1/. <<confidence, certainty>>

A person with personal convictions is certain that something is true and will remain loyal to those beliefs regardless of the situation and consequences. It is a mental assurance built up over time, as they have thought through the issues that are consolidated with reliable supporting evidence and so are not swayed by the opinions of others (2 Tim 3:14). However, having a firm belief and being convinced about the merits of something is not the same as being committed enough to act on it. This includes standing against popular opinion and peer pressure to compromise rather than obey God’s Word which should be the foundation of our convictions (Dan 1:8; Act 5:29). Faith is the belief that this is of God, ‘a witness in the Holy Spirit’ and ‘I will act on the inner witness’. Step out in faith on what you feel in your heart is from the Holy Spirit or your conscience will be tested – there will be times when it doesn’t make sense, things are turning to mush, and the dream seems to go up in smoke. Satan would try to wreck your vision, witness and effectiveness in the Kingdom of God. Especially at these times don’t look at the waves which are coming against you but call out Jesus “Save me” (Mt 14:30). Faith ultimately is rewarded, “receiving the end of your faith, the salvation of your souls” (1 Pet 1:9).

In various matters of life when there is no specific directive in the Bible, consider the principles involved and use reason to form your own rule of belief, being convinced this is acceptable to God without judging those who have a different stance on these issues that are controversial (Rom 14:1,5;

Act on your convictions

2 Tim 3:16,17; Jas 1:5). As believers, we are to be tolerant of the feelings, preferences and views of others as we demonstrate Christ's love and righteousness yet in good conscience we can't approve of sin in its various forms.

Although he suffered so much, Paul was fully persuaded that nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God (Rom 8:38,39). Later he also wrote, “I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him for that day” (2 Tim 1:12). He was so sure of these and numerous other facts he was prepared to give his all for the gospel as have countless martyrs who refuse to renounce their allegiance to Christ.

See also: assurance, belief/believe, certainty, commitment, confidence, conscience, controversial issues, essential, faith, opinions, persuade.

2/. <<being found guilty>>

The means whereby God speaks into our spirit (conscience), producing either peace (this is the way walk in it, through continuing obedience) or a feeling of sinfulness and guilt (Isa 30:21; Jn 8:9). The Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, show the availability of God's righteousness to anyone who

Can I readily pick the difference between conviction and condemnation?

believes and His judgment over Satan (Jn 16:8). It is then our responsibility either to own up to the sin exposed and repent of it with the ensuing peace of restored fellowship with God and calmed conscience, or try and justify our wrongdoing with a further distancing ourselves from God (Gen 3:12,13; 1 Jn 1:9). God’s purpose for conviction and correction (discipline) is not punishment for the wrong committed but rather to bring us back to Himself (reconciliation) so we will walk in increasing truth, usefulness and relationship. Conviction specifically addresses a particular situation while condemnation from Satan is much more general.  Conviction is a positive thing – we are offered an opportunity to change, whereas condemnation is a negative ‘you are guilty’ verdict with subsequent punishment and no chance of redress. The conviction of the Spirit leads to freedom and eternal life if we obey His touch by repenting and asking for forgiveness. The Bible calls this "Godly sorrow that leads to salvation" (Act 11:18; 2 Cor 7:10).

It is important to understand the conviction of sin is not having a guilty conscience, a sense of fear of divine punishment or even a knowledge of right and wrong and the consequences of sin with "no immoral, impure or greedy person having any inheritance in the Kingdom of God" yet continuing to live this way (Eph 5:5). Rather, true conviction means we are convinced of the truth that we need a Saviour as we grasp the complete awfulness of sin, yet recognising His purity and holiness and that in our sin we can't live with Him as it exposes ourselves to His righteous judgment (Ps 5:4; Rom 1:18, 2:5). The Holy Spirit not only opens our eyes to our sin, so we see the seriousness of it but brings us to salvation to receive His grace (Lk 13:5; Act 17:30; Eph 2:8). In our ongoing Christian walk, sin is a major hindrance in our relationship with God. Thus, repentance should be vital continuing component that when we are convicted of doing wrong we put matters right with God (1 Jn 1:9). While sin is often committed against our fellow man it is primarily an offence against God (Ps 51:4).

See also: condemn, confession, conscience, forgiveness, guilt, reconciliation, repentance.