we are no longer under its supervision,that means its unnecessary…not needed. We dont need it to lead us to Christ,we are allready IN Christ.Also, it seems odd to me that we think we need to use the Law to lead unbelievers to Christ.To me,thats very backwards and confusing. If Grace saves me,keeps me,teaches me….why in the world would i use the Law to help an unbeliever see Christ?

    • The Greek word that is sometimes translated tutor is padagaigos from memory. It does not mean tutor in the sense that we understand the word. It denotes a type of servant in Roman times who’s job it was to take the kids from home to school, a nanny or guardian, if you like. The law is not your tutor; Jesus is.

      • Thank you Paul.Sorry I was not real clear with what i was asking.Your last sentence…the law is not your tutor,Jesus is….basically answered my question

    • I’m with you on that Daryl on every point you make . This is what Paul says about us Gentiles. Where in this is there ever any mention Gentiles must first come under law in this:

      Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so-called “Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands- remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. (‭Ephesians‬ ‭2‬:‭11-13‬ NASB)

      For us Gentiles it’s not first law then Christ- it’s first blood of Christ then nothing!

  26. Hello, i appreciate these posts and discussions for they are bringing me into more light of grace after a million days in religon believes.
    If i may ask
    1.as daryl says,If the law was for the jews,how comes the non jews and those who insist in observing the law included in observing it or do they get included after receiving Jesus Christ?
    2.If a believer fornicates or masturbates or such things, what’s the lens to look at it?
    I appreciate your feedback and comments

  27. Paul brings Christ to the Gentiles as the A, the Middle, and the Z. The Gentile passes from darkness into Christ’s means, Christ’s ends, and bypass Moses.

    God establishes Moses as a Covenant and God has decided that the New has done away with the Old (Hebrews). The Hebrews needed to hear that. The Gentiles – having never been given that Covenant, didn’t.

    Scripture defines the OT as useful for perspective. Now, the stuff of “perspective” is a very, very different reality than the stuff of means and the stuff of ends.

    Give us the OT for that Protoevangelium described in Genesis 3:14-18 which actualizes in John 3:14-18. The OT speaks of Christ. Do not give us the OT as our means to the ends of our New Nature – our head in the lap of our Father.

    We trust Law in us – because we can measure it there in our skins. We doubt Christ in us because we cannot measure anything, because there is no measuring to be done – because everything turns out to be beyond measure, without measure. That is just what All-Sufficient Grace literally means. We squirm there – it’s uncomfortable – all that trusting in something we just can’t measure in our skins – in some-thing or in Some-one over there, out there that is separate from our skins rather than in the measurable stuff of Law’s measurable lines inside our own measurable skins. This is not bad news! Christ in us just is immeasurably glorious news!

  28. Hi Paul. The Holy Spirit reminds us who we are in Christ and teaches us through His word. And yes He will point out sin but of course not to condemn but to conform and to delight in His ways. A friend of mine told me a story about a young couple who both became born again. They were living together at the time and continued on. Some of the church members became concerned over their “living in sin” and went to the pastor. He told them, that if the new couple were truly born again, the Holy Spirit would point this out to them. Let it be and let The Holy Spirit work in their live as they continue to listen and read His word the pastor said. Sure enough several months later, through scripture they realized that as an unmarried couple they should not continue in that immorality. One of them moved out until they were married. Yes they realized who they were in Christ and Yes the Holy Spirit did point out their sin just like He has with countless others of my Spirit-filled friends. Thanks again.

    • We had a similar story in our church. Both are great testimonies of how grace changes us. People are not changed because well-meaning Christians hammer them with the law; they are changed when they encounter grace.

      I imagine we would not be sharing these stories if both couples had been judged and condemned as sinners.

      • Joe Castillo // October 2, 2014 at 1:29 am //

        Paul, thank you and the others who posted! peaceful thinking to exposed more the truth about Grace=the lord Jesus Christ!
        I pray that those Christians leaders, pastors,etc..must read your post so that their premises in the pulpit be renewed! “as you cited” mixed carrots and stick.
        Roman 6:14 ” For sin shall not be your master because you are not under law, but under grace”.
        God blessed you more!
        Joe Castillo – Philippines

  29. If Christianity were some kind moral way of living life then the Law may be of some value and the Spirit of God may have been in the habit of pointing out and convicting men of their sins and moral failures BUT Christianity is not THAT. Christianity is Christ living out His own unique life in His people on their behalf by grace alone. Jesus Christ does not need anyone to teach Him what sin is or what Gods moral standards are in order to live His life in us. The knowledge of good and evil is only needed in the old unredeemed and unreconciled Adamic humanity. Whenever we feel compelled to become aware of sin and insist on wanting God to make us aware of our sin it is a symptom we are still attempting to usurp Gods Messiah in our lives by establishing our own righteousness through self effort living. This then becomes the essence of sin- and the ONLY sin the Holy Spirit convinces men of:
    “When He the Spirit comes he will convince the world of sin … OF SIN BECAUSE MEN DONT BELIEVE IN ME”

