Scriptural Teaching Concerning Conviction -- By: Jeffrey Alexander

Journal: Central Bible Quarterly
Volume: CENQ 16:3 (Fall 1973)
Article: Scriptural Teaching Concerning Conviction
Author: Jeffrey Alexander


Scriptural Teaching Concerning Conviction

Jeffrey Alexander

“Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.” So begins David’s Psalm of repentance (Psalm 51). David had been guilty of adultery and had covered the sin, thus, adding to and compounding his transgression before God. David thought that he had been successful in concealing his foul deed from the eyes of men, but “the thing that David had done displeased the Lord” (II Sam. 11:27b).

How did David come to the place of confession and repentance? “The Lord sent Nathan unto David” (II Sam. 12:1a). That prophet of God went before the king and told of a rich man who stole the pet ewe lamb of his poor neighbor to feed the rich man’s friend. David went into a rage saying, “As the Lord liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die: and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing and because he had no pity” (II Sam. 12:5, 6). Nathan said unto David, “Thou art the man.” He laid bare the evidence of David’s sin and brought conviction home to David’s heart. “I have sinned against the Lord.”

The purpose of this study is to examine the important and necessary work of the Holy Spirit called “conviction.” This subject is important to consider because it is absolutely impossible for men to come to the Savior unless they have been convicted by the Holy Spirit of their sin. God cannot forgive and bless until the sinner willingly repents of sin and comes confessing his need and seeking the Lord.

The Concept Of Conviction

The singular Greek word used in the New Testament for “conviction” is variously translated “to convict,” “to convince,” “to reprove,” “to rebuke.” The table shows the seventeen instances where this word is used in the New Testament. These English words used are all good, but the words, “convict” and “convince,” carry the sense best.

In all of the standard sources, the unanimous opinion is that the word means “to prove guilty.” R. C. Trench states, “It is so to rebuke another, with such effectual wieldin...

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