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Bible verses about Conviction
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Conviction is a product of the relationship with God. It is not something that suddenly inspires a person to stand up for God; rather, conviction is the product—the fruit—of a relationship. The relationship about which we are concerned is our relationship with God. Conviction, then, is not something that we have in a flash but a quality that builds through the experiences we have with God, in making Him the center of our lives.

Why are we convicted? Because we really come to know Him. Our perception of God's nature, our discernment of right and wrong, our vision of His purpose—all of these elements feed into strengthening convictions that will prove what we are in the day of trial. We are concerned with the growth of these elements, and their growth depends upon our day-to-day faithfulness in the little things of life.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Conviction, Moses and Us


 

Exodus 2:9-10

In this long process of faith- and conviction-building in Moses, God was laying a foundation in him, in that people of faith parented him during his most formative years. One should never conclude that the first several years of a child's life are unimportant; in fact, it is in those first couple of years that he is started down the path of the rest of his life. What path will it be?

"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6).

Train means "to hedge in," "to put walls around," "to narrow the way." God was doing this through Amram and Jochebed: They were starting Moses down the right path.

We do not know for sure how long Moses was with his real parents. It was at least until he was weaned. In those days, it seems to have been customary for a child to be on the breast for about two years before he was weaned. It is possible, some commentators say, understanding the culture of Egypt, it is likely that Moses was with Amram and Jochebed until he was about six years old. The reason, they say, was to get the child through those "bad years," for instance, "the terrible twos," because they had them too. By the time he was turned over to Pharaoh's daughter, he was over the hump, and she would not have such a hard time taking care of him. So, he may actually have lived with Amram and Jochebed through what we could call the pre-school years.

In verses 9-10, there is an ironic twist. God worked it out that the child who, by order of Pharaoh, should have been killed at birth is now under the secure protection of the powerful family that ordered his death. God has a sense of humor, does He not?

Not only that, the family of Moses not only received their precious baby back, but they were paid wages for doing something that they would gladly have done for free had the situation been different. It is examples like this that caused later writers to comment that God knows how to deliver the godly out of their temptations and trials. For instance, in Ephesians 3:20, Paul says that God can do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us, the Holy Spirit.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Conviction and Moses


 

Exodus 3:10-11

The time had come. Previously, Moses thought he was ready, and he impetuously promoted himself to do the job. He did it without waiting for God.

Look at the difference: Before, Moses promoted himself, but now he says, "God, who am I?" What a change took place in his thinking! He not only hesitated about going, but he almost seems petrified about the prospects of going. This is a true principle of those who have been humbled in their field of expertise.

The young foolishly think, in their vanity, that their strength will allow them to sail through any problem. They are deceived by their own ignorance. Like Moses, they foolishly rush in where angels fear to tread. When they come to understand, usually after years of experience, they realize how very little they know.

This principle is clearly shown in the way a student of science might be humbled. He may have graduated from high school, then from college, and may have even obtained a master's degree and now works on a doctorate. He has learned a great deal. However, after maybe twenty years of experience in the field of chemistry or biology, he realizes there is a great deal more that he does not know, more than his accumulation of schooling and experience. If he is a Christian, he begins to see God's creation and the Creator's mind in a much different light.

That is what has happened to Moses. In those forty years, his impetuous spirit had been dissolved, and he saw the power of Egypt in its true light. He may have feared execution, imprisonment, or embarrassment by the powerful Egyptians.

Does this not encumber and constrain us as well? We worry and fear that we will look foolish before friends and relatives if we obey God—if we keep the Sabbath or tithe. How many of our relatives have castigated us because of tithing? It seems awfully dumb to them, but how do we feel? Do we fear what they think?

