Throwing Down the Hammer: Conviction of Sin (1)

         “Is not My word like fire?” declares the LORD, “and like a hammer which shatters a rock?” [Jeremiah 23:29]

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         “I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.” [Revelation 2:23]

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         Almost everyone on the planet thinks he is a good person. There will almost always be someone in someone’s circle of family and friends to honor him regardless of his faults or transgressions. Many continue to honor family members and friends in this way after they pass on. In most cases, like at most funerals, those who have passed on are perceived as veritable saints. They are commended for their personalities, work habits, virtues, or seemingly inherent goodness. It’s rare that someone is not honored at his funeral.

         There is thus a natural defense mechanism in those who defend the ones who cannot defend themselves, and to pay tribute to those who they deem good and have lived a good life. Because there is an emotional connection and love, and because feelings are tender, we always have a tendency to remember the good.

         But such remembrances are usually not complete. God certainly sees the good things we have done, but He also sees the bad things. He knows our virtues, but He also knows our vices. Like most of us, I don’t think His intention is to trash fallible human beings at such a time, those who have done many good things in life and had good intentions or possessed what may be referred to as a “good heart.” He proved this by becoming one of us and giving His life on our behalf.

         But He will never simply cover over our sins or refuse to acknowledge them as most of us would do. That is our foible. It is up to each individual to face the facts in this regard.

         …For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God… [Romans 3:23]

         Sin is the most uncomfortable aspect of humanity. We all know we do things we would rather not (excepting, of course, the super saints among us), and many are actually so bound by sin and out of control they are helpless to stop bad behavior. Other people try everything they know to be righteous and often succeed from a human standpoint, but are haunted by failures they cannot overcome. Here’s a guy with this exact problem:

         “For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.” [Romans 7:19] [1]

         Since there seems to be no cure whatsoever, the solution for many is to simply redefine sin. If all the bad we do is actually not sin (something wrong or evil), then such actions are merely basic and indigenous expressions of humanity. In other words, if there is no such thing as sin then there is no such thing as sinners. It is relatively simple and easy to deceive oneself regarding this, but even easier when society as a whole teaches and enforces the idea, since individual sinners find comfort and security in numbers. Hence, the trashing of longstanding moral codes that have proven to be very effective historically at keeping people and societies moral. This is especially true of the Law of Moses.

         The Torah has POWER in that it brings CONVICTION.

         But conviction of sin is not comfortable. Humans would rather not believe they are perpetrators of evil. Thus, the acknowledgement of sin is opposed by self-righteousness, and the self-righteous are currently winning the battle since they have become the majority. The concept of sin is no longer a viable issue within society as a whole. The truth of sin has generally been rejected.

         But why is this idea just as strong among “Christians?” Why have so many church officials and congregations redefined sin and even eliminated it? Before the Lord brings conviction of sin to the world, He must first bring conviction of sin to Christians. When He does, all who pay attention find out who the real Christians among us are, because real Christians respond to the conviction. Real Christians respond with real repentance, since they acknowledge their sins and feel anguish, distress, and sorrow as a result. Barring such a response, all non-responders, including unreal Christians, remain unconverted, are no different than unregenerate humanity, and remain in their sins.

         The Word of God shines a light upon us outwardly and inwardly, to the depths of our hearts and down to the very genetic and DNA structure. If one has any sin, the Word will reveal it. This is why conviction of sin is a GREAT thing, because it shocks every individual with knowledge of their disease. And sin is the worst of any and all diseases, metastasizing even to the soul.

         Many people have virus protection for their computers. Also, people go to the doctor and get checkups. They have routine medical examinations. And such examinations, like scanning one’s computer, are so thorough and all-encompassing that anything possibly wrong is rarely missed. The technology for detecting problems, even at a very early level, is impressive.

         Now imagine the Word of God as a sin detector. God searches the soul the way doctors and medical technicians examine the physical body. While their means are impressive, His methods are perfect.

         But they can only work if we make an appointment.

         © 2014 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued]


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Posted on February 3, 2014, in Teaching and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. This whole post is good, but that last part especially. Wow. Yes. God’s Word illuminates sin and brings conviction. When I see so many within the church debating the validity/relevance of the Bible, holy fear comes over me. To try and change what God has said and given us is to walk on dangerous ground. Not only that, but it is taking away the “light” in a sense. How can those walking in darkness see the great light if it is distorted and even snuffed out in places? I pray that bright lights emerge from within the body of Christ, exposing fallacy and false teaching by our lives lived in holiness and fear of The Lord, and I ask Him to help us stay firmly rooted in Him so we can hold out the Word of Life to those who are perishing. Thank you, RJ.

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    • Thank you, Natalie. Your comment shows so much insight. Sin is a life and death issue, but the subject is often treated as something to avoid or even eliminate. Whoever does this for any reason is certainly not in agreement with God. The Lord is good, and is especially good to us in wanting to reveal the truth. How can we be healed of something we are not aware of or deny? We all need the strong and pure Word of God and the bright Light of the Lord Jesus.

      Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way. [Psalm 139:23-24]

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  2. “Is not My word like fire?” declares the LORD, “and like a hammer which shatters a rock?” [Jeremiah 23:29]

    Great verse! I know I must have read it before but didn’t remember it. Looking forward to your next installment.

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  3. I’m glad I went back to my email tonight and found the link to this first part of the series. Yes, God is a God of love, but first of all He is a holy God Who cannot look upon sin. Great teaching. Thank you.

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