Doctrine of Convicting Ministry of Holy Spirit

January 15, 2011


1.              Sin-Convincing Ministry of H/S,  i.e. Sin-Convicting Ministry.

CONVICT : (Gr) (Verb.)  ELENCHO Definition “to convince, confute, refute,” usually with the suggestion of putting the convicted person to shame; see Matt. 18:15, where more than telling the offender his fault is in view; it is used of “convicting” of sin,

1.     John 16:8   , He convicts the world: Cosmos = (Unbelievers only)    Believers are convicted by “their own conscience”.         John 16:8-11; The Holy Spirit convicts the world only;3 categories of conviction…
1.    vs. 9, OF SIN (relating to man) for failure to believe on Christ.
2.    vs. 10, Of RIGHTEOUSNESS (relating to Christ) that is, Christ’s righteousness, proven by His return to the Father.
3.    vs. 11, OF JUDGMENT (relating to Satan); that is, of Satan who was judged at the cross also. (Colossians 2:15; Hebrews 2:14).
2.    The convicting of the unbeliever, is through the preaching of the Word in the power of the Filling of the Spirit.
1.    compare. Acts 2:4 with 2:37. The disciples were “filled with the Holy Ghost,” and unbelievers were “pricked in their heart.”
2.    compare. Acts 4:8 with 4:13. Peter was “filled with the Holy Ghost,” and unbelievers marveled.
3.    The convicting of the Spirit leads to repentance toward Christ, and faith.
1.    compare. Acts 2:38-39, What shall we do? “Repent, (metanoeo)  (to change your mind)(Gr. Verb) and be baptized every one of you….”          Repentance, (metanoia) (change of mind)(Gr. Noun)
2.    Romans 10:17, faith comes through the Word. But we must always remember that THE WORD is THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT, and only when it is used by His power, does it convict unbelievers of sin, and urge them to repent, and change their mind about Christ..



What is a conviction? One person says that it is no more than a personal opinion. Others define it as those things for which you would be willing to die; all else is a preference. Some teach that convictions are based on direct scriptural teaching. Others teach that convictions are not even scriptural. Why all the confusion? What is a good biblical approach to the concept of convictions? Let us see if we can make any sense out of it all.

The word “conviction” is not found in the Bible and this is the source of much of the confusion. It is, however, related to two biblical words: convict and convince.

This being the case, we need to ask, are convictions a biblical concept? I think they are—at least, in the way we commonly use the word. If we use it correctly, we use it to describe the work of our conscience in making personal decisions of right and wrong in areas not specifically detailed in scripture. A conviction is a convinced conscience.

Please note that a conviction is not needed where the Bible is specific in its command. We need only to obey in those areas. Perhaps we need to be convicted of our disobedience. But we do not need to have a conviction about it. A conviction is only needed in those areas where biblical precepts (by definition, general principles) need to be applied to particular circumstances. Does God teach us to do this? Yes. Notice the following teaching from God’s word.

  1. We are to use our spiritual discernment to judge all things (1Corinthians 2:14-15 [14] But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. [15] But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
    See All…).
  2. As to certain practices, Paul said, “Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind” (Romans 14:5One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
    See All…).
  3. John speaks of doing those things in which our heart condemns us not (1John 3:20-21 [20] For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. [21] Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.
    See All…). Evidently, there are also things in which our heart does condemn us.
  4. We are to prove all things and hold fast to that which is good (1Thessalonians 5:21Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
    See All…).
  5. We are to use wisdom and judgment to approve things that are excellent (Philippians 1:9-10 [9] They shall come all for violence: their faces shall sup up as the east wind, and they shall gather the captivity as the sand. [10] And they shall scoff at the kings, and the princes shall be a scorn unto them: they shall deride every strong hold; for they shall heap dust, and take it.
    See All…).
  6. We are to make certain that we condemn not ourselves in the things which we allow (Romans 14:22-23 [22] Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth. [23] And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.
    See All…).
  7. We are to use the Bible to such an extent that we are able to discern both good and evil (Hebrews 5:14But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
    See All…).

Paul exalted the use of the conscience as a guide in daily practice. He said: “And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men” (Acts 24:16And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void to offence toward God, and toward men.
See All…).

The Bible clearly teaches that the conscience is not a perfect indicator of right and wrong. It can be weak (1Corinthians 8:12But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.
See All…), defiled (Titus 1:15Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.
See All…) and even seared with a hot iron (1Timothy 4:20
See All…). However, when fed a steady diet of the word and submitted to God in a pure heart, it can help to guide us in many circumstances. It can tell us that things are wrong before we know why they are wrong. It can act as an early warning system against sin. It can help us to establish personal convictions that guide us as we walk through the pitfalls of this life.

As to a conviction being something for which you will die and all else being a preference, this is a man’s definition as much as any other. It is good as far as it will carry you. Perhaps it describes some particular concepts, but I personally find it faulty. I first saw it in material dealing with legal cases where people had Christian schools or were homeschooling. These definitions made a particular point but they are weak for every use of the word.

As I said, a conviction is a convinced conscience. Some may say that all we need is the Bible and the conscience is thereby made superfluous. Yet, it is the Bible that tells us that God uses the conscience. Our convictions will not always agree because they are personal. They do not carry the authority of scripture and may be faulty. But, as we submit to God and exercise ourselves in His word, we are to keep our consciences clean by establishing convictions in our lives and by avoiding offense to our consciences. By the way, we are also to allow others to live according to their conscience without molestation—as long as their convictions do not directly oppose God’s word.