According to The Complete Christian Dictionary For Home, School and Office, the term ‘convinced’ means ‘to be persuaded or to persuade someone else that something is true; to cause someone to believe.’
For example, ‘I am convinced that neither life nor death...nor any powers...nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ (Romans 8:38-39)
According to the New International Bible Dictionary, the term ‘conviction’ is defined as,‘the first stage of repentance, experienced when in some way the evil nature of sin has been brought home to the penitent, and it has been proved to him that he is guilty of it.’
An example of such is in Psalm 51, where David realizing he had sinned against God, is overwhelmed with sorrow for his transgression and cries out to God for forgiveness and cleansing. An example in the New Testament is found in John 16:7-11, where Jesus says that when the Holy Spirit comes, ‘he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. Here the word ‘reprove’ (NIV ‘convict’) means ‘convince’ (so RSV) or ‘prove guilty.’
The thought is that the Holy Spirit addresses the heart of the guilty and shows how inadequate ordinary standards of righteousness are.
In my walk as a believer in Christ Jesus, I have come to a point where I am left wondering with how we as believers behave. I would like us to share about some two instances. The first instance is about a young man who was in his mid twenties. He refused to compromised his faith in Christ and accept teachings that were not right and were literally out of the scriptures that the church he was fellowshipping in were starting to be engaged in and even the Bishop of the Church was welcoming. The young man refused the teachings and was willing even to be taken to the Bishop of the church. When word reached the Bishop, the young man who was in college was sent out of the church and because he was being sponsored by the church, his scholarship too was cancelled immediately. The Lord was faithful and provided for his school fees until he graduated from the College with a bachelors Degree. During the time when he was sent away from the church and scholarship stopped, other believers were coming to him and telling him, ‘why couldn’t you just keep quiet and then let the church continue paying for your fees and then after graduating, you can now leave the church?’ The young man wondered how believers who truly knew the teachings were wrong would tell him that. He kept on trusting upon the lord and the Lord saw him through. In brief, I can say that this young Christian man was convinced and persuaded in the truth found in the Bible.
The second instance is about a man who was in his late thirties. This man sinned and the Holy Spirit convicted him and he went out and confessed of his sins to his family, relatives and even ministry partners that he used to work with. When the ministry partners heard of the sin he had committed, they forced him to say it before the congregation where they used to go to church. After doing all that was expected of him, the young man was shown the door and told not to fellowship in that particular church but look for another church to be going to. He eventually left the church. After he had left the church, false accusations started coming concerning him and was wondering why the Holy Spirit convicted him and the step that he took to confess his sins to other believers. In the same church during these difficult moments for this man, there are other believers who were also wondering why he shared this with the church leadership and they even told him that he was stupid.
These two instances can leave one wondering what is right to be done in their Christian walk with the Lord. I would like us to ask ourselves the following questions;
a. Should we stand for the truth of the Bible no matter the cost and the repercussions of standing for it or not?
b. When convicted of sin by the Holy Spirit, should we only confess it to God and let it be our own ‘skeleton in our closets’ not known even to our spouses, relatives, mentors, pastors etc or should we be willing to be vulnerable and allow God to minister His healing in our lives.
I believe as a Christian the answer is with us in the Holy Bible and let us remember that the Holy Spirit addresses the heart of the guilty and shows how inadequate ordinary standards of righteousness are.