Tuesday, 15 September 2015

HYPER-GRACE: HOLY SPIRIT DOES NOT CONVICT BELIEVERS OF SIN

                                                  
Is it true that the Holy Spirit does NOT convict believers of sin?

A prominent hyper-grace teacher, Joseph Prince, made a bold statement in his book: “The bottom line is that the Holy Spirit never convicts you of your sins. He NEVER comes to point out your faults. I challenge you to find a scripture in the Bible that tells you that the Holy Spirit has come to convict you of your sins. You won’t find any.”
(Page 134-135, Destined to Reign)

I think before we issue a challenge to anyone, we’d better do our homework first. Otherwise, we may have to eat our own words. “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman who needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

Before we examine the validity of Prince's assertionthe Holy Spirit never convicts you of your sinsin light of scripture, let us delve into the meaning of the word ‘convict’.

                                                                    
The word ‘convict’ is a translation of the Greek word ‘elegchó’, which can also mean reprove, expose, rebuke, discipline or show to be guilty. 

In the following verse, we find that the word ‘reprove’ (elegchō) has a meaning similar to the word ‘convict’ (elegchō):  “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent” (Revelation 3:19).

This verse in Rev. 3:19 is about God’s corrective discipline in love. There is no higher proof of God’s love for His children (believers) than when He chastises and disciplines them so that they will not have to face His judgment (wrath). “For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and chastises every son whom He receives” (Hebrews 12:6).

Now let’s establish the role of the Holy Spirit in this act of convicting (elegchō) or rebuking (elegchō). We read in Revelation 3:22: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Now what does the Holy Spirit want the church to hear and take heed?  The answer is found a few verses earlier. The Holy Spirit wants believers to know that He hates sin. He wants to expose sin, convict (elegchō) believers of sin, reprove (elegchō) believers who sin (Revelation 3:19).

The Holy Spirit functions as a prosecuting attorney who exposes evil, convicts or reproves believers when they go astray and convinces them to repent so that they will not face God’s judgment. “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation without regret” (2 Corinthians 7:10).

To be convicted of sin is to have a sense of loathsomeness for one’s sins to the extent that one decides to turn away from sin and live a righteous life pleasing to Godjust as King David was broken and contrite when he confessed his sin after his adultery with Bathsheba. “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight …” (Psalm 51:4). He acknowledged his sin before God and repented.

Do we know that believers who do not experience His reproof, conviction of sin, chastisement and discipline in their lives are deemed to be illegitimate children?

“It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons” (Hebrews 12:7-8).


                                                                  
So to recapitulate:

  • The Holy Spirit definitely convicts (elegchō) believers of sin / reproves ((elegchō) believers who sin. It is part of God’s corrective discipline of His legitimate children so that they will not be condemned like the rest of the unbelieving world.


  • The fact believers are convicted (elegchō) of their sins by the Holy Spiritor are reproved (elegchō) for their sinsis a testimony to their legitimacy as children of God.

                                                                               
                                         
Now I would like to deal with the second premise made by the above author.

His claim that God never points out the faults of believers (please see above quote: “He NEVER comes to point out your faults”) is something that can be quickly dismissed as falsehood by citing the following verses:

  • But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first (Revelation 2:4)


  • But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality (Revelation 2: 14)


  • But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols (Revelation 2: 20)


  • I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead (Revelation 3: 1)


  • I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked (Revelation 3:15-17)

Certainly God has been blunt and profuse in His chastisement of the churches in Revelation. What the Spirit is saying to these churchesand, by implication, to believers todayis this: God is angry and displeased with them and they had better repent.

To reiterate, the Holy Spirit exposes their sins, convicts (elegchō) them of their sins and reproves (elegchō) them for their sins in order that they might repent and thus escape God’s judgment. Believers today need to take heed and buck up spiritually (Revelation 3:22).

When the Holy Spirit convicts believers of sin, it is in keeping with God’s corrective discipline in the lives of believers who are His legitimate children.

The ultimate tragedy is when believers think they are prosperous and need nothing, not realising that they are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked (Revelation 3:17).