Moses more fully recognizes his weaknesses in comparison to Egypt, and he quails at the thought. God has to overcome Moses' resistance. What a change! Moses was going to do it on his own before, but God now has to overcome his resistance. All of the testing God had put Moses through produces right faith and right conviction.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Conviction, Moses and Us


 

Proverbs 16:9

A man's external actions have their genesis within him, in his heart. We often hear laments from those who want to improve their health or to lose some weight. Yet, for a person's health to change for the better, he must begin by preparing himself and building strong convictions from within. How a person thinks, combined with what he thinks about, produces the conditions and the activities we see externally.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Eating: How Good It Is! (Part Five)


 

Daniel 3:16-19

They could see the rage in Nebuchadnezzar's face, but they also saw God. Where did their powerful conviction come? This kind of conviction does not arise "on command," at the spur of the moment. It is the product of the demonstration of God in the lives of these three young men before this time, before their lives were on the line. Their faith had grown and matured over a period of time.

God is always the same. What God says through Paul in I Corinthians 10:13 applied to them just as it applies to us. God knew what they could endure. They also knew that He would provide a "way of escape." Because of this, they told the king, despite his threats, "Even if God does not choose to protect us, we still are not going to bow down to your image."

Have we ever considered why more "mighty deliverances" do not occur to us? It is because we spend so little time fellowshipping with God that we do not see Him as an immediate and vitally important part of our lives. As a result, the physical "evidence" we see around us overwhelms us.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Do You See God? (Part Two)


 

Matthew 5:5

We should recognize that, when Jesus presents meekness in Matthew 5:5 as a highly desirable quality, He prefaces it with "Blessed are the poor in spirit" (verse 3) and "Blessed are those who mourn" (verse 4). He places it within a context that contains qualities that are similar to meekness. Alexander MacLaren writes in his comments on verse 5, "[Meekness] is the conduct and disposition towards God and man which follows from the inward experience described in the two former Beatitudes, which had relation only to ourselves" (Expositions of Holy Scriptures, vol. 6, "St. Matthew," p. 130). In other words, meekness is the active fruit of the other two, but whereas being poor in spirit and mourning are both internal in operation, meekness is both internal and external in its execution in one's life. Though this is not a complete description, it lays a good foundation.

Godly meekness is impossible unless we first learn a just and lowly estimate of ourselves. We must become poor in spirit. We do this by coming before God in deep penitence and with a clear knowledge of the vast difference between ourselves and what He is and what He means us to be. Paul says in Romans 12:3, "For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith." While pride destroys self and others, humility serves and builds.

Mourning springs from a sense of sin, from a tender conscience, from a broken heart. It is a godly sorrow over our rebellion against God and hostility to His will. It is the agonizing realization that it was not just sin in general but our own sins that nailed Christ to the stake. Notice that Matthew 5:4 is in the present tense, meaning that mourning is not confined to our initial repentance—it is a continuous experience. The Christian has much to mourn. If his conscience is kept tender by an ever-deepening discovery of human nature's depravity, his sins—both of omission and commission—are a sense of daily grief. Paul writes in Romans 8:23, "[W]e ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body." He adds in Romans 7:24, "O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?"

At the same time, this does not mean a Christian lives his life with a hang-dog expression and attitude, or that he lives his life feeling that he is a dirtbag or sleazeball who is still mucking around in a moral septic tank. A Christian is also forgiven, cleansed, and justified by the blood of Jesus Christ. He has access to God the Father, is the apple of His eye and has an awesome hope before him. He has the Holy Spirit in him. He is a child of the great Creator and looks forward to being resurrected and inheriting God's Kingdom. Christ died for him, and this creation exists for his perfection. A Christian has many reasons to feel a sense of exultation for what has been provided for him. An awareness of sin—as long as it is not allowed to become obsessive—will help him continue in a humble frame of mind by keeping pride in check, tempering his judgments, and allowing him to accept the events of life in a spirit that produces great contentment.

These qualities are produced when, with God's help, we rightly measure ourselves against the right standards—God and His law—rather than each other, and discover how much we owe to God's merciful grace. Anyone thus convicted and then forgiven and cleansed by Christ's blood is in the position to produce godly meekness.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fruit of the Spirit: Meekness


 

Matthew 10:34-39

Evaluate yourself against these pressures:

Peer Pressure

Teens tend to be idealistic, and this is good. They often resolve to be serious, "hit the books" and spurn the drugs, sex, smoking, drinking and "hanging out" that they have seen others doing. But if the "right" fellow or girl appears, or if the teen is recognized by the "right" clique, his desire to be accepted by them pressures him to adjust his ideals to conform to them. His ideals or convictions are merely preferences.

