A Ministry of First Baptist Church Elyria OH

     First Baptist Church - Elyria, Ohio
Tap To Call


What is conviction of sin?

I found this quote about ‘conviction of sin’ that presented what a healthy view toward this might look like.

The following is a quote from Raymond C. Ortlund, Jr. commentary on Isaiah.  I’ve highlighted key phrases to speed up the reading.


“We may feel good about ourselves. But what if God thinks we’ve done wrong, a lot of wrong, and not much right? What if he wants to talk to us about it because he also has a remedy for us? What if he can see that our self-protection is really self-imprisonment? God lovingly confronts us with truths embarrassing enough to save us.

What is conviction of sin?It is not an oppressive spirit of uncertainty or paralyzing guilt feelings. Conviction of sin is the lance of the divine Surgeon piercing the infected soul, releasing the pressure, letting the infection pour out. Conviction of sin is a health-giving injury. Conviction of sin is the Holy Spirit being kind to us by confronting us with the light we don’t want to see and the truth we’re afraid to admit and the guilt we prefer to ignore. Conviction of sin is the severe love of God overruling our compulsive dishonesty, our willful blindness, our favorite excuses. Conviction of sin is the violent sweetness of God opposing the sins lying comfortably undisturbed in our lives. Conviction of sin is the merciful God declaring war on the false peace we settle for. Conviction of sin is our escape from malaise to joy, from attending church to worship, from faking it to authenticity. Conviction of sin, with the forgiveness of Jesus pouring over our wounds, is life.

In Isaiah chapter 1, God is telling us the truth about ourselves. Let’s not be fooled by our polished appearances and our stylish theories of the darling self. They’ll be the death of us. The unflattering portrait of Isaiah 1 is God’s way of disturbing us until we start asking the courageous Godward questions that can breathe life back into us.

The first chapter of Isaiah shows us the “before” picture—what we are, left to ourselves. Later prophecies in the book piece together the “after” picture—what God promises to make of everyone he saves. By the end of the book, what God achieves is not simply a patched-up version of you and me. His grace will create new heavens and a new earth (65:17; 66:22). Isaiah 1 opens the way to our God-glorification by deconstructing our self-glorification.

According to John Calvin, we need to know two things to make meaningful contact with reality. We need to know God and ourselves. A new self-awareness “leads us by the hand,” Calvin says, to find God. Isaiah begins there, with our most urgent need—a new self-awareness through the conviction of sin.”[1]


[1] Ortlund, R. C., Jr., & Hughes, R. K. (2005). Isaiah: God saves sinners (p. 27). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.