Do you know what it means to be convicted of your sin? Do you really understand just how sinful you are and why you need a Savior?
I think there are many who do not understand the extent of their sinfulness and the separation that sin brings. This is particularly evident when people claim they are good people, when they believe they can approach God without first being redeemed by Christ, and when they see nothing wrong with the way they live.
The Bible however paints a different picture of mankind. Paul tells us in Romans that no one is righteous, no not one (Rom. 3:10). He goes on to tell us that we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). The Psalmist agrees when he tells us that we are all sinners from our mother’s womb. Born utterly corrupt without a righteous bone in our body (Ps. 51:5).
In order to be saved from our sin, we must agree with Paul and the Psalmist. True conviction doesn’t and cannot occur until we do. Using Paul and the Psalmist as a launching pad, let me give you what I see as three necessary marks of the truly convicted.
3 Marks of the Truly Convicted
(1) The truly convicted are aware of a severed relationship with God
Sin hinders our relationship with God because a holy God cannot have a relationship with sinful man. Just like oil and water don’t mix, a holy God and sinful men can’t mix.
Those who are truly convicted of their sin understand their relationship with God is severed and hinders their fellowship.
(2) The truly convicted admit they are guilty of sin against God
Isaiah understood he was guilty because of his actions. In Isaiah 6:1-5, we read,
In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”
And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”
After coming face to face with the reality of God’s holiness, Isaiah pronounces a woe on himself, saying he is lost and a man of unclean lips. He understood his sinful actions against God where offensive and left him guilty.
Just like Isaiah, those who are convicted of their sins admit the same.
(3) The truly convicted admit their complete perversity and corruption
When we are convicted of our sin, we recognize we are wholly depraved and there is nothing good in us. Once we recognize our condition, we then seek cleansing from our guilt and defilement. Such was the attitude of the Psalmist.
In Psalm 51, he asks the Lord to have mercy on him and to wash him because he understood himself to be a sinner, who was evil in the Lord’s sight. Utter and complete corruption characterized his life of which he understood the implications, namely, a severed relationship with God, which would result in eternal damnation.
Those who are convicted of their sin, agree with the Psalmist and plead with God to cleanse them as well.
Questions for Reflection
- Are you willing to admit you are completely and utterly corrupt?
- Do you believe that you stand guilty before God because of your sin?
- Do you generally see yourself as a good person in God’s eyes? Or do you see yourself as a sinner in need of a Savior?
- Does the realization of your sinful drive you to plead with God to cleanse you?
Post adapted from Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God, by J.I. Packer, 66-81.