A minister may search the Bible for truth and find something interesting that he believes and resolves to do and teach. When he tells his fellow ministers about what he has found, they may say to him, "I don't say you're wrong in this, but don't you think you should tone it down a bit? Make it less offensive, and then maybe we can cooperate with you and work on some of your objectives."

At first he may strongly defend his belief, but little by little, as he sees the reaction of his peers, he may begin to bend. He believes it and resolves to do it, but if he changes, his belief is a preference.

If the Word of God tells us to change something, we must change it! But we must be very careful about things previously proved from God's Word, believed, put into practice and then changed when some form of pressure is brought to bear!

Family Pressure

This is perhaps the strongest pressure. When Jesus advises His disciples about counting the cost of commitment to Him, every person He mentions is a family member. "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple" (Luke 14:26).

Usually no one can motivate you like a deeply loved mate. A husband may resolve to commit himself to a strong belief, but on telling his wife, she replies, "Please don't, honey. Do you realize what this will do to us and our family?" His resolve begins to melt because he knows he will feel responsible if, because of his belief, he inflicts discomfort or pain on an innocent bystander.

Fear of Lawsuits

Living in perhaps the most litigious society ever on the face of the earth, we are aware of the expense and hassle of going to court, even for the innocent. We may say, "I'm all for this, but I'm not going to get sued over it! You can't ask me to be sued—that's going too far! The news media will make me out to be a villain. They'll publicly hang me! At the very least I'll lose my hard-earned reputation, maybe my job and all my property because of attorney and court costs." This daunting pressure causes many to change their beliefs.

Jail

You may have never really been in a jail, but they are not pleasant places. Most prisoners want to get out as quickly as they can. In fact, some will risk life and limb to escape, knowing they will probably be unsuccessful. If they do make it out, they will most likely be apprehended and returned to "serve" even longer sentences. Jail is very damaging to a person's liberty and reputation.

Most people who go to jails never get past the visitor's area. I have been into the deepest bowels of several maximum security prisons to visit violent inmates on death row. They are horrible places.

In contemplating what it would be like to be in prison, remember that virtually every move an inmate makes is programmed by his captors. You would be isolated from your dearest family members and friends. You are told when to get up, when to eat, when to exercise, when you can read, watch TV, bathe or shower, and occasionally even when you can talk, go to the bathroom or sleep.

Additionally, the people around you have made a living of not playing by the rules. You would be stuck on their turf. Some are quite violent. It is a crazy, frightening environment for one accustomed to the comforts and control of home.

Would you really be willing to go to jail for your faith? Even when no one seems to understand why you would do such a thing? Would the pressure of facing jail make you change your beliefs? If so, your beliefs are preferences.

Maybe some of you men are saying to yourself, "Yes, I'd go to jail." But would you be willing to stand by and watch your wife go to jail? Some have faced that. Would you then pressure her to change her mind?

Do your beliefs mean so much to you that both you and your wife would go to jail, knowing your children would be taken by the state and raised by foster parents you do not even know?

The Pressure of Death

This final test is obvious, yet some have learned through experience that there is a fate worse than death. When a person's resolve over a belief fails, his guilt can be crushing. Luke 22:34, 59-62 shows Peter in such a circumstance.

Do you see the common factor in these? What does your belief mean to YOU? What are you willing to sacrifice in exercising your belief? If you feel you should do something but have the right not to do it, it is merely a preference.

A belief that is God-ordered is a conviction. It is not merely a matter of resolve or dedication, but a matter of believing with all our heart that God requires it of us. If we hold our beliefs as God-ordered, we will withstand all the above tests.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Are Your Beliefs Preferences or Convictions?


 

Matthew 13:5-6

Not all who are intrigued by God's Word are chosen by Him (I Corinthians 1:26; John 6:44; Matthew 22:14; Luke 13:23-24). The stony ground represents those who hear the gospel and feel intrigued and excited by it because it is new or interesting, yet they have no depth of understanding. Since they have not changed their minds or repented, they are not true Christians. Seeing no sin in themselves, they do not realize the true value of Christ's sacrifice. Not having internalized God's truth as a personal conviction, when they face trials and persecution, they fall—as a rootless seed shrivels before the scorching of the sun.