  30. I am confused! I’ve been trying to return to Christ for a long time now. I no longer sense the spirit drawing me but I long to have a true relationship with Jesus again. I hear things externally & sense Gods spirit at church but nothing’s happening inside my heart & it’s so hard. I repented hundreds of times, over my disobedience to him but nothing’s happening inside my heart. I don’t know what to do. It’s been over a decade. I don’t sense his love or forgiveness. I am tired, I get frustrated easily. Not like how I used to be but I just feel like I’m in darkness. Does anyone else understand or going through this? I need help/ prayers. Thanks

    • Hi Ann,
      God’s great love for you is something to be believed, before it is felt. If you’re not feeling it, it may be because you don’t believe it. Judging by the number of times you have repented, it seems your recent focus has been on yourself. I encourage you to fix your eyes on Jesus. See yourself in him. Tell yourself every day, “I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus” and let his word germinate in your heart. It will bring a good crop!

    • Hi Ann- so sorry for your struggle Dear! Try to think about Gods character more than how you are feeling or not feeling and as you do focus on Gods character your heart will find a resting place and you will soon realize that Gods love and care for you is not about anything in you but stems from His own character alone. Also I encourage you to learn to no longer make yourself and your own subjective perceptions of reality the final authority but rather to learn instead to make what Gods word says about you the final authority. It sounds like you have set yourself and how you feel and perceive as the expert and authority on what is real and what is not real. Thus because you feel or think a certain way you assume your feelings and thoughts are never wrong . She who has herself for a teacher and judge of reality is a fool. But blessed is she who learns to doubt and question her own feelings and thoughts on God and His love for her. God is teaching you to learn to doubt and distrust your subjective and transitory feelings and to trust instead in His objective and unchanging promises in His Bible concerning you.

  31. Hi Ann,
    Some excellent counsel in these responses.

    Let me add: If you have been under teaching that emphasizes your performance. Where God conditionally loves you. If you have been under some authority where they make you think they have more “infusion” of God’s love and Will than you do: then you are in a risky place where you can be blinded. You need to be willing to believe God; not man. You need to love Him more than these. It is HIS righteousness alone – given to those who believe HIM, not some religion, or religious leader. Live free in Him.

    True belief can seem scarey because you might feel like you are needing to go it alone (though that is a lie as well). It can seem scarey trusting God verses man.

    Read the bible, looking for these Truths. His Righteousness given to You!!

    Living Godly is the fruit of this Gift; not the source!!

  32. This thought came to me this morning regarding the continual consciousness Paul had of being a sinner who WAS saved by grace. While no one had a greater grasp of grace than Paul he never forgot (and was inspired to speak of it often ) how much grace had saved him from. It is not the consciousness of present sin that God used to make us aware of what sinners we were rather it is the consciousness of present grace that God uses to keep us aware of what sinners we were. Grace made Paul more aware of the terribleness of sin in himself than the consciousness of his sin.
    Do you want to know what sin is and to learn to hate it? Then embrace the grace of God more fully. Do you want to be decieved about sin and to learn to love sin more ? Then focus more in your sin and less on the grace of God.

  33. Thanks for the information! I just want to ask if the Holy Spirit is the one that makes you feel something heavy inside your heart when you are about to do something? Thank you! =))

  34. I believe that the 3 convictions spoken of in John 16:8 are for the WORLD (non-believers), since the verse plainly says so:

    “And when He [the Holy Spirit] has come, He will convict the WORLD of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.”

    And the Holy Spirit/Helper does this to help the disciples continue the work of Christ and preach the gospel as they face coming persecution. Jesus told the disciples how they were going to be thrown out of synagogues and killed. That’s why He said it’s better He leaves so that the HELPER can come and help them. How? By convicting the world of sin, righteousness and judgment, as the disciples continue to preach the Word.

    We can preach with eloquence and passion, but ultimately, we still need the Helper to convict the hearts of our hearers in regard to sin, righteousness and judgment.

    • Good point Andrew . This explains the response in the poeple when the apostles preached the gospel . It often says things like ” when they heard this they were pierced to the heart ” and the like. The apostles while being filled with the Spirit had no problem whatsoever saying, ” you are guilty” and “you killed Jesus” etc. I’m sure many modern Christians would rebuke the apostles for being too harsh in their preaching of the gospel. Gentle words spoken in respect can break a bone when spoken by the power of the Spirit.

