Pastor Floyd Koenig
Prior to regeneration the Holy Spirit prepares the sinnerís heart. Those who are to eternally enjoy the benefits of faith in Christ are first made to see their need of Him. The self-righteous spirit of man must be broken up that the Savior may receive all the glory in salvation.
We need to remember that the Holy Spirit is a sovereign agent in salvation. He works as He pleases, and one personís experience must not be made a pattern for others.
Some spend months under conviction, while others are soon brought to full assurance.
The eunuch seemed to be under conviction for a good while before he was saved (Acts 8:26-39).
The Philippian jailor, on the other hand, didnít seem to be under conviction very long before he was saved (Acts. 16:25-34).
Some, like Paul, find the Lord who were not seeking Him (Rom. 10:20). Some seem to be allowed to view the depths of their depravity before they find peace, while others are led more fully into a knowledge of their sinfulness after salvation.
God alone knows our hearts, so He alone knows how best to deal with each of His people.
Letís consider some of the preparatory works of the Spirit in Salvation.
1. Unsaved men are blinded to their great need of a Savior (Jn. 3:18-19).
2. The unregenerate do not see death, sin, judgment and eternity as realities (Isa. 28:15).
3. Those who are not saved slumber on the brink of Hell.
B. IN AWAKENING THE SINNER, THE HOLY SPIRIT IMPRESSES UPON HIS MIND THE REALITY OF ETERNITY AND JUDGMENT.
1. The sinner becomes aware that he is in danger of Godís wrath.
2. Spiritual matters become important to him.
3. However, not everyone who is awakened is saved.
4. Some are lulled back to sleep by and empty profession of religion or the pull of the world.
- As was the case when Paul witnessed to Felix (Acts. 24:24-25).
1. It is only those who have been regenerated who are renewed in knowledge (Col. 3:10).
2. When the sinner is under conviction he may be ignorant of the nature of faith, but he sees clearly the danger of sin and the seriousness of eternity.
3. For the first time his soul becomes important.
B. EVEN THE NATURAL MAN CAN BE MADE TO FEAR HELL AND BE CONCERNED FOR HIS ETERNAL WELFARE.
1. This is of course different from the light of regeneration that enables a man to love God.
2.This illumination then is simply a stirring up of manís natural mind to see the danger of sin and judgment.
In conviction a man is convinced and reproved concerning his sinful condition. This alone can give the sinner a desire to know Christ.
1. They are convicted of SIN.
b. God convicts of original sin, of failure to keep His Word, and of the sin of unbelief.
b. And of their need of His righteousness (Mt. 5:6).
b. The powers of evil have no chance for victory, but all will ultimately stand before God.
1. Without conviction men would not be ready to admit their total defilement, nor would they come to Christ as helpless beggars.
b. Conviction, therefore, prepares the soul for faith in Christ.
- Godly sorrow precedes repentance which is a premanent change of heart and mind about sin (II Cor. 7:10).
C. THERE ARE CERTAIN MEANS THAT THE SPIRIT USES TO BRING CONVICTION.
1.While conviction is a work of Godís Spirit, yet He is pleased to use certain truths in this work.
2. The Holy Spirit uses the law to convict men of their sin (Rom. 3:19-20; 7:7-13).
b. But in conviction they see that it is Godís glory that they fall short of (Rom. 3:23).
- Many have testified that it was a view of Godís goodness that convicted them of their sin.
D. THE EVIDENCES OF TRUE CONVICTION.
1. Real conviction causes a man to accept his guilt (Ps. 51:4; Lk. 18:9-14).
2. Real conviction destroys self-righteousness (Lk. 18:9-14; Isa. 64:6).
3. Real conviction sees sin as being against God (Ps. 51:4; Lk. 15:18).
4. Real conviction leads one to Christ, rather than to worldly despair (II Cor. 7:10).
Conviction may not be a pleasant work, but it is a necessary one. To see ourselves as we are is a prerequisite to seeing Christ.
In the first four beatitudes, our Lord explains that only those who have experienced such conviction are truly blessed (Mt. 5:3-6).
Before a person is saved the Holy Spirit will often produce within him a desire to pray and to hear Godís Word.
The purpose of the Spiritís preparatory work in salvation is to prepare the sinner to appreciate the Lord Jesus Christ.
Every work of the Spirit leads the sinner closer to the realization
that faith in Christ alone can save the soul.
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