These people suffer anxiety from sin, and when they hear God's offer of mercy, they seem to respond properly. God's truth offers them peace of mind, pardon from sin, and salvation with eternal life. Since they think they are forgiven, their anxieties seem to disappear, and they feel a temporary peace and happiness. However, they have no foundation for permanent joy. Their gladness soon subsides, as does their desire to live righteously. Without appreciation for Christ's sacrifice and conviction to resist temptation, trial and persecution causes them to fall away. All they ever had was mere excited human emotion, an insufficient motivation to sustain a person throughout the long process of conversion.

Martin G. Collins
Parable of the Sower


 

Matthew 13:5-6

The stony ground represents those who hear the gospel and feel titillated by its truth. Though their senses are excited, they have no depth of understanding'no rich soil in which it may take root and grow. While suffering anxiety from sin, they respond to the attractive offer of God's mercy. The truth offers them peace of mind, pardon from sin, and salvation with eternal life. Believing they are forgiven, their anxieties seem to disappear, and temporary peace and happiness fill their lives, but they have no foundation upon which to support permanent joy. Their gladness soon subsides, as does their desire to live righteously. They begin to fade from God's truth because they have no real appreciation for Christ's sacrifice or the conviction to resist temptation or to endure trial and persecution. Because they exhibit no true repentance, it becomes evident that they are not true Christians. Excited, human emotion carries them for a time, but it cannot sustain them through the long process of conversion.

Martin G. Collins
Parables of Matthew 13 (Part Two): The Parable of the Sower


 

Matthew 15:28

The woman receives a two-fold reward: She is commended for her great faith and receives healing for her child. Christ shows that He approves of her boldness and honors her faith, which—along with her persistence and humility—earn her blessings. She keeps knocking at the door of opportunity until it is opened.

From this, we should learn a lesson about prayer. Initially, she seems to be rejected and denied access to Christ's power, but then, having seen her faith, Jesus opens His grace to her. Christ commends her for "great" faith. She takes the lowliest place, but her faith in Christ earns her His highest praise.

Her faith is tested by His silence and then by His discouraging reply, but it is necessary for Him to see the strength of her faith, as well as for her to realize what it takes to follow Him. He is pleased with what He finds in her.

Ultimately, the Lord sustains our faith and gives us hope to strengthen it (Psalm 138:3). Her faith was built on hope of good things to come, and what she had heard of Christ and seen of His power motivated her. Her unparalleled trust in Him proves that it is not blood lineage through Abraham that identifies his children in the faith, but faith itself. Although a Gentile by birth, she would become a spiritual Israelite through belief and conviction (Galatians 6:16). The strength of her faith is manifested in what she overcame—not physical obstacles, but mental and emotional barriers.

Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Exorcising a Syro-Phoenician (Part Two)


 

John 4:53

Following Jesus' assurance that his son would live, the nobleman never doubted again. The text gives no indication of an emotional reaction or that he pressed Jesus for instructions; he simply started his return trip to Capernaum. He accepted Jesus' word that his son was healed, and apparently, this knowledge comforted him to the point that he felt little need to rush home. The bud of faith that led him to Christ came to full blossom as he left Jesus.

When the nobleman is met by his servants with the wonderful news that his son had been healed at the exact time Jesus had said he was, the miracle is seen to have had a double effect - the sick boy was healed of his deadly fever, and the father was convicted of his belief in Jesus. In order to have faith, we must believe that Jesus' words are true. Too often, we possess a vague faith, a blurred longing for His promises to be true. In reality, we must cling to what Jesus says like a man gripping a cliff face over a deep chasm.

The conviction of the father and the startling result of Jesus' miracle helped to begin the process of conversion of the nobleman's entire household. Convinced that Jesus was the Christ by personally witnessing this healing, they had the opportunity to grow in their belief to full faith if they continued to seek and believe Him (Colossians 1:21-23).

Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Healing a Nobleman's Son


 

Acts 7:23-25

The act that Moses did here was heroic. It was noble. At the same time, it was also foolish. It was heroic and noble in that he could have just given the Israelites money. Is not that what most of us do today when somebody is in trouble? Especially when we find trouble in the United States, what does the government do? They throw money at the problem and say, "Be healed. Be relieved. The oppression is over now because we threw money at you."

Moses could have done that because he was in a position to have funneled a great deal of money toward them from the treasuries of Egypt. Maybe, instead of giving them money, he could have relieved some of the oppression by using his influence within the hierarchy of Egypt to help those in government understand their plight and make life a bit easier on the Israelites. Perhaps he could have forbidden the taskmasters to beat them or require so much of them. But he did not do any of these things.

What did he do? Moses gave himself to their plight. He gave his life. He gave his all. That is the heroic and the noble aspect of his action. The foolish part is that there is no mention in Exodus, Acts, or anywhere else that he sought God about what he should do or when he should do it. This is an important point in terms of conviction. Because Moses did what he did—giving up all that he did, perhaps forsaking the possibility of taking over the throne of Egypt—he gave up all of his rights to his Egyptian heritage to cast his lot with slaves.

He did just the opposite of what Joseph did. Joseph went from a slave to the second-highest position in Egypt in a matter of hours. Moses went the other direction, from the top to the bottom. Yet, nowhere does it say that he sought God.

However, for a man to do that, he must have had some strong beliefs, strong feelings about what he was doing. The U.S. Supreme Court has said that a preference can be such a strong belief that one will actually give his life to doing something. Yet, it is not a conviction (by the Court's definition) but only a preference, and preferences are not protected by the Constitution of the United States. Only convictions are protected. Thus, this is important to us.

Did Moses have a preference or a conviction? We know that he had strong feelings, and he was moved to act on what he did. However, we also know from the lack of information in the Scriptures that he did not seek God.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Conviction, Moses and Us


 

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

In these three verses, the concept of faith continues. For us, most important is "even though the outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day." What is Paul describing here? It is the process of dying and renewing. The outer man—the shell, the body—is decaying. What causes it to decay? In the context, it is the trials of life—the perplexities, the afflictions, the persecutions, the solitude.

The outer man is decaying through the trials of life, while the inner man is being strengthened through the same trials. The energy of the body is spent in doing God's will, and it is being transformed into the energy of the spirit. Moses was so energized that Deuteronomy 34:7 says that at the age of 120, his natural forces, his vigor, were not abated.

We are aware of this principle because transformations of energy take place all around us every day. Energy from the sun strikes the earth, and plants transform that energy into leaves, flowers, and fruit. The energy of a river can be transformed into electricity, which in turn is transformed into light and heat—one form of energy turned into another.

Paul is saying that, if we yield to God, though it expends our physical energy, it will be transformed into Christ's likeness. We will become like Christ. The key is to expend our energy in doing the will of God, otherwise the right fruit will not be produced. Even though we have to sacrifice ourselves in doing it—we give up our time, our energy, our resources—what will be produced is spiritual energy. Our physical energy will be transformed into the beauty and power of the spirit until death, and then the resurrection will release the full power of the spirit. All along the way, the fruit of that process will be true conviction because we will know God.

We Christians have this treasure in earthen vessels. If we submit to God's discipline—expending ourselves and yielding to God in the little things day by day—we will see our conviction grow. Then, if people call us into account, we will not be worried because we know absolutely—because we have lived it. This is the kind of faith God wants us to have.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Conviction, Moses and Us


 

1 Timothy 2:3-4

If it is God's will that we be saved and grow in the grace and the knowledge of Jesus Christ, why is it so hard? If God is working with us, should this not be easy? Our first response to this is very likely, "Well, I guess it's just that I am so evil"; "It must be human nature"; or "I'm so bad God must not be hearing my prayers." Some get so weary with the difficulty that they say, "God will just have to take me as I am."

All these justifications may indeed be factors, but they are not precisely correct because most of us have some besetting sin or sins that we fail miserably to overcome time after time. Why, if it is God's will, do we not overcome them more easily?

