They were cut to the heart, in other words, they were convicted of their wrong doing, of their lost condition, of their past actions that were contrary to the way and will of God. They were convicted of having crucified the very son of God! Every person must one day face the fact that Jesus Christ died for their sins so that they might be redeemed from the penalty of death for having broken God’s laws (Romans 3:23-24).
Sin has separated us from God (Isaiah 59:2). The answer is to repent, but the problem is for a person to repent they must be convicted in their hearts that they need to repent. One person learns that they are lost and a sinner but does nothing about it and another person learns the exact same thing and is moved to do something about it. What is the difference in the two people? CONVICTION! God’s witness who is bringing His word to a lost person must be patient (2 Timothy 2:24-26). Notice first that God must grant a person repentance and, second, the unrepentant person has been taken captive by Satan. God, through His Holy Spirit, must touch the person’s hard heart to bring about conviction. The Bible talks about a person’s heart being circumcised (Deuteronomy 10:16).
A person may have “head knowledge” that they are a sinner and may sit on that knowledge for years without moving to do anything about it. But when their “head knowledge” also becomes “heart knowledge” they will be much more inclined to do something about it. You may have been thinking for years that you needed to have your house checked for termites but did nothing about it, until the day came when you saw the damage they had already done to your house. When this happened you were convinced and convicted to TAKE ACTION!
The salvation process has three elements: the first being God’s Calling
(John 6:37, 44, 65),
the second element is God’s revealing of some truth to the one being called. If they accept that, then God gives them some more truth
If they don’t accept that truth then for mercy’s sake He allows them to be blinded and hardens their hearts
(John 12:40; 2;
2 Thessalonians 2:10-11).
Truth sets you free from the bonds of sin
as one man said, “It’s not the truth that sets you free but the truth THAT YOU KNOW.” A lot of people know that Jesus died for them and that they are sinners, but they live their lives as if they don’t really know it or care. That leads us to the third element in the salvation process, GOD’S CONVICTION. There must be some conviction and they must have the truth revealed to them. They must know the truth. There was a somewhat famous line in a movie that said, “You can’t handle the truth.” If God knows that you aren’t ready to handle the truth then He will, in His mercy and patience, wait for a different time
((2 Peter 3:9).
When a person accepts some truth and is convicted that the truth he has accepted is in fact truth and that it applies to him, he will make an effort to obey it. The person must be convinced through conviction that:
1. They are under the death penalty because of sin. They must know the Biblical definition of sin ((1 John 3:4; Romans 6:23)
2. Obedience is desired because of salvation BUT obedience is NOT what saves them. It is Jesus Christ and the fact that HIS BLOOD and sacrifice paid the penalty for us, making atonement for all our sins.
3. They must repent and want to be baptized so that they might receive God’s the Holy Spirit, which will give them life and power over sin and reveal more truth to them.
A person who is honest with himself is a person whom God can convict. God will not work with the person who will not be honest with himself and admit that they are a sinner (Luke 18:10-14). God could cause things to happen in their lives that would compel them to become not only honest with themselves but broken and desperately seeking God in a manner of a few days if He so desired. However, God’s timetable is not the same as ours. The person who is not being honest with himself will make excuses as to why he doesn’t believe in a God or as to why he is not so bad. They will make excuses as to why they cannot obey Him. The honest person will admit that they are not totally right with God.
FOR FURTHER STUDY:
Luke 5:8 Peter saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.
Acts 9:3-6 The Damascus Road experience of Saul.
Acts 26:27-28 King Agrippa almost persuaded.
James 4:17 He that knows to do good and does not do it commits sin.
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