“When the Counselor comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment.” John 16:8
This week I was looking at the websites of other churches in Northeast Ohio. On one church webpage I stumbled across this testimony from a new member of their congregation. He wrote: “Looking for a church, who’s like a big and happy family? We’re relevant, accepting of all, fun, friendly, socially active, with a little gospel. You’ll not be judged, or feel convicted here.”
As I read this endorsement, two phrases captured my attention: “a little gospel” and “you’ll not… feel convicted.” The word, “gospel” in the Greek means good news, so literally, this man is saying that you will only hear a little good news if you come to his church. I don’t believe that is what he intended to say, but his statement is accurate because to have the good news of the gospel requires conviction.
You see, conviction is a necessary element of the gospel of Jesus. Jesus came to be our Savior. He willingly died on the cross to bring forgiveness to all our sins. It is the wonderful message of God’s grace bestowed upon us, his children. But in order to receive God’s forgiveness, a person must first feel convicted that they are a sinner. In the above words from John, Jesus explained that one of the key reasons for sending the Holy Spirit is to convict us in regard to sin. Conviction is needed for forgiveness.
Plus, conviction is essential for growth. The Holy Spirit not only convicts our hearts so we experience forgiveness, the Holy Spirit also convicts us so that we will turn away from our sin and become more faithful to our God. God’s Spirit convicts our hearts to give up our sin so we become more and more like Jesus. I hope you will give glowing endorsements about Champion Presbyterian Church, but let them include the truth that at our church you will feel convicted and hear a lot of good news.
In Christ’s service,
Pastor Steve