      • Exactly, Barry! That said, I still believe that the Holy Spirit also REMINDS us, who are saved BELIEVERS, that we are righteous in Christ. I wouldn’t say He “convicts” us of righteousness though, as Joseph Prince would preach it (using the verse in question). No, He simply reminds us of the truth of the Scriptures regarding our righteousness in Christ through faith without works, and witnesses to this truth, as He would any other scriptural truth regarding our salvation.

      • And do I ever need Him to remind me of being righteous ! More Holy Spirit -more! Everything else seems to remind me of my sin -my flesh, the culture around me and the devil. When people tell me the Holy Spirit’s job is to remind me of my sin I always reply, ” I don’t need any help with that. I have a personal devil continually pointing out my sins and my failures! He accuses us all day and night. “

      • Barry … I totally agree with you concerning that passage in John especially. In context, Jesus was trying to reassure the disciples who were upset and grieving that He would be leaving. He told them …. Don’t grieve, I’m only one person … but the Holy Spirit will come to reminds you Who You Are In Me!!! Yes, he will convict the “World” of sin (so that they may know their need for Him) … He will Convict (convince) us of Who we are since Jesus won’t be here to do that … and Judgment …
        Obviously I took some liberties and paraphrased … but there is nothing worse for the believer that to hear the word “conviction” and cringe as if it is something bad. For the Believe it is Good News that HE is constantly reminding us of WHO WE ARE … not who we used to be.
        People are often so sin-focused that they miss the grace of God and what He accomplished (already) on our behalf. Thank you Jesus! It is Finished!

      • Dottierir- to me the single greatest objective evidence regarding the fact that Holy Spirit’s emphasis and ministry is not on making the believer sin conscience but rather Christ Jesus conscious is the entire content of the New Testament. Holy Spirit Himself claimsto be the author of Scripture (II Tim 3:16) and the primary theme of the Spirit inspired New Testament is not on making the believer aware of his sin but the on making the believer aware of his Savior Jesus Christ and the redemption FROM sin ( FROM sin’s penalty, sin’s power and ultimately sin’s presence). Why in Christ’s name would this Bible inspiring Spirit of Grace undermine everything He so clearly emphasizes in His own Book ? Why would this same Spirit contradict Himself in this way? This is a no brainier for anyone who takes the New Testament seriously.

  35. Hi, great read, thanks.

    Just something I would like to ask about The Holy Spirit and it’s role in a believers life, other than drawing you closer to God & His grace.

    * Can the Holy Spirit warn you against danger or another person who has agendas/schemes planned against you, be exposed?

    * If you are “told” by a “voice” (which you believe is the Holy Spirit) that someone (a child) in your neighbourhood is being molested by a step parent, should you act on it by calling the authority for investigation – or leave it, because exposure of sin is not of the Holy Spirit? Because I am now worried I acted on a voice not from God as it has been taught that The Holy Spirit doesn’t expose sin. It did turn out that the child was molested. BUT now I am so confused.

    I thank you in advance.

    • 1. Definitely and 2. definitely. If I knew that a child was being harmed and it was within my power to intervene, I would. As I say in the post above, the Holy Spirit is very much in the business of turning on the lights and bringing to light those things that are hidden. He does this not to condemn or convict but to save lives.

      • Michelle // June 14, 2015 at 6:52 pm //

        I’m quoting from Wayne Nickel post: “…..that if the new couple were truly born again, the Holy Spirit would point this out to them. Let it be and let The Holy Spirit work in their live….”

        I’m quoting from your post (Paul): “….the Holy Spirit is very much in the business of turning on the lights and bringing to light those things that are hidden….”

        Reading the above 2 quotes, I come to the understanding that it has more to do with how we handle the “information” that the Holy Spirit reveals to us, than confronting the sin by “reminding” the person of the law, but that we must pray for them in our own quiet time, instead of confronting?

  36. I do believe from my own experience the Holy Spirit convicts or enables us to see the sin in our lives that we need to confess and bring to the cross. Forgiveness is always there for us . We can have sin in our lives that we don’t even recognise, but the Holy Spirit will shine a light on that sin enabling us to do something about it. I always thank God when the Holy Spirit shows me my sin, I know God loves me so much he wants me to be set free. We can’t confess sin that we aren’t even aware of, God disciplines those he loves, all sin is harmful, God is a perfect loving Father who cares about the way sin affects us , we can only be set free by being made aware of the sin in our lives. God wants us to have a pure heart. Take your thought life for example, every day we have wrong thoughts which can lead to wrong words and deeds, I have recognised the way The Holy Spirit convicts my wrong thought stopping that sin at source. He will always lead us into all truth, he is the truth, he will enables us to understand the truth about ourselves . Gods forgiveness and grace will put us back on track.

