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Don’t Wait for a Convenient Time

 Jesus, quoted in the apostle John’s gospel, gives us a very clear example of one of the roles of the Holy Spirit in our lives. He says, “And when He [The Holy Spirit] has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.”

He will convict the world of sin. That means He will convince us, with evidentiary proof, what sin is and what it produces in our lives. Sin is anything that misses God’s mark of perfection and, when we read Galatians 5:19–21, Paul gives us a very vivid picture of it.

The Holy Spirit will also convict the world of righteousness. He doesn’t come just to tell us what is wrong. He comes to tell us how to live right in the sight of God. He comes because we cannot do this on our own. Anglican preacher George Whitefield (1714–1770) said it best; “I would sooner think I could climb to the moon on a rope of sand than enter heaven based on my own righteousness”[1] We need the Helper in our life.

The Holy Spirit also convicts the world of judgment. Whether we like it or not, we all will stand before God and be judged. The message of judgment is a scary thing. We’d rather blow it off than think about it, but it is a reality that we need to face and the Holy Spirit is there to convict us about it.

I’m reminded of Paul. In Acts 24 he is speaking directly to Felix, the governor of the region. This is a private session attended by Felix and his third wife, Drusilla. Felix had placed Paul in custody after his hearing with the Sanhedrin. In this private meeting Paul discusses righteousness, self-control and the coming judgment. Known to be a violent man, Felix, (who also used a magician to lure Drusilla away from her husband and then took her as his third wife) is uncomfortable and afraid. He says, “Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you (emphasis mine).”

Let me tell you—the message of judgment is never convenient. We see the Holy Spirit working in Felix and he shuts Him down. He ‘s only afraid to the point of his own convenience.

Warren Wiersbe wrote, “Felix had a foolish attitude toward his sins. He knew he was a sinner, yet he refused to break with his sin and obey the Lord. He had a foolish attitude toward God’s grace. The Lord had been long suffering toward Felix, yet the governor would not surrender. Felix was not sure of another day’s life, yet he foolishly procrastinated.”[2]

Proverbs 27:1 reminds us, “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.”

Felix chose to wait for another day. He refused to listen to Paul and the convicting voice of the Holy Spirit. While he may have been emotionally stirred, his pride and self will would not yield at that moment to what he heard or felt.  Quoting Wiersbe again, “He procrastinated himself into hell.”[3]

Where are you today? Are you still an unbeliever who is deceived by satanic forces? Are you in denial of the definition and penalty of sin? Do you think you can be righteous before God on your own, and that you won’t face the judgment of God?

Don’t be like Felix. Let the conviction of the Holy Spirit lead you to Jesus Christ and the freedom He can bring you.

[1] T. Harwood Pattison, The History of Christian Preaching, (Philadelphia, American Baptist Publication Society, 1903), 269

[2] Warren Wiersbe, The Wiersbe Bible Commentary: The Complete New Testament, (Colorado Springs, David. C. Cook, 2007), 401

[3] IBID.

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