Thursday, December 17, 2009

Con Air, Jump!

You ever hear things like this? The Spirit will convict you of …Do you feel convicted about it? The Spirit convicted me of…

Conviction is a judgment that comes upon a convict, someone who has done something worthy of a judgment. I think of it in terms of that awesome movie with Nicholas Cage, Conair. Conair is an airline that transports convicts. All criminals convicted of something on their way to the appropriate judgment (prison) laid on them by a form of justice (judicial system). You may be like me and think that the idea of being confined to a system is pure evil, but we are all confined to a system, it could be mentally, emotionally, legally, or physically. We live in a certain environment which has molded us in such a way that it has aided in the development of our mental system. We have a certain attitude towards things due to this system. For us in America we are greatly impacted by our judicial system. We all know that when you do wrong you are punished. We are al very familiar with the idea of conviction. We get bad things are convicted. The problem is that we carry this thought, developed within a system, into another system, when it comes to faith in Christ and all that comes with it.

When we believe in Christ we are given the gift of the Holy Spirit, the advocate for which Christ left so we could have. Jesus actually said it is better for Him to leave (ascend) so that we could have the advocate, Spirit. This Spirit indwelling comes at faith. Faith leads us to action, not the other way around, just need to be clear of that. One cannot act to attain faith, no good deeds will get the Spirit that transforms one into the temple that we morph into post-faith (Jesus said so). This in itself is another post, which I will write soon enough, but should be understood before continuing on. Paul talks a ton about how we are justified through faith. The idea is that faith is inputted upon us, meaning Jesus took the conviction from us, thus God looks at Jesus’ conviction in place of ours (those who are of the faith). I’ve always had this theology of the Spirit, but was just reminded of it when reading a new book by a popular author. I hope that more and more voices rise up from this world to speak against the things we have missed the mark on. So I was looking forward to this being an area he would dive into, but was disappointed when I read his words, “The Holy Spirit convicts people of sin…as we journey through life as believers.”

Do you believe this? I do not. The verse this kind of thinking comes from is actually in the same discussion Jesus holds with the disciples about the Holy Spirit. Jesus says, “But, very truly I tell you , it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you. When he comes he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment , because the price of this world now stands condemned (John 16:7-11).” My translation reads prove the world wrong, but the word used in a lot of other translations is convict. Who did Jesus say the advocate would prove wrong and why did He say He would? He would prove the world wrong for they do not believe in Him. He prove them wrong about sin because they don’t believe in Him. How would the world not believing in Him prove them wrong about sin? The world is wrong about sin because they think we can stop, they think that we will be judged for what we do by a just standard. This is a thought that the world, those who do not have faith in Jesus, that do not have faith in his death and resurrection completing condemnation and the implications of sin, is correct on, based on their reasoning. Those who have faith have a new being, a new life, hence re-born, where our condemnation and conviction were taken care of. Jesus was convicted, on the cross, made into a convict, by taking the sin of the world upon Him, in our place. How can one be convicted of a crime they have already paid for? Is God thirsty for blood? Does God seek condemnation again? No! No! No! This is my chant of a response. God offered to end condemnation to all those who would just believe! God is a loving being that wanted to end condemnation, so much that he convicted an innocent citizen of His own in our place.

The spirit does not convict anyone that has faith in Christ of sin. He convicts the world. So, no I am not convicted of anything, neither are you. I think the Spirit will guide us to make decisions based upon the Spirit He has empowered us with. I think we now have a choice between wrong and right and He will always try to guide us there, but also always give us the freedom to choose. I understand that is a risky move on His part, but He took it. Words are nothing to express the gratefulness I have for that! I think that the church has taught conviction to its members for so long because they want to see everyone do good and stop doing wrong. We’ve placed all these “things” in place of trust. Fearing that some will abuse the gift of forgiveness the church for so long has been in prevent mode for far too long. God took a huge risk that His grace would be abused in all this, why can’t we take the risk as well? Do we trust that the Spirit truly lives in us? Do we truly believe that we are guided by the Spirit in truth? Do we think that it is Him that guides us towards a more abundant life, full of good choices, constructive choices? These are questions I raise to those who teach conviction to believers. I challenge you to ask your self these questions ad be honest to yourself, God knows what you are thinking and feeling already. I have found such freedom in the reality that the Spirit is such a liberating person that has chosen to transform me into a temple, a place where He lives and moves. Can we let go of fear and embrace the love and freedom offered by the Spirit? Can you?

I pray this offends in such a way that leads towards self analysis. I pray you honestly seek God and His Spirit. May you know the freedom that is within you. May you know the One who takes the risk of abuse. May you understand you are no longer a convict. You are no longer convicted. May you find joy and peace and happiness in this and may you live in response to this great news, this amazing reality! We are not on Conair, we are not condemned nor convicted, we are free to leave Conair. Jesus opens the doors and offers you the excitement and experience to sky dive, the chance to leave Conair. May you jump!

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