The sin need not be easily recognizable by others, as Paul writes to Timothy that "some men's sins are clearly evident" (I Timothy 5:24). It can be a hidden sin, though we are well aware of it, know it is evil, and feel constant guilt and self-condemnation because of our weakness before it.

It can be a sin of omission and not a sin of commission, in which one is directly guilty of bringing loss or pain upon another. Perhaps the failing concerns acts of kindness or mercy that we have frequently and consistently failed to do to relieve another's burden, but we know of it and are convicted of its seriousness.

This is the key to understanding why spiritual growth is so hard. Consider one's original conversion. Why did this even occur? Romans 2:4 says, "Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance." This happened only because God was revealing Himself and making us conscious of factors of life we had never before felt with that force. It moved us to repent and throw ourselves on His mercy. In reality, it was the only option He held open to us because we felt powerless to go in any other direction. Can we overcome death? The key is our awareness of powerlessness as the first essential element to spiritual growth.

In II Corinthians 12:10, Paul makes this point. "Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong." In chapter 13:4, he adds emphasis to this by saying, "For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you." Just as a prerequisite to conversion is recognizing and acknowledging our utter failure in the face of sin and death, so also is a deep consciousness of our frailty required in the face of overcoming and growth in following God's way and glorifying Him.

Without this overriding sense of dependence, we will never turn to God in the first place. Without this sense of need, we will not continuously turn to Him because our passivity in this will declare that in reality, like the Laodiceans, we think we need nothing and are sufficient unto ourselves. We will be like the confident Peter, who, boasting that unlike others he would never desert Christ, immediately fell flat on his face in spiritual failure. The secret of growth in Christian character largely lies in realizing our powerlessness and acknowledging it before God.

Perhaps John 15:5 will now have more meaning. Jesus says, "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing." It does not mean that without Him we could never design an automobile or send a rocket to the moon. It means that we could produce nothing of a true, godly, spiritual nature within the calling of God that truly glorifies Him.

Just in case we think He is saying more than He really means, think about the following commands. Jesus says in Matthew 5:44, "But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you." He adds in Matthew 6:31, "Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'" If these are challenging, try I Corinthians 15:34: "Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame."

We have a long way to go. It is time to stop playing church—realizing that judgment is now on us—and turn to God with all our heart. He promises that, if we do this, He will hear from heaven and respond. We must constantly keep in mind that God is the Potter with the power to mold and shape as He wills. As the clay, our job is to yield, realizing even the power to submit comes from Him.

To understand this from an even broader perspective, we must consider how mankind has acted in its relationship with God beginning with Adam and Eve. They said, "God, stay out of our lives. We don't need you. We will do this ourselves." Therefore, rather than choosing from the Tree of Life, they chose from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. All mankind has copied this approach down to the Laodiceans, who say they are rich and increased with goods and need nothing. It will continue even to those who will curse and blaspheme God during the final plagues in the Day of the Lord (Revelation 16:21).

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Sovereignty of God and Human Responsibility: Part Eleven


 

2 Timothy 3:16

This verse could be updated using synonyms for some of these words: "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for teaching, for conviction [something that we know for certain], for correction [or restoration, to get us turned around, healed in mind and spirit], for training in righteousness."

John W. Ritenbaugh
Image and Likeness of God (Part 1)


 

Hebrews 2:3

What had happened to the people to whom the book of Hebrews was written? They were losing—indeed, had already lost—much of their former conviction. Though they had plenty to believe in relation to God, as Paul shows within the epistle, their conviction was dissipating through neglect. They were not working out their salvation (Philippians 2:12); thus, they were losing it!

Conviction is the opposite of superficiality. This does not mean a superficial person cannot be religious. Rather, he may appear religious outwardly, but in terms of a true, inward transformation of the heart, he is lacking, as seen in the absence of zeal in seeking change or in real application of righteousness.

In Paul's judgment, the Hebrews had lost the internal certainty that what they believed was right, trustworthy, and so important that they should willingly give their lives to it. They were allowing other concerns like business, social, and entertainment matters too much time and attention. In the world, the forces of hostile skepticism are everywhere and constantly pressuring a Christian from every angle. The Hebrews' works showed that they were steadily retreating before that pressure.

