2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is
longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should
come to repentance.
How much does the God of all creation love you? He poured out His life for you
on the cross!
He gave His life because He wants every man, woman, and child who ever lived to
come to repentance and receive eternal life in Him and with Him. But some
people just don’t get it. Hence the need for conviction.
Depending on the context, conviction can have different meanings. In a court of
law, conviction refers to the formal declaration of guilt by a judge or jury: “he had
a prior conviction for robbery”. When speaking of an individual’s opinions,
conviction refers to a strongly held belief: “she doesn’t hesitate to share her
convictions regarding prejudice”.
The conviction of which I’m speaking is a mixture of both: it is the realization in a
person’s heart and spirit that they have sinned against God, and that sin needs to
be washed away. We don’t truly accept the forgiveness for our sin that God
provides through Jesus Christ until we are convicted of our sin – until we receive
the Holy Spirit’s “guilty” declaration in our heart and we strongly believe we need
to be cleansed from it.
Depending on the specific person and specific sin, that may be a quick and easy
process or a long, drawn-out and difficult one. With Peter’s betrayal of Christ it
only required a single glance: “But Peter said, ‘Man, I do not know what you are
saying!’ Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the
Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord,
how He had said to him, ‘Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.’
So Peter went out and wept bitterly.” (Luke 22:60-62). With David’s adultery with
Bathsheba and murder of Uriah her husband, it required a parable and a direct
accusation by the prophet Nathan: “So David’s anger was greatly aroused against
the man [in Nathan’s parable], and he said to Nathan, ‘As the Lord lives, the man
who has done this shall surely die! And he shall restore fourfold for the lamb,
because he did this thing and because he had no pity.’ Then Nathan said to David,
‘You are the man!’” (2 Samuel 12:5-7a). And this was David, “a man after God’s
own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14)!
However long we’ve been a Christian, and however deep our relationship with
Jesus might be … we all have blind spots in our lives: areas that need the forgiving
touch of Christ but we have a difficult time seeing them. And though the coming
of conviction can be very painful, it is actually a gift from God. David was “a man
after God’s own heart” not because he didn’t sin, but because each time he
sinned he turned back to the Lord and repented.
Conviction is one way God leads us to repentance – He doesn’t want the lost to
perish, and He doesn’t want the saved to carry the burden of unforgiven sin.
Pray that the Holy Spirit would shine a bright light of conviction in your life, and in
my life, too! And pray for all those in your circle of friends and acquaintances
who don’t yet know the saving power of Jesus, that they might experience that
same light of conviction, turn, and be saved.
Word of God: speak!
Non nobis Domine+
by Fr. Dana Jackson