“For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight—That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge.” Psalm 51:3-4 NKJV
The Lord is a God of mighty gifts. He is a Father of many blessings. Though He gives much to His children, there are three gifts that every true born-again believer receives. As we repent and believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice for our sins, we receive the gift of salvation. Once we have truly believed, we then are given the gift of the Holy Spirit, who comes to guide us through this life and sanctify us. Both the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit were sent by God in order to save us and restore us. It is the redemptive work of God Almighty that saves the soul of each man and woman who chooses to deny themselves, take up their cross daily and follow Christ (Luke 9:23 NKJV).
It is conviction that breaks our heart for the things that led Christ to the Cross.
From there, the third greatest gift that the Lord gives us is one that is rarely preached. This gift is not something that is seen as a gift, yet the fruits it brings are beyond what we could do in our own strength. The third gift, which is done by the Holy Spirit’s presence within us, is the conviction of sin. It is the gift of conviction that keeps us on the right path and glorifying the Lord. It is through conviction where we are able to decipher what is glorifying to God and what is not. It is conviction that breaks our heart for the things that led Christ to the Cross. It is conviction that draws us to become more holy like our Heavenly Father (1 Peter 1:16).
The Holy Spirit, in His time, convicts us differently, according to the depth of maturity that we have grown in Him.
There are many forms of conviction. As we grow in spiritual maturity, we will not only be convicted of sin but of distraction, hierarchies of priorities, etc. The Holy Spirit, in His time, convicts us differently, according to the depth of maturity that we have grown in Him. For example, someone who is spiritually mature may be convicted of the amount of time they spend with friends compared to spending time in prayer with God. Others may be convicted of placing their ministry above their family. Some may be convicted of seeking God’s blessings rather than seeking God. These are various forms of conviction that the Holy Spirit presents to a mature Christian. All Christians, however, receive conviction from the Holy Spirit when it comes to sin. The remainder of this writing will look at the wonderful gift of conviction and David’s mature response when he had sinned.
When David committed adultery, then murder, then, as some would say, broke all the Ten Commandments within the same period of time, He became burdened with a broken heart. He realized that what he had done grieved the heart of God. He knew that he had completely rebelled against Him.
Let us look at 2 Samuel 12:1-13 (NKJV). It is in David’s response to the conviction that was brought forth by Nathan that we are able to learn much:
“Then the Lord sent Nathan to David. And he came to him, and said to him: “There were two men in one city, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had exceedingly many flocks and herds. But the poor man had nothing, except one little ewe lamb which he had bought and nourished; and it grew up together with him and with his children. It ate of his own food and drank from his own cup and lay in his bosom; and it was like a daughter to him. And a traveler came to the rich man, who refused to take from his own flock and from his own herd to prepare one for the wayfaring man who had come to him; but he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.” So David’s anger was greatly aroused against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this shall surely die! And he shall restore fourfold for the lamb, because he did this thing and because he had no pity.” Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your keeping, and gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more! Why have you despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in His sight? You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword; you have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the people of Ammon. Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ Thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, I will raise up adversity against you from your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, before the sun.’ ” So David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.””
In this part of David’s life, we see a sense of courage that not many wield in today’s society. When Nathan came to David and said, “you’re the man”, David could have easily gotten defensive. He could have made every excuse as to why he was not in the wrong. He could have professed his rights and his position because, at this time, David was one of the most powerful men in the world (Scholars differ as to whether he was the most powerful in his time - for the sake of discussion, we will say he was one of the most powerful men). Instead, he chose to allow conviction to take root within him.
The majority of folks today who are at an “average status” in life respond as the victim when they are presented with conviction.
The majority of folks today who are at an “average status” in life respond as the victim when they are presented with conviction. Many of them are soft, prideful and do not believe that they do wrong. It is ironic, however, that David being the most powerful man, respected Nathan. He did not boil with anger, nor did he order to have Nathan killed. Instead, he responds with “I have sinned against the Lord.” How strong David was to respond to conviction with humility and contrition.
David’s response towards conviction is not one that an immature, arrogant person would make.
It takes a lot of courage to admit when we sin. David’s response towards conviction is not one that an immature, arrogant person would make. In the two options David had, he responded with a burdened heart. He allowed the Lord’s conviction to have its place within his heart. He did not fight it nor try to excuse his wrongdoings. He simply admitted that He had sinned.
True born again believers do not desire to live a lifestyle of sin.
It is important to note that David did not become angry with God when Nathan said that God would “raise up adversity against David and would take his wives before his eyes and give them to his neighbor.” For we know from Job 1:21 that what the Lord gives, the Lord takes. It is when we are in complete rebellion to God that He has every right to bring adversity upon us. Though God can do as He wills at any time (for His decisions are always derived from His Sovereignty, Omniscience and Foreknowledge), He nevertheless knew that David’s rebellion would teach us a lesson that we cannot go through this life doing as we please and neglect the responsibility of obedience. Though we will stumble and fall, we must lean upon God’s grace. If we are to continue in sin as a believer, however, God will convict and chastise us, in order that we might learn from our mistakes and failures and be brought back to Him. “Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God” (1 John 3:9 NKJV). True born again believers cannot continue to willfully sin because they will be convicted of sinning. They will not desire to live a lifestyle of sin. Rather, they will long to please God with their actions, words, motives and deeds.
Those who allow conviction to take its place are the spiritually mature who place God above themselves.
It is in conviction, then, that we have the ability to respond one of two ways. Those who do not listen to conviction will ultimately be damned. Those who allow conviction to take its place are the spiritually mature who place God above themselves. They understand that it is through the conviction of the Holy Spirit that we are disciplined and become more righteous. For if a child was never disciplined by his father (which we see much in today’s society), that child becomes a fool in society. “The rod and rebuke give wisdom, But a child left to himself brings shame to his mother” (Proverbs 29:15 NKJV). God therefore disciplines our wrongdoings, in order that we might repent and turn from our sins and that which hinders our spiritual walk.
May God’s gift of conviction turn us from our old ways, in order that we might become more righteous in this life.
Therefore, let us allow the blessed gift of conviction to have its place. Let us not become prideful and simply brush it off. Let us be as David and be open to receive rebuke. For “Rebuke is more effective for a wise man than a hundred blows on a fool” (Proverbs 17:10 NKJV). It is the conviction of God that rebukes our sinful and selfish ways and sanctifies our vessels. May God bless us with the spiritual maturity of praying for a deepened conviction of our sin. May God’s gift of conviction turn us from our old ways, in order that we might become more righteous in this life. May God take the scales off of our eyes and give us the maturity to see the severity of our sin; for it is our sin that led the Lord Jesus Christ to the Cross. Let us therefore close with David’s prayer found in Psalm 51 (NKJV):
Psalm 51 (NKJV)
“Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight— That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me. Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me hear joy and gladness, That the bones You have broken may rejoice. Hide Your face from my sins, And blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners shall be converted to You. Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, The God of my salvation, And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, And my mouth shall show forth Your praise. For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart—These, O God, You will not despise. Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion; Build the walls of Jerusalem. Then You shall be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, With burnt offering and whole burnt offering; Then they shall offer bulls on Your altar.”