This world is the Christian's largest, broadest field of battle, and nearly constant influences designed to drive a wedge into our carnality emanate from it. What happens if we neglect the right use of God's gift of faith? Hebrews shows us that a Christian does not immediately "lose it," but as he slowly spirals downward, spiritual life becomes merely an intellectual position to be held, not a striving after righteousness. God becomes merely an object of intellectual thought, not a motivation for change of behavior and attitude to imitate Him. Church attendance and religion become intellectualized but not experiential. That is how Laodiceanism (Revelation 3:14-22) becomes a reality in a Christian's life. This is especially likely to occur when a Christian group is economically comfortable.

God's gift of faith is intended by Him to be intellectual, practical, and motivational. This brings us back to the many examples Paul uses in Hebrews 11 to illustrate how faith is most profitably used. He provides an orderly arrangement of instruction from basic definitions and builds toward the more difficult principles.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Christian Fight (Part Four)


 

Hebrews 3:14

The author implies the faith that we had at the beginning of our conversion, the faith that led us to believe that Jesus Christ is our Savior and that it is by His blood that we are saved. It led us to repent, to change our minds in relation to God and the way that we were living, so that we were baptized, made the new covenant with God, and began to live His way on the strength of the conviction we had about the teachings we had accepted at that time.

In saying, "For we have become partakers of Christ," he is now referring to an end result—"if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast to the end." Just a few verses later (verse 17), He speaks about the corpses of the Israelites being strewn all over the wilderness. His point is that the Israelites did not hold their conviction to the end. When they left Egypt, they were full of joy. When God divided the Red Sea, they danced around and had a real celebration (Exodus 15). But it seems that, from that time on, God's great miracles on their behalf began to recede into their minds, and they did not hold onto the joy and faith and conviction that they had then.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Does Doctrine Really Matter? (Part 4)


 

Hebrews 10:33-35

In the past these people had been deeply convicted, but because they were not doing the things necessary for maintaining and building a relationship with God, they lost what they had. Part of the reason Hebrews is in the Bible is to remind Christians what can happen to someone who does not maintain his part of the relationship.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Conviction and Moses


 

Hebrews 10:36

The King James Version uses the word "patience," which is not a wrong translation. However, for better understanding, more specific words should be used. Today, we generally think of "patience" as passive, whereas "persevere" or "endure" are more dynamic. The Greek word used in Hebrews 10:36 is hupomone. In his Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament, Spiros Zodhiates comments that it means "constancy under suffering in faith and duty." "Constancy" indicates that persistent effort is being made, in this case against a pressing trouble. In light of this series, he perhaps describes it even better by defining it as a "quality of character that does not allow one to surrender."

"Perseverance," "endurance," "constancy," and "steadfastness" all have a sense of activity, of actively straining against some pressure. Thus, as Hebrews 11 begins, the author approaches two related subjects: one directly, faith or strong conviction; and the other, perseverance, less directly. Hupomone, however, does not appear again until Hebrews 12:1.

The Hebrews badly needed both conviction and perseverance to meet and overcome their problems. These virtues go hand in hand, and they really cannot be separated because we operate on a different concept of time than does God. Compared to God, we operate on fast time. Almost everything in our lives seems to have to be done or received right now, or faith begins to evaporate and we lose heart. True faith, though, operates in a rhythm closer to what God does because, due to conviction, it is more in tune with Him.

Therefore, a convicted person not only believes that what God says is true, but he also trusts and willingly endures trials in an attitude of realistic hopefulness. He does not restlessly complain to God to fix things right away on his schedule. A person develops conviction by thoughtfully processing a great deal of God's truth and yielding to the evidence He provides.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Christian Fight (Part Three)


 

Hebrews 11:1

In the second phrase, faith is what others see in the conduct of a faithful person's life. Evidence of the unseen things gives a person conviction.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Elements of Motivation (Part Two): Vision


 

Hebrews 11:6

Because faith is indispensable to a good relationship with God, its importance cannot be overemphasized. But notice the condition in this verse. It does not say that God is the rewarder of everyone but "of those who diligently seek Him." Living faith is direct; it has its foundation in diligently, actively, consistently, zealously seeking Him in study and prayer and in conforming to His will. Those who are doing these things are encouraged that they will be rewarded. The reward is to find Him. This, in turn, increases faith.

