Believers convicted of sin by the Holy Spirit?
This article came from a response to the Shoveletter, Do Believers Sin?
Where in the NT does it even say that the believer is "convicted" by the Holy Spirit? I've found or been shown verses that are said to be the same as conviction of the believer...but the word conviction itself was not used.
That's a good question. :) Now as usual, I will address more than what is asked. LOL. The verse I've seen used to support this teaching comes from John 16
But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper shall not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you no longer behold Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged. John 16:7-11 NAS77
In order to support the teaching that the Holy Spirit was sent to convict believers of their sins, one must ignore who Jesus clearly referred to. For it is "the world" that Jesus said would be convicted concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment by the Spirit's coming. And realize that these words were spoken to the disciples on that last night before Jesus was crucified. If he meant to say that he was sending his Spirit to convict THEM concerning sin he would have said so. As it was, Jesus made such a distinction between his own and the world that one of them said,
Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, "Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us, and not to the world?" John 14:22 NAS77
So regarding sin, the world would be convicted because they did not believe in him. Notice, they were to be convicted CONCERNING sin, rather than OF sin - or even of sins - as if particular sins were being referred to in his statement. Some have even worked this so that the sin being convicted of is the sin of unbelief. But it does not really say that, either.
Consider the meaning of the word, "convict". Are we to assume this means that a person is brought to the point of owning up to their sins (i.e. feeling guilty for them)? I realize that many have experienced extreme guilt for what they've done, but is this what Jesus meant?
The Greek word for "convict" carries these meanings: confute, admonish, convict, convince, reprove, rebuke. If you take into consideration that "confute" means "prove to be false" (and this is one of the primary meanings connected to the Greek word), it can give some clarity to the direction of the other words used. In other words, whether one favors either admonish, convict, convince, reprove or rebuke, they can all carry that same sense of being presented with, confronted with, convinced about, showing or revealing something to be false.
This confuting or convincing hinges upon the reality that the world (i.e. the system of man) does not understand the things of God. And isn't this what Jesus had often told the crowds, and especially the religious leaders? When Nicodemus approached Jesus, he did so as a representative of the rulers of Israel. What did Jesus say to him? He spoke about being born again, that is, born from above. Nicodemus simply could not understand Jesus meant. It went like this:
Nicodemus answered and said to Him, "How can these things be?" Jesus answered and said to him, "Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not understand these things? "Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak that which we know, and bear witness of that which we have seen; and you do not receive our witness." John 3:9-11 NAS77
Now, if Jesus was telling them that the Spirit would come and make the unbelievers aware of their sin, how would this be different from what they already were aware of from living under the Law? For it is the Law that reveals sin, and the people Jesus spoke to and about were already convicted of many, many sins. The Spirit that Jesus was sending would continue his presence in the world. Regarding sin, Jesus confronted unbelieving Israel (especially the leadership) with its blindness, for it called sin righteousness, and called righteousness sin. Their perceptions were all wrong! As Paul would later say:
Therefore you are without excuse, every man of you who passes judgment, for in that you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things. And do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment upon those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? Romans 2:1-4 NAS77
But if you bear the name "Jew," and rely upon the Law, and boast in God, and know His will, and approve the things that are essential, being instructed out of the Law, and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the immature, having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth, you, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that one should not steal, do you steal? You who say that one should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God? For "THE NAME OF GOD IS BLASPHEMED AMONG THE GENTILES BECAUSE OF YOU," just as it is written. Romans 2:17-24 NAS77
I could easily quote the whole chapter, but you can read that for yourself. I just wanted to include a couple portions to give a better idea of what it was that the Spirit would prove to the world to be false. The world loves to get on its high horse and pontificate so as to convict everyone else of sin. Because the world (aka the natural man/mind) cannot believe in Christ, the Spirit simply by its presence confutes or convinces the world of the fallacy of perceptions. And hasn't the world (especially the religious system) had its nose stuck in its own stink every time it tries to point the finger at another? And hasn't the Spirit of Christ often come right in the midst of such exposure of hypocrisy to bring grace to those undone by it? For it is the kindness of God that leads to repentance, that is, to a new mind and the perception connected to it.