What was your first thought after reading the title of this blog? What was your first reaction? Whether you agree or not, why did you react the way you did? Was it from your personal experience of struggling with sin? Was it because of what someone told you? Or was it because of what you read in the Bible, or what someone else read in God’s Word and told you, so you took it as truth?
Either way, I do not have the answer. I have an idea. In fact, maybe I do have the answer but am not yet confident to state it as a statement, yet. But I will make you think, and think critically. Too many times we hear other peoples interpretation of the Bible and take it as truth, rather than critically thinking about it for ourselves in our own, private devotion with God. We are to critically think about God’s Word, on our own. That is one of the reasons why Jesus spoke in parables. He wants you to think for yourself. He wants you to meditate on it, to seek Him, to discover the mysteries found in God’s Word, for it is a pearl hidden in a field (Matthew 13). Sometimes, you have to dig to find it.
Is God ‘conscious’ of our sin? I have been thinking about this questions for a while now. It all started when I was studying conviction.
John 16: (7)Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. (8)And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: (9)Of sin, because they believe not on me; (10)Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; (11)Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
This verse is speaking on the expedience of Jesus ascending to heaven so He could send the Holy Spirit, or Comforter. Expedient means advantageous, or to our advantage. Then it says that when He comes, He will reprove the world of sin. In the NIV, the word “convict” is the word used for reprove. I found it interesting that the word “convict” is not found in the King James Version. But “reprove” is. Reprove is the Greek word “elegchō” (ἐλέγχω), and means to refute with shame, to bring to the light, or to expose.
However, in John 16:8 it is important to note who the Holy Spirit is reproving: the world. And when you take in consideration verse 9, when Jesus says “of sin, because THEY believe not on me”, He is using the word “world” in the context of the ungodly multitude; the whole mass of men alienated from God, and therefore hostile to the cause of Christ. This is the definition of ‘world’, or the Greek word “kosmos” (κόσμος). The Holy Spirit, the Comforter, is sent to convict the world of not believing in Jesus. And this can be shameful. This is why simply the presence of a Spirit-filled believer can put a non-believer on the defensive, uncomfortable or on edge while not even interacting directly! The Comforter is to bring the darkness into light, to expose the unbelief of the world through the Holy Spirit.
Realizing this, 2 questions are brought to my mind. First, is conviction for the believer or does God bring our sin into the light; does He see our sin? And the second question is, do we confuse conviction for direction? To answer this, we must first understand that the Holy Spirit and the Word of God are synonymous. The Holy Spirit is the Word and the Word is the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 4:12). Knowing this, we will secondly look to 2 Timothy 3:16:
The Greek word for ‘doctrine’ is “didaskalia” (διδασκαλία), and means for teaching or instruction. The word ‘reproof’ in this verse is a different form of ‘reproof’, as it is the Greek word “elegchos” (ἔλεγχος) [not “elegchō” (ἐλέγχω) as previously exemplified as refuting with shame], and means a form of “a proof, that by which a thing is proved or tested”. “For correction” is the Greek word “epanorthōsis” (ἐπανόρθωσις), and means “restoration to an upright or right state”, meaning righteousness. Finally in 2 Timothy 3:16, the word “instruction” as in “instruction into righteousness”, is the Greek word “paideia” (παιδεία), and means “the whole training and education of children (which relates to the cultivation of mind and morals)” in righteousness!
Now, the translation of that verse is a whole other blog; an exciting one as you can see because it says that God’s Word is not only God breathed, but it shows you your righteous state! But for times sake, we will keep to our topic of conviction, or reproof.
In 2 Timothy 3:16, a form of the word reproof is used to prove or test something. We find what exactly it proves in 2 Corinthians 1:21-22, and will use the NIV translation for simplicities sake:
2 Corinthians 1:(21)Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, (22)set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
The test, or proof of the Holy Spirit, is proving what has been done and what is to come. It is your seal of righteousness, your proof that you are bought with the blood of Jesus. It is your deposit, the down-payment of Christ’s blood for your salvation and preservation of a righteous state until the second-coming of Christ to bring us into eternity.
To me, I see nothing of the sort that God uses conviction to guide, teach and direct us as His righteous children, through Christ. There is no shame-full reproof, or bringing to the light any darkness because we ARE the light unto the world (Matthew 5:14).
Does God see sin?
If God sees sin, how can grace super-abound over sin (Romans 5:20). If God saw sin, how could our sins be paid for once, and for all time (1 Peter 3:18)? If God saw our sin, how could we be sanctified once, and for all time (Hebrews 10:10)? If God saw our sin, how could Christ be sacrificed once for many (Hebrews 9:28)? If God saw our sin, how could we be justified, and have peace with God (Romans 5:1)? How could we be saved from God’s wrath (Romans 5:9)? How could Christ be the propitiation, or the atoning sacrifice for our sins?
You know what, I will say it. I believe God chooses not to see our sin. He has chosen to honor the sacrifice of His son Jesus Christ, for the payment of our sins. If God saw our sins, Christ would have died in vain. When God looks at us, He sees Christ. This is why we are like Christ, in this world (1 John 4:17). The blood of Christ covers your sin. There is nothing to see when it comes to sin. God’s Word, the Holy Spirit encourages you to live a righteous life, through Christ. He does not do this by showing you your sins, but by showing you you are righteous. There is no greater motivator then one being told they are righteous, especially when its from God! In fact, you are the glory of God (2 Corinthians 3:18). When you read God’s Word, it is the mirror reflecting your righteousness through Christ, the glory of God manifesting through you (2 Corinthians 3:18). God does not see you as a sinner, but as His righteous, beloved son/daughter who is His spotless bride. We should see ourselves that way too. When you see yourself as God does, sin will loose its grip over you.
In fact, I believe when people are more focused on their sin rather than being the righteousness of God, through Christ, deep down they do not believe their sin has been paid for, or they think that God holds their sin against them. They focus on their sin, they believe they are a sinner, and they will continue to live in sin and condemn themselves. I believe this happens to many of us, we confuse direction for conviction, and then we condemn ourselves.
If God does not see our sin, why should we not sin, you ask? You can see in Paul’s writings in Romans that he faced this same argument often because He preached grace. To answer briefly, it hardens our heart meaning it makes us insensitive to God’s presence therefore His love, and we will discuss this more in the next blog as a follow up to this one.
If you are struggling with sin, as John 16:8-11 shows us, admit you are the righteousness of God, through Christ (John 16:10), and claim the kingdom of darkness has been defeated and has no power over you (John 16:11).
Then you will live as God’s beloved, and you will live in God’s grace: your unmerited favor and it will be freeing. And when you see through the lens of grace, the Bible will show you your reflection: the glory of God, the righteousness of God, through Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Romans 4:8 Blessed is the one
whose sin the Lord will never count against them.
Psalm 32:1-2 Blessed is the one
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
2 Blessed is the one
whose sin the Lord does not count against them
and in whose spirit is no deceit.
You are loved.