                                                                                                                                                  

This false sense of security arises when believers embrace the false teaching that God never points out the fault of believers and that the Holy Spirit never convicts believers of sins.

That is why Jesus says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit” (Matthew 5:3). For these ones know their spiritual poverty in God’s eyes.

That is why the publican is looked upon as righteous in God’s eyes rather than the Pharisee because the former was humble and acknowledged his sinfulness, “God be merciful to me a sinner” (Parable of the Pharisee and the publican, Luke 18: 9-14).

Satan rejoices when believers rest in a false sense of security that all is well, that all their sins have been dealt with ‘once and for all’ at the point of conversionthat they can therefore afford to get rid of sin consciousness in their lives and that the Holy Spirit never convicts believers of sins. http://bit.ly/1QCO5Bj

This condition reminds me of the frog which finds great delight sitting in a basin of warm water. Finally, when water temperature reaches boiling point, it is too late to jump out of the water.

                                                                     

How does this false teaching of hyper-grace come about? Answer: The plain and simple reason is that it largely ignores huge chunks of the book of Revelation abovea practice termed as cherry picking.     http://bit.ly/1MamqpF


                                                                                                          
And, sadly, those who embrace such falsehood don’t have the spirit of independent, critical thinking of the Bereans and fail to scrutinise such false teaching against the whole counsel of the Word.   http://bit.ly/1KeKVRU

                                                              

FOOTNOTES

  • The Holy Spirit can only convict believers of sin if their conscience is not hardened or seared http://bit.ly/1ghthQF

                               

  • The function of the Holy Spirit is to lead believers to the knowledge of the truth (John 16: 13), including the ability to know their true spiritual state in God’s eyes. Let me reiterate: The ultimate tragedy is when believers think they are prosperous and need nothing, not realising that they are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked (Revelation 3:17).


  • The Holy Spirit’s role is to convict (elegchō) the world of sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16: 8-11). The word ‘world’ refers to all, believers and non-believers alike. It is false to think that the Holy Spirit only convicts non-believers of their sins. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eMWd_ubNMM


  • Believers need to differentiate the conviction of sin by the Holy Spiritwhich is positive as it leads to repentance—from the condemnation of satan, who continually accuses believers.

RELATED POSTS

IS CONFESSION REDUNDANT?
Hyper-grace teaches us that, after our one-time confession of sin at conversion, believers no longer need to confess our sins. When God looks at us, all He is going to see is Christ’s blood, not our sins whether it is past, present or future. We merely rest in the ‘imputed righteousness of Christ’.

SHOULD BELIEVERS BE SIN CONSCIOUS?
Once we commit our lives to Christ, our sins are forgiven. We who have been set free from the power of sin should no longer feel condemned. To continue to dwell on our past sin would nullify Christ’s work at the cross because God has already declared us righteous in His eyes.
That said, should believers completely get rid of sin consciousness in our lives? 

FUTURE SINS AUTOMATICALLY FORGIVEN?
Are the future sins of Christians automatically forgiven (FSAF)?

IS REPENTANCE MERELY CHANGING ONE’S MIND?
Some say that believers only need to change their mind (correct their past erroneous thinking) when they repent. Is this what the Bible teaches?

                                                                                        
                                               Dr Michael Brown’s rebuttal of ‘no conviction’ challenge 
                     

EXTERNAL LINKS

JOSEPH PRINCE TEACHES THAT THE HOLY SPIRIT DOES NOT CONVICT BELIEVERS OF SIN


HOW TO SHARE THIS BLOG POST

You may use any one of the following  introductory passages:

IS IT TRUE THAT THE HOLY SPIRIT DOES NOT CONVICT BELIEVERS OF SIN?
A prominent teacher, Joseph Prince, made a bold statement in his book: “The bottom line is that the Holy Spirit never convicts you of your sins. He NEVER comes to point out your faults. I challenge you to find a scripture in the Bible that tells you that the Holy Spirit has come to convict you of your sins. You won’t find any.”
http://bit.ly/1OczgqH