    • He truly does enable us to understand the truth about ourselves, but is your sin the truth about you? You are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. He said he doesn’t even remember your sin. The completed work of Jesus is that powerful.

      • Amen LPJ- Why do we need the Holy Spirit of Jesus to remind us of our sin? We know our sin quite well ever since our first parents ate from that infamous tree of (self introspection) the knowledge of good and evil we all still have that same cursed propensity of eating from it as well. Not only that but the devil freely volunteers to do that job of pointing out our sins and faults continually day and night before God and he does a fine job of it too!
        Not to mention that my works based BEHAVIOR modification obsessed pastor is more than happy to give me a weekly one hour reminder of my sins and faults.

        God help us! With my flesh, my pastor and the accuser of the bretheren continually making me aware of my sins I don’t need any more reminders from God!
        What I need God the Spirit to convict me of is just what Jesus promised He would convict me of- my cursed unbelief of the gospel and my relentless forgetfulness of the truth that I am forgiven, that God remembers my sin no more and that I am perfectly righteous with the righteousness of God apart from my behaviour, apart from my performance and apart from my personal morality.

  37. Great post, LJP. Seems to me that, “if” we rose to newness of life in Christ, our sins having been trampled by Calvary and buried forever when Jesus died and was buried, then the only sins possible for a Believer in Christ to commit is disobedience to God’s commands, speaking of James 4:17, Galatians 5:13-26 and 6:1; James 5:16, and I John 5:16. In other words, if your focus is as John said, i.e. we know we love God when we obey his commands, your sins all having been forgiven, I John 2:2, how then can we sin? Is this not what John tells us – the one who abides in God cannot sin, that is, the saved soul remains pure? Paul confirms this when he says in Romans 7 that sin is in his flesh. See Romans 7:25!
    If you want to clear up a ton of mystery concerning The Holy Spirit of God, see II Cor. 3:17!

    • Thanks Curry. So I guess the question would be what commands and what does it mean to abide in Him?

      Look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, as/for our identity. As He is, so are we in this world. That’s a work so complete and perfect it blows our mind, so we need our mind to be transformed and renewed in a way that we believe it. Our representative lives and reigns as proof of who we are, as we behold Him, we are transformed into His image.

      Blessings

  38. The scriptures tell us the Holy Spirit on John 16:8 -11and when He comes “Will” convict the world concerning sin, righteousness, and judgement.
    Concerning sin of unbelief of Christ, and concerning righteousness, and judgement.
    It is the Spirits job to convict us of sin. And there is a difference of conviction and Condemnation.
    The basic sin of the world is not believing in Christ, the second is there is a standard of righteousness that Christians are to hold to,
    And thirdly judgement on All sin will be rid of upon His return.
    Which is a warning to those who reject Christ.

    • hi Ally, do you really believe that we as Gods beloved, who have renewed hearts, who love Him, who long to please Him, who by grace alone have come to love righteousness and hate wickedness- do you really believe that God needs to remind us of our sins, to “convict” us of our sins or to point out our sins and short comings???? How little you know of Gods own children my Dear!
      Not to mention that you totally butchered your exegesis of John 16 . What you claim JESUS is saying is the complete opposite of what He is actually saying in this passage . My guess is you haven’t even bothered to study this passage for yourself but have Borrowed from a popular but bogus interpretation of this passage. I encourage you to read and study this passage for yourself – not reading INTO it but simply reading what it ACTUALLY says and then you will know that JESUS is clearly saying the ONLY sin Holy Spirit convicts anyone of is the sin of UNBELIEF.

  39. I think believers often agree on a theological point, but terminology causes us to become confused. When Christ paid the penalty for sin, He made God’s grace/forgiveness available… but He did not eliminate all sin. Because sin is still here, God’s grace and forgiveness is still necessary. Forgiveness is only available to us when we are made aware of sin, repent of it, and ask God for forgiveness.

    When believers commit sin (and we all do), it is the Holy Spirit that shines light on that sin, to lead us to God’s grace. Terminology does not change the fact that the Holy Spirit continues to work in us, bringing to our remembrance all that Christ has taught, and shining light on the darkness in our lives (otherwise known as sin). We must not use our liberty in Christ as an excuse to sin (1 Peter 2.6), and we must be careful not to mislead immature believers who might not fully understand our words.
    I am thankful that the Holy Spirit lives in us to convict / convince / chastise / remind (choose one) us that we have not already attained, or been perfected… but that we must press on toward the mark of Christlikeness. (Phil 3.12-13)

    • I don’t think I agree. First, I think my sins are forgiven before I ask. You make a law out of forgiveness if I am REQUIRED to ask for it. And what if I don’t? What if I missed one? Will I be condemned? I believe confessing is for me more than for Him.

