The Holy Spirit, The Ultimate In Conviction
by Pastor Jack Hyles (1926-2001)
(Chapter 27 from Dr. Hyle's excellent book, Meet The Holy Spirit)
God is so good to us in helping us flee sin. Hence, He uses everything within His disposal to let us know that sin is wrong and is not for our own good. There are several things that God uses in a progressive way to keep us from sin and to convict us of evil.
1. The conscience. Romans 2:155, 16, "Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another; in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel." The conscience is the kindergarten of conviction. It is that part of us that God has given that instinctively tells us what is wrong. It tells us what NOT to do. It is, in a sense, the accuser. When one is in a situation where he should not be, the conscience says, "You should not be here." You then obey the conscience and leave. Being the kindergarten of conviction, the conscience does not tell you where to go when you leave the undesirable place.
The conscience says, "You shouldn't do that." so you quit, but it does not tell you what you SHOULD do. The Bible teaches us that the conscience can become seared and depraved. Hebrews 9:14, "How much more shall the blood of Christ, Who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" Consequently, one should be very sensitive to his conscience and obey that righteous instinct not to do evil.
2. The Bible. Romans 7:13, "Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment mighty become exceeding sinful." Conscience tells us what NOT to do; the Bible does THAT AND MORE. Not only does it tell us what NOT to do, but it reminds us of the exceeding sinfulness of sin. Then it adds WHAT to do and gives us principles and examples to tell us how to do good, the blessing of doing good and the consequences of doing evil. The conscience says, "You should not be here," and stops there. The Bible comes along and says, "You should not be here, but this is the TYPE PLACE you should be." Now the Bible does not give the EXACT place, but it does give us the TYPE of place that we should go. The conscience says, "You should not do this." The Bible comes along and says, "That's right. You should not do that, and this is the type of thing you should do." It does, however, stop short of telling us EXACTLY what good thing to do and WHERE TO DO IT.
The conscience says, "You are in the wrong neighborhood." The Bible comes along and underlines the words of the conscience and goes farther and says, "Not only should you not be in this neighborhood, but this is the type neighborhood to which you should go." In a sense, the Bible then becomes the grade school of conviction.
3. Jesus. Luke 2:34, 35, "And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary His mother, Behold, this Child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." The conscience told us what NOT to do. The Bible told us what no to do and went a step farther to tell us WHAT TYPE of thing we SHOULD do. Now Jesus comes along and convicts us by His pattern. He shows us a model life with which we can compare ours. As we compare our life to His, we become aware of our weaknesses and failures and thereby are convicted of our wrong and our lack of right. So in giving us a pattern of life of One Who follows both the conscience and the Word of God, Jesus becomes, in a sense, the high school of conviction.
4. The Holy Spirit. John 16:8, "And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment." We call the Holy Spirit the university of conviction. We have learned form the conscience what NOT to do and from the Bible the type thing we are TO DO; in Jesus we see a model of the above; not the Holy Spirit adds another dimension. He comes to tell us that sin is wrong, but He tells us specifically WHERE to go and WHAT good to do. When one by his conscience has been convicted of his wrong and by the Bible has been taught principles of what is right and sees both of them combined in the perfect life of Christ, he then must come to the Holy Spirit and ask what good he is supposed to do. The conscience says, "You should not be here. You should leave." The Bible comes along and tells you the type of area into which you should go. The Holy Spirit then tells you into WHICH of the desirable areas you should go.
A man is driving to fast on the highway. He does not know the speed limit and his speedometer is not working, and yet something tells him that he is driving too fast. This is the conscience. He then sees a speed limit sign and his speedometer begins to work, so he finds not only that he is driving too fast but exactly how fast he is driving. The speed limit sign and the speedometer symbolize the Word of God. He then notices another driver who is driving carefully within the speed limit. This typifies Jesus, the pattern of the Spirit-filled life. Then he asks the Holy Spirit to tell him WHERE to drive and EXACTLY HOW FAST to drive.
In summary, the conscience tells us what we should NOT do. The Bible comes along and verifies the conscience and adds the type thing we SHOULD do. Jesus comes along and shows us the perfect EXAMPLE. Then the Holy Spirit tells us WHICH good thing we should do and which acceptable area is God's place for our lives.
If one leaves out the Holy Spirit, he may drive properly in the wrong place. If one leaves out the Bible and the Holy Spirit and trusts only his conscience, he may come out of the wrong place but not know where to go and will no doubt, sooner or later, return to the place where he should not be. Hence, the wise Christian will be careful to listen to his conscience concerning evil. He will examine the Scriptures to find Bible principles that tell him what not to do and what to do. He will study the life of Jesus and ask the Holy Spirit to help him become more and more fashioned in His likeness. Then day by day and moment by moment he will walk in the Spirit, asking the Holy Spirit that EXACT place that he should be and the exact thing that he should be doing.
This chapter is being written in the early hours of the morning. The sun is coming up. I am sitting in a rented car on the top of a mountain overlooking Mary Lake near Lucerne, California. The handiwork of God is unbelievable. No one knows where I am. Not a person in the entire world knows exactly where I am at this moment, but I am sure that the Holy Spirit has led me to this very spot. My conscience and my Bible tell my some things that people are doing here that I should not do. I should not dress as many are dressed. I should not go into the taverns that are so popular. However, there are many places nearby that would be desirable for me to visit, so I asked the Holy Spirit to lead me to the ONE SPOT where He wants me this morning so that I may fellowship with Him for awhile.
Here I am looking across at a mountain that He made, looking down at a beautiful lake that He formed, admiring gorgeous trees that He planted and nurtured and looking at a sunrise that He painted. I am in the will of God; He ordained it so. I have already yielded myself to the Holy Spirit and to His leadership today. Won't you join me now and bow your head. Promise God that you are going to flee that which the conscience says is evil and that you are going to live in the Word of God so that you may know what is evil and what is good. Then yield yourself to the Holy Spirit and walk with Him and in Him today so that you may know exactly into what place you should to today and exactly what good you should do today. May your conscience convict you of wrong, the Bible convict you of the areas of right, and may the Holy Spirit lead you into the particular area that He has planned for you today!
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