IS IT TRUE THAT GOD NEVER POINTS OUT OUR FAULTS?
Those who assert that the Holy Spirit never points out the faults of believers have not been reading Revelation chapters 2 and 3, where the Spirit issues scathing rebukes on various churches. Have these indictments been conveniently ignored because they are unsettling to the 'feel good' message of hyper-grace? 
http://bit.ly/1OczgqH

THE HOLY SPIRIT DOES NOT CONVICT BELIEVERS OF SIN
—WHY FALSE, WHY DANGEROUS   

Firstly, the claim that the Holy Spirit does not convict believers of sin is false based on Revelation 3:19, 22. Secondly, such an errant teaching implies that believers are illegitimate children. There is no higher proof of God’s love for believers, His children, than when He disciplines, chastens and convicts them of sin (Hebrews 12:6). Thirdly, such a heresy would lead believers to have a false sense of security. Thinking that the Spirit does not convict of sin, they will not see the need to repent and, thus, will be judged for their sin. 

SPIRIT'S ROLE IN CONVICTION OF SIN
The Holy Spirit’s role is to convict (elegchō) the world of sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16: 8-11). The word ‘world’ refers to all, believers and non-believers alike. Hyper-grace asserts that the word ‘world’ does NOT refer to believers. 
It is false to think that the Holy Spirit only convicts non-believers of sin. The verses in Revelation 3: 19 and Revelation 3: 22 show us that the Holy Spirit does convict (elegchō) believers of sin or reprove believers (elegchō) concerning sin in their lives.     http://bit.ly/1OczgqH

HOW TO QUICKLY ACCESS PORRIDGE

For a quick overview: http://bit.ly/1ijiXHp 

8 comments:

  1. Refuting the premise that the Holy Spirit does not convict believers of sin may present some difficulty even to mature Christians. However, even young believers should be able to easily spot out the false teaching that God never point out the faults of believers. They just have to read Revelation chapter 2 and 3 with all the scathing rebukes on the various churches.

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    1. I agree with you that the Holy Spirit do let us know when we do something wrong. Is it the Holy Spirit or conscience? I am not really well versed with the Word.

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  2. The Holy Spirit’s role is to convict (elegchō) the world of sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16: 8-11). The word ‘world’ refers to all, believers and non-believers alike. Hyper-grace asserts that the word ‘world’ does NOT refer to believers.
    It is false to think that the Holy Spirit only convicts non-believers of sin. The verses in Revelation 3: 19 and Revelation 3: 22 show us that the Holy Spirit does convict (elegchō) believers of sin or reprove believers (elegchō) concerning sin in their lives.

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  3. Comment by Cameron Russell:
    Good article, Dr Lim, especially the footnotes at the end. You have clearly outlined one of the falsehoods of this false teacher from Singapore, and you have demonstrated the truth in Scripture which this person fails to acknowledge: that the Holy Spirit does indeed convict us of our sin (leading to a contrite heart, repentance, turning to God, freedom and victory in Christ); while the devil accuses us (leading to guilt, surrender, self-condemnation, bondage and defeat). Joseph Prince's departure from the Scriptures is extremely dangerous because it leads us to trust in ourselves, to ignore the Holy Spirit's correction and to continue in sin.

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  4. Pastor Christopher Y. C. Choo commented:
    Thank you Dr Lim. I am very blessed by your corrective teaching. The incident of the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira should convince the diehards that the Holy Spirit also ministers judgment for sin ( Acts 5:1-11).

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  5. the moment you knew you are a sinner...its the work of GOD,JESUS, and the HOLY SPIRIT WHO CONVICT YOU. this is a fundamental truth and doctrine. how can JP missed this.

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  6. A Bible teacher from Singapore, RS, shared this: God not only convicts but also disciplines the individual believer. This is affirmed in Titus 2:11-12: "For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age." Grace must go hand in hand with discipline. Discipline includes all instruction, reproof and correction in the believer's life that are aimed at cultivating spiritual growth and development of character. God’s parental discipline goes on as long as the individual is alive. The various processes involved in this discipline are all grounded in His GRACE, His firm but loving care for the individual.

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  7. Excellent porridge which is tasty and easily digestable. As Olivier said -More please.

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