      Also, I’m going to go way out on a limb here, but I don’t think I conceive of sin the same way. We seem to want to think of sins as discrete actions that are bad, wrong, or off somehow, but this doesn’t fit with the idea that if I yell, “Raca,” at my brother, I have committed murder. The sin is in the heart not the act. It is really more of a condition than actions. We want to think that we are basically fine, except for occasionally looking at the wrong magazine, or taking back too much change, or whatever. If we just say, “Sorry” to God, all is well. The truth is we have a disease. If perfection is the mark, we are nowhere close. If we were aware of all of our sins at every moment, we would do nothing but confess all day long.

      Another way of looking at it is that the only time that I am not sinful is when he is living through me. The rest of the time is sin. My goal is not to not sin, but to allow him more and more to live through me. That’s the only way out. We cheapen grace when we don’t understand our true condition. I, in and of myself, am that “filthy rag,” but in Him I am pure (no matter what I just did with my eyes). Grace is His acceptance of me as I am, knowing that I will never be what I was originally intended to be (in the garden). Grace allows me to accept myself so that I can live at all.

      • Great word Allan- I think you nailed it!
        I would add that we often see sin as some kind of abstract theological concept rather than what it really is- a lack of love for God and others in relationships. I like the coined word – unlove- sin is unlove.
        Combining the idea that sin is unlove with your comment that sin is not just individual selfish things we do or say or think but rather sin is what we both are and do when JESUS isn’t living in us and through us really exposes why a law of confessing “sins” doesn’t cut it. If confessing “sins” is what saves me from the relationship destroying systemic disease of unlove then CHRIST died for nothing. He could have just shouted from heaven, “Confess your sins and you will be saved!”
        CHRIST dying and living for us, in us and through us- this alone is the only hope of our addiction to unlove (sin). This alone is the only hope of our salvation. A salvation I might add which is far more than the bogus nascent cultural definition of personal empowerment but by salvation I mean the biblical definition that our forefathers embraced which is ” escaping the curse of broken relationships caused by a lack of love and entering into a loving relationship with both God and our fellow man.” Sin then is unlove and salvation from sin then is restored love in the heart and manifested in relationships .
        That’s why confession of sin as a rule of law doesn’t cut it. confession niether makes us loving nor does it restore loving relationships. Only CHRIST does that!
        “The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”
        ‭‭1 Timothy‬ ‭1:5‬ ‭NIV‬‬

      • I feel a divine rant coming upon me as I read this. This false doctrine that Holy Spirit convicts (reminds, points out, exposes) the believers sins is fundamental to the GREAT CHURCH ENTERPRISE.
        The church of the reformation scoffed at the purchase of indulgences to build St Peters cathedral for the Romish cult -money in exchange to attempt a kind of absolution for the condemning weight of sins -yet the modern church is no different- they offer a man made absolution from guilt and condemnation via a bogus reconciling truce with God through contributing to the GREAT CHURCH ENTERPRISE-
        Buying indulgences though slave labor in “ministry” and through “sewing” that build the the great modern cathedrals!!
        Divine Forgiveness through the blood alone will collapse the Great Church Enterprise!
        The modern church Papacy (5 fold) proclaim, “you are guilty before a holy God! Work and serve in the Great Church Enterprise for deliverance from condemnation and to secure relief from your guilt.”!!!!
        I recently sat through a sermon where the preacher used the phrases ,” You need to” and “you should” 62 times in 32 minutes!!! Never once did he say “you need to accept Gods forgiveness through the blood ”
        Without this bogus “Holy Spirit convicts believers of sin” doctrine this manipulation and fleecing of the sheep will collapse.

      • Haha, a “divine rant”, that’s a good one, Barry. Would that be similar to “the truth in love”?🙂 BTW, Amen.

      • Wow….thanks….this is truly edifying to me! But i do think the Holy Spirit works in me to eschew evil and to not sin: this is what i think you mean by “allowing” the Spirit of God to live more and more in me…to be that HOLY bride that Jesus PAID FOR with His precious blood. When i resist the Holy Spirit, listen to Satan, and dive after sin (again) because i (still) want to love (something unclean, for example) more than my Husband Jesus…then, i am not lost and not condemned and not displeasing to God…but i can easily FEEL like i am! However, i definitely believe that i MUST say sorry to the Lord, and seek new grace from Him, to WALK IN THE SPIRIT and to be “FAITHFUL TO THE END” (of my life)….and this choice of lifestyle WILL bring glory to Him. But, i do NOT believe that Christians can just ‘forget about’ the need to remain humble and open to correction and guidance from the Holy Spirit, including the need to repent for resisting Him, as we walk by faith.

