The Holy Spirit Produces Conviction
By R. A. Torrey (1856 – 1928)
The Holy Spirit has power to reveal Jesus Christ and His glory to man. When Jesus spoke of the Spirit’s coming He said: “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of Me” (John 15:26), and it is only as He does testify of Christ that men will ever come to a true knowledge of Christ. You send men to the Word to get a knowledge of Christ, but it is only as the Holy Spirit takes the Word and illuminates it, that men ever get a real living knowledge of Christ. “No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost” (1 Cor. 12:3).
If you wish men to get a true knowledge of Jesus Christ, such a view that they will believe on Him and be saved, you must seek for them the testimony of the Holy Spirit. Neither your testimony nor that of the Word alone will suffice, though it is your testimony, or that of the Word, which the Spirit uses.
But unless your testimony is taken up by the Holy Spirit, and He Himself testifies, they will not believe. It was not merely Peter’s words about Christ that convinced the Jews at Pentecost. It was the Spirit Himself bearing witness. If you wish men to see the truth about Jesus, do not depend upon your own powers of exposition and persuasion, but cast yourself upon the Holy Ghost and seek His testimony.
The Holy Spirit Convicts
Now let us turn to John 16:8-11. “And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin because they believe not on Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father, and ye see Me no more; of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.”
The Holy Spirit has power to convict the world of sin. This is closely connected with the preceding; for, it is by showing Jesus and His glory and His righteousness, that the Holy Spirit convicts of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. Note the sin of which the Holy Spirit convicts, “Of sin because they believe not on Me.” It was so at Pentecost, as we see in Acts 2:36-37.
You can never convict any man of sin because that is the work of the Holy Spirit. You can reason and reason, and you will fail. The Holy Spirit can do it very quickly.
Did you never have this experience? You have shown a man passage after passage of Scripture, and he was unmoved, and you have wondered why the man did not break down, and suddenly it has occurred to you, “Why, I am not looking in my helplessness to the mighty Spirit of God to convict this man of sin, but I am trying to convince the man of sin myself,” and then you have cast yourself upon the Spirit of God for Him to do the work, and conviction came. The Spirit can convince the most careless, as experience has proven again and again.
But it is through us that the Spirit produces conviction. In John 16:7-8 we read: “I will send Him to YOU. And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” It was the Spirit sent to Peter and the rest, who convicted the 3,000 through Peter and the others on the day of Pentecost. It is ours to preach the Word and to look to the Holy Spirit to produce conviction (see Acts 2:4-37).
The Spirit Regenerates
In Titus 3:5 we read: “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of the regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.”
The Holy Spirit has power to renew men or make men new, to regenerate. Regeneration is the Holy Spirit’s work. He can take a man dead in trespasses and sins, and make him alive. He can take the man whose mind is blind to the truth of God, whose will is at enmity with God and set on sin, whose affections are corrupt and vile, and transform that man, impart to him God’s nature, so that he thinks God’s thoughts, wills what God wills, loves what God loves, and hates what God hates.
I never despair of any man when I think of the power of the Holy Spirit to make new, as I have seen it manifested again and again in the most hardened and hopeless cases.
– Taken from How To Find Fullness Of Power In Christian Life And Service.