Conviction is one of the first visible signs of the Gospel at work in someone’s life. In order for a person to see his or her need for a Savior, conviction of this truth must happen so that the action of repentance can take place.
Once we become believers, how does God convict and restore us when we sin or grow distant from Him? One way He does this is through the Holy Spirit, imparting wisdom to those who call Him “Savior,” and showing us the need for repentance through His indwelling of us.
Another way He does this is through the reading and understanding of His Word; let’s examine this one more closely.
God gave us the Bible, His Word, so that we may hear from Him. So that we can be challenged. So that we can be encouraged. So that we can be changed. Hebrews 4:12 is one of several passages in the Bible that explains the power of God’s Word:
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of the soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
One of the interesting things about the word, “judge,” in this text is that the original Greek word, kritikos, is used only once in the entire Bible. Kritikos refers to “one whose business and special gift is to judge.” It is the work of the Gospel, through the Holy Spirit and the understanding of God’s Word that we are judged…and convicted.
When we open the Word of God, with a genuine desire to know it and know Him, we cannot escape conviction. Our thoughts, or enthumesis, as used in this context, means “deliberation,” that speaks of things on which we mediate continuously.
How has your thought life been? What kinds of things live continually in your mind? This passage challenges us to examine those things on which we dwell by the light of God’s Word so that we can be exposed…and convicted, so that we can become more like Him.
Ennoia is the original Greek word in this passage that is translated as “intentions,” in our English versions. Ennoia refers to one’s moral understanding. If what we inherently believe or live out – our moral understanding – is not consistent with God’s Word, we should not resist correction by the instruction found throughout the pages of the Bible.
When the book of Hebrews was written, the church faced a very strong possibility of persecution. The author was warning them about the temptation to deny their faith so that they could live more “comfortably.”
Let’s face it – it’s a tough world out there today, just as it was then. Temptations are all around us. The path of a Christian disciple is treacherous.
But, the same Word that confronted the church during this time is the same, unchanging, infallible Word that confronts us today. It is living. It is active. And it is convicting.
*All Scripture references are taken from the New American Standard Bible.