      • I recently had this experience: When someone did something that offended me, I wouldn’t get offended. I would recognize that they were acting out, probably to conceal a hurt, or demonstrating their “lostness.” So, I would respond with grace. However, when I was alone I would sort rehearse what I COULD have said about what was wrong with their behavior. I believe for a time this practice was beneficial to me. It got it off my chest, and kept me from actually saying it to the person, which would not have been helpful or edifying. Recently, I sensed the Holy Spirit telling me that it was time to give up that behavior. I wasn’t truly letting go of the offense, but allowing the anger to have a place in me. I see it as a next step in growth to being truly a child of grace. That illustrates for me the “conviction” of the Holy Spirit, a gentle conversation, without condemnation, about something We are “working on.” No trial, no danger of punishment. I guess that’s been my interpretation of the passage, and my expectation of how the Spirit works in me.

        Another underlying concept that comes into play here is Paul’s idea that all things are lawful, but not all things are beneficial. I am less concerned with toeing the line, or living up to expectations. My thinking is what the best way to reach my goals: Get closer to Him, become more like Him, and help other get closer to Him. If the Spirit shines His light on something, I want to know, because I don’t want to live in a way that hinders my goals.

      • That’s good Allan- this is a good reminder to us all that regardless of what the issue is we are facing whenever we tell OURSELVES what we should or should not do (no matter how grace filled or spiritual it may be) in doing so we inevitably have turned out entire focus off of JESUS and into OURSELVES – that always brings defeat in the thing we want to accomplish.
        Many “grace” teachers ere in this very teaching. They teach people NOT to be sin focused but to be CHRIST focused. The exhortation to NOT be sin focused Or to be grace focused inevitably turns the inner focus away from JESUS and back into OURSELVES. This is a recipe for sinking sinking sinking into the waters of defeat. The ONLY thing that we ourselves can successfully accomplish is “fix your eyes on JESUS – the author and perfector of our faith”
        Giving grace, not giving grace, being sin conscience or not being sin conscience , confessing or not confessing – all these become like laws and inevitably distract our obsession away from JESUS Himself and put our focus on self which is a fast track to failure in the thing we want to accomplish. When I focus on JESUS purity I walk in a beautiful unselfconscious purity . When I focus on JESUS forgivness and grace I find myself effortlessly and unselfconsciously relating in grace and forgivness towards others. “You can do NO THING “- except turn to the Lord and gaze into His shining face.
        The New Testament authors always exhort the readers to become obsessed with JESUS plus nothing. As usual we have this Adamic disease called the “awareness of good and evil” that is killing us all slowly but surely. But God has a cure- a “serpent in a stick we can look at “:
        “turn your eyes upon JESUS
        look full in His wonderful face,
        And the things of earth
        Will grow strangley dim,
        In the light of His glory and grace!

    • hi Mark- you said “when we sin…the Holy Spirit shines a light on that sin..”
      If you are correct then the Holy Spirit is suffering from schizophrenia. Why do I say that?
      Well because He (the Holy Spirit) says this about how He relates and responds to our sins : (Notice the text even uses the phrase ‘The Holy Spirit testifies’ and ‘the Holy Spirit says’ and ‘then HE says’). 3 times we are clearly told that THIS is what the Spirit SAYS about what He does when we sin:
      “And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us; for after saying, “T HIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THEM A FTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD: I WILL PUT M Y LAWS UPON THEIR HEART, A ND ON THEIR MIND I WILL WRITE THEM,” He then says, “A ND THEIR SINS AND THEIR LAWLESS DEEDS I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE.””
      ‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭10:15-17‬ ‭NASB‬‬
      In the Greek the Holy Spirit SAYS it this way literally: “I will NO NOT NEVER remember their sins ANY MORE”!!!
      So you say “when we sin He shines His light on our sins” and Holy Spirit SAYS “I will NO NOT NEVER remember their sins”
      One of you two is not telling the truth here. I wonder who????

  40. Julie Eastling // December 17, 2015 at 6:05 am // Reply

    Amen! Truth!

  41. Emmanuel k lola // January 17, 2016 at 1:49 pm // Reply

    Thank you, I receive the of God, because col 1 vs 13 said he as translated us from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of his dear son, we are now the kingdom citizens by the grace of God dear son, when God look down on us from heaven he is not seen sin in us but all he see is the kingdom citizens. Praise the Lord.

