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A Work of Conviction – Uses of the Law: To Engage God’s Spirit (3)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011, 0:01
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A Work of Conviction

Uses of the Law: To Engage God’s Spirit (3)

“And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin…” John 16:8

We have already seen that the Law of God is able to define and expose sin, so that sinners might see their need for repentance and cry out to God for mercy.

The fact that we have become believers in Jesus Christ, so that our sins are forgiven, does not mean that we cease from sinning. We deceive ourselves if we think that this is somehow so (1 John 1:8-10).

The work of sanctification proceeds from conviction, confession, and repentance through renewal to transformation, beginning in the soul—mind, heart, and conscience—and working out into all our words and deeds. The Spirit of God works with the Law of God to make us willing and able to do the pleasure of God, for which He has redeemed us (Ezek. 36:26, 27; Phil. 2:13; Eph. 2:10).

As we daily read and meditate in the Law of God, we must be continuously in prayer that God, by His Spirit, would search and try us, know our minds and hearts, and show us any wicked or grievous ways that are established or taking shape in any aspect of our lives (Ps. 139:23, 24). As we do, we can expect from time to time that the Spirit of God will convict us of sin, for this is one of the reasons He has been sent to take up residence within us.

The pangs of conviction come in an arresting manner, like David standing before Nathan. We experience a sudden feeling of guilt, shame, embarrassment, or sadness as the Spirit illuminates some dark recess in our thinking, feelings, or values and shines the holy and righteous and good light of God’s Law there (Rom. 7:12). We are exposed. We are caught.

Everything depends on what we do next. If we deny the convicting work of the Spirit, in effect, saying that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and call God a liar (1 John 1:8, 10). If, on the other hand, we cry out for mercy, appealing to the righteousness and blood of Jesus Christ, and seeking a way of returning our lives to a proper footing (Ps. 119:59, 60), then we may expect that the Spirit will meet us there and begin to transform us—mind, heart, conscience, and practices—in the everlasting way of Christlikeness.

We must allow Spirit of God, working with the Law of God, to do His convicting work in our souls. Otherwise, we will not be able to move beyond sin into the righteousness of Jesus Christ and the good works for which we have been redeemed.

For a practical guide to the role of God’s Law in the life of faith, get The Ground for Christian Ethics by going to www.ailbe.org and click on our Bookstore, then Church Issues.

In the Gates is a devotional series on the Law of God by Rev. T.M. Moore, editor of the Worldview Church. He serves as dean of the Centurions Program of the Wilberforce Forum and principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He is the author or editor of twenty books, and has contributed chapters to four others. His essays, reviews, articles, papers, and poetry have appeared in dozens of national and international journals, and on a wide range of websites. His most recent books are The Ailbe Psalter and The Ground for Christian Ethics (Waxed Tablet).

Scripture quotations in this article are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, (c) copyright 2001, 2007 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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