The title of this posting reminds me of a song by Pete Seeger:
“Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" is a modern folk-style song written by Pete Seeger in 1955. It ends where it started, and it summarizes the consequences of war: the flowers have been taken by the young girls, the girls have been gone, married to the young men, the young men have become soldiers, the soldiers have gone to the graveyards, the graveyards have been covered with flowers.
Where have all the convictions gone? Good question. Convictions are those principles you live your life by, and, in fact, you become what your convictions state. Convictions do two things for us:
1. They protect us against any cultural advances that are designed to corrupt.
2. They motivate us to persist in taking stands against evil.
Recently, I was reminded of the meaning of the word salvation. I have always thought salvation was more about rescuing us, but the real meaning has to do with the idea of deliverance. Deliverance is perhaps more of an aggressive word than rescue, but it ends up at the same place, “I am now free and safe.”
What is your conviction on salvation? Do you see your salvation as being a major part of your life, or is it just another item in the menu of things your life is involved with? Conviction has the ability to weed through the priorities in our lives to focus on the important things. It takes us to a place that asks the harder questions about purpose, priorities, and protection:
Purpose: Does your salvation bring purpose and outline purpose in your life?
Priorities: Does your salvation put first things first, like placing God and His kingdom ahead of all things that demand time in your life?
Protection: Does your salvation reject the idols of culture that demand your allegiance?
If the meaning of salvation is deliverance from sin, it is then time for the idea of convictions to become real and essential. If we are delivered from sin in our salvation with Christ, what keeps us from drifting back to sin? It comes down to what we have put into place that prevents us from doing so, and that prevention is called ‘conviction.’
Now, where does conviction come from? Is it a standard set of rules and regulations instituted by previous generations, or it is perhaps something else? Previous generations indeed have good insights into what they discovered in their experiences of living life, but each generation must start anew with the convictions they adopt. We can never live by the convictions of a previous generation because our day is different than their day. Each generation must come to know salvation in Christ for themselves, and not rely on what their family heritage may have been. Too often we try to impose our personal convictions on others, hoping that they too would be convicted as we are about standards for living. Yet, as salvation must be personally entered into with Christ, so do the convictions we adopt for ourselves. We do know that all convictions are generated from God's Word and the Holy Spirit and these convictions of truth are universal and timeless.
John 16:8 And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment.
John tells us what the ministry of the Holy Spirit is and each of these three starts with conviction:
1. The conviction of sin
2. The conviction of Christ’s righteousness
3. The conviction of eternal destiny and judgment
These three bring about a solid defense against the enemy of our soul:
1. Sin is personal, it is immediate, and it is overpowering. No one can escape it except those who are free from it by believing in Christ’s atoning death for it on the Cross.
2. Christ's righteousness is His ability to justify you before God and make you as if you never sinned. He is our salvation and our deliverance. He transcends all religions, all sin, and all power. It is by His righteousness that we obtain salvation and deliverance.
3. Judgment has to do with the eternal destination one will face at death. We die once from this world, and if we don’t know Christ we will die a second time in eternity, that being defined as a separation from God forever.
If the convictions in your life follow this pattern of allowing the Holy Spirit to guide your life, you will be protected from our enemy, the devil. This is what is meant when the Scripture says, “resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)
We resist by the convictions of sin, Christ, and judgment. Our convictions should resist temptation, weakness, and hopelessness. When you allow the Holy Spirit to guide you and drive your life, you will find true deliverance in your salvation.
Challenging the Culture with Truth … Larry Kutzler