The biblical word "faith" is most synonymous with the English word "trust." "Faith" can be a mere agreement with a cold, hard fact. This is fine as far as it goes, but it loses a great deal of meaning when we consider that this One with whom we are dealing is a warm, dynamic, powerful, loving Personality. Biblical faith, trust, is firm. It is faith in full flower, acting consciously and with agreeable feeling - we might call it "conviction."

This faith is not done coldly and calculatedly - simply because a thing is right. It is not done with a "perhaps" or a "maybe," but with joy and with firm conviction, with a consciousness that one is in agreement with this dynamic and loving personality. We should be aware of our unity with Him just as we are aware of our sense of touch - our strongest sense in terms of evoking emotion: consider a punch in the nose compared to a kiss. But faith, trust, is sensitive in the same way. It is conscious of the things of God; it sees God. In addition, faith not only evokes the hard, cold facts (it has "a remembrance of truth"), but also responds emotionally to a wonderful, dynamic, gracious, and powerful Personality, who is our Friend.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Prayer and Fervency


 

Hebrews 11:23

Like us, Moses was born at the end of an age. However, he had an advantage of birth that most of us do not have: He was born into a truly God-fearing family, a family that had faith. This verse witnesses to the faith of his mother and father. God has always reserved to Himself a remnant of people that have faith, and Moses "happened" to be born into such a family.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Conviction and Moses


 

Hebrews 11:23

Moses was born into a terrible situation. We may think we were born into unfortunate circumstances, but our situations pale in comparison to Moses' start. However, he had one thing going for him humanly: his parents, Amram and Jochebed.

Moses, of course, was unaware of these things, but God supplied the saving grace in the form of Amram and Jochebed. The Exodus account focuses on the part of Jochebed because it was she, undoubtedly, along with Miriam, who actually carried out the casting of Moses on the Nile. Hebrews 11:23, though, uses the term "parents," so that we understand that Amram was also involved—with his faith.

Notice that they were not afraid of the king's command. The Bible does not say what strengthened their faith, but they did a pretty dangerous thing. They put their lives on the line, as well as Moses' life, by putting him out on the water. Did God speak to them in a dream? Did God give them a vision? Did God send an angel? Or did they rely on the promise given to Abraham, knowing that they were coming to the end of an age? We cannot know because God does not say.

Whatever it was, in a way it does not matter. All that matters is that, somehow, they believed it and followed through by doing this thing that, at least on the surface, appears to have been very risky. Were they convicted that what they were doing was right? Certainly! Even the power of Egypt could not turn them aside from their conviction. Even the fear or the threat of losing their lives could not dissuade them. They did not have a preference—they were convicted! They put their lives, and their son's life, on the line because they trusted the word of their God.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Conviction and Moses


 

Revelation 3:15-17

Sadly, this is the direction that the church is prophesied to move as the end approaches. A fairly close parallel exists between the Laodicean and Ephesian conditions. Laodiceans are essentially without a proper feeling for God and His truths, and it has reached the point where they feel as though they no longer need them.

None of this means, though, that Laodiceans are lazy people. They are rich and increased with goods, and people do not become wealthy by sitting on their duffs. Revelation 3 suggests that their strong feelings and vigor are for the wrong things, and certainly not godly things. Therefore, they are without proper convictions concerning the things of God. They are apathetic, drifting, and spiritually blind. How difficult is it for a blind person to navigate through a world loaded with obstacles of all kinds? They must step very gingerly for fear of running into things, and undoubtedly, they would run into things.

The Laodicean is not making progress toward the Kingdom of God. He has stopped and in many cases—just like the Ephesians—he is sliding backwards. He must overcome his apathy for the things of God and begin to care deeply for the things he claims to believe.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Hebrews: A Message for Today


 

Find more Bible verses about Conviction:
Conviction {Nave's}
 




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