  42. Yeah right. Holy Spirit convicts us that even we could do bad things , we are still the righteous of God in Christ. Simply, He is a Helper. Of course, help us to go forward to His throne of grace, but if not, why Jesus call the Holy Spirit a Helper? Why would condemned us if He is a Helper? Bible says, “therefore, there is now no condemnation in Christ Jesus.” God’s Grace empowers us to pursuit Holiness. This is an Interesting subject by the way🙂 thanks for this. Sorry for my poor english. May God richly bless you brother!

  43. Eric Commodore // April 21, 2016 at 1:40 pm // Reply

    Another way the Holy Spirit convicts the world of the Sin of unbelief in Christ Jesus as The Lord and Saviour. Can simply be seen That The world want peace hence the world has resorted to various system of Governments, Democracy, and the likes many organizations from the league of Nations to United Nations have sign many treaties, have resorted to the use of military , political, humanitarian , Religion, several activities, various human efforts yet all to no avail. This is the way the Holy Spirit is convicting the world of sin because The world That Jesus died for will only be saved by believing in Jesus so far as
    the world is refusing they cannot have or experience love , joy, Peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance, Notably non can be achieved through human efforts and this we know is The Fruit of The Holy Spirit Which Testify Of Jesus The Grace and Truth and with This there is no law that can be against it, We believers are not to be convicted of Sin(unbelief) because we believe In Jesus Christ our Saviour Amen
    Joy,

  44. Paul how can you make the statement, “But the simple fact is the Holy Spirit will never convict you of your sin”, when the word is clear, “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; John 16:8.
    There seems to be some confusion in your reference to law. The NT speaks of ‘the law of love in Christ. Jesus says, If you love me obey my commands, that is law. 9 of the 10 laws are repeated in the NT.
    The Spirit is called, the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. Romans: 8. 2
    It is new law, but let us not be fooled, it is law.

    • Hi Tony, thanks for your question. You know the church is not the world, right? Jesus tells the disciples that the Spirit of Grace will do something to the disciples – “convict them of righteousness” (v.10) – and something else to the world – “convict them concerning sin because they do not believe in me” (v.8-9). Even though there is not one scripture to suggest the Holy Spirit is a fault-finder, misguided teachers twist Jesus’ words to say he will point out your sins, when what he always does is point to Jesus. For the believer this means being reminded of Christ and his righteousness. For the unbeliever this means “repent and believe in Christ who bore your sin.” More on the Holy Spirit’s role here.

      Rom 8:2 is a law indeed, in the same way that gravity is a law, but do not be fooled, we are not under law but grace (Rom 6:14), meaning we are not to be law-minded even a little bit. The moment you turn anything in the NT into a law-that-must-be-obeyed, you cut yourself off from Christ and fall from grace. How? Because you are no longer trusting; you are striving in the flesh.

    • This is another thought regarding the statement “He will convict the world of sin concerning sin because men do not believe and concerning righteousness because I go to the father and you see me no more…”
      The structure of the original language makes it cumbersome and improbable that JESUS switches his object of focus from the “world ” to the disciples (you) in mid stream . It is more probable that the second phrase “…because of righteousness because I go to the Father and you see me no more” is still describing the Holy Spirits convicting “the world of sin”. In other words JESUS is saying ,” He will convict the world of sin BOTH concerning their unbelief in Me AND concerning righteousness because I go to the Father.”
      The idea is simple really: “The world ” JESUS refered to here specifically was the world of the self righteous, self made religious Jews who were trusting in their own righteousness and the righteousness gained through the law . like Paul when he still was unconverted to CHRIST claimed “as far as the righteousness of the law is concerned- FAULTLESS.” (Phil 3). The work of the Spirit is not just to convict the world of the sin of unbelief but to convict the world that it’s self imposed righteousness is completely inadequate to secure justification before the Holy God. Remember Holy Spirit is HOLY!
      So -“Because …you see me no more.” – means “when I was here I clearly showed the world their righteousness is as filthy rags before a holy God but now i won’t be here visibly and audibly to expose the folly of self righteousness so Holy Spirit will CONTINUE that work FOR ME.”

  45. there’s much said regarding grace here. true, we are saved through faith alone in Jesus and not by works at all. and yes, God will blot out our iniquities with GENUINE repentance. but lest we forget, there are still consequences for sin in the life of the believer! consequences in this life, and loss of reward in the next. God is no fool, and neither is he blind. in Christ, God sees the believer as righteous, yes. but he also sees our present sin…sin he cannot tolerate. he convicts (enlightens, sheds light upon, or whatever word one wishes to use…let’s not get carried away with VERBAL LEGALISM) us of this current sin in order to purify, refine, and sanctify us (or set us apart from the world). he disciplines us from the vantage of love in order to draw us into the likeness of Christ.🙂

    • When Christ forgave my sin(s) … He forgave them All (past, present & future). The things I do I the flesh will be burned up … I will get no reward for them … But the Soirit of the Living God is inside of me. The flesh is at war with the Spirit (sin still resides in my flesh but not in my new heart) , and the Spirit with the flesh (I can’t kill my flesh or I wouldn’t have needed Christ) … causing me ( my body/soul) to do things …
      “And when I (Jesus) leave I will send another helper … To convict the WORLD is Sin … To convict (convince) the believer of their righteousness ( bc Jesus will not be there physically to remind them ) …”

      • I believe it is critical to realize that even though Holy Spirit does not convict the believer of sins this does not mean He doesn’t talk much about and warn the believer about sin.
        Who wrote the New Testament? Was it not the Holy Spirit? And does He not in virtually every gospel , every historical book , every epistle and in revelation speak emphatically and candidly agaisnt sin and warn the believer incessantly against sin? The Holy Spirit of Grace goes to great lengths to make enormous lists of sins ,naming them specifically and warn believers to put them to death in their bodies and to have nothing whatsoever to do with them , to avoid the occasion of them and to plead and reason with the believer against them. Is this Author of the New Teatament not the same Spirit who is the Spirit of Grace that we boast in? If as many claim He wants the believer to have no consciousness of sin then why does He keep mentioning so many lists of sins in every Mee Testament letter He inspired?
        Don’t be decieved my brothers – it is sin that puts sinners into hell – even though sin is forgiven in us – Holy Spirit is still first of all just that – HE IS HOLY!
        When the forgiven “grace camp” begins to take the practice of sin in their lives as seriously as Holy Spirit does – the conversion of the legalists to the gospel of grace will not be far off.

    • God blots out our sin, but deprives us of reward in eternity? God sees us as righteous, but He sees our sin and cannot tolerate it? God is purifying us and drawing us into the likeness of Christ because when He said, “it is finished”, it really wasn’t? This god seems double minded.

      • I loved your questions LPJ- way too logical! Lol
        The only thing God ever had against His people was their sins- their sins messed everything up but the good news is that since JESUS removed their sins God has NOT A SINGLE PROBLEM left with His people.
        Sin= no reward/ inheritance or decreased reward/ inheritance BUT sin removed = full reward / full inheritance !!! PTL!
        Besides that where in the Bible does it teach varied levels of inheritance or reward? The parable of the workers in the vinyard (Mtt 19) teaches clearly the reward/ pay will be the same for every one of Gods people. Not only that but since the reward/inheritance is GOD HIMSELF -what is he going to say , “you – Werent a good boy some of time so you only inherit 80% of Me?” Is He Santa Claus “making a list checking it twice – gonna find out whose naughty or nice”? Hahaha Most modern evangelical doctrine on eternal rewards is completely mythical and has little or foundation in biblical reality. Our reward is the glory Of God- hiers of God and JOINT hiers with CHRIST! We inherit what JESUS inherited! Not by works but by JESUS grace alone! Amen!

  46. I am scared because I have not felt the Holy Spirit conviction for about four months. Does this mean I am lost? Has anyone else gone through this, or something like it?

    • Maybe He is convicting you, but you are not recognizing it because it is not what you are expecting. Maybe rather than convicting you of something you did wrong, He’s convicting you of the perfect work He has accomplished in you.

    • What a terrible rap we give to God and by association to His Holy Spirit. We envision Him as a nit picking, fault finding neurotic perfectionist whose entire existence and life purpose is to spend all of His eternality and omniscience searching for, chastising and threatening His children for their sins.
      Nothing can be further from the truth. God’s Spirit is the most amiable, forgiving and easy to get along with Person in the universe. His divine perfections and His perfect blood sacrifice of His only beloved Son demand and guarantee this kind of loving friendliness and perpetual accepting affection towards His beloved children.
      Besides all this -among the members of the triune godhead it is not the role of the Spirit to convict and condemn the sons of men for their sins- that role is reserved for JESUS alone. He is the judge of all men- not the Spirit- and what saith the Scriptures of His friendly helpful Spirit and of this fearsome and righteous judge JESUS?
      “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;

      What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?

      Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.”
      ‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:26, 31, 33-34‬ ‭NASB
      ‬‬
      THAT is how we can expect God to feel and act towards us His elect children? That doesn’t sound like a nuerotic, perfectionistic and fault finding God to me!!
      This bogus character assassinating view of the Holy God of the Bible comes directly from the father of lies and not from the good Spirit of truth. Are we better and more amicable and friendly than the Friend of Abraham our father?

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