It’s the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge and my job to love.
— Billy Graham
THREE divinely appointed roles. It makes life much simpler for a Christian to be faithful, to both their faith and to all their relationships, when they can hold this pithy sixteen-word statement in the tensions of their consciousness.
The Holy Spirit’s Role – Convict!
It is such a comfort to know, that, from an evangelistic perspective, it’s the Holy Spirit that must move in a person’s heart. We can only put before them the teaching. We can only teach the Word of the Scriptures. We can only model the Scriptures in our lives. Then, and only then, in the sense of good timing, can the Holy Spirit quicken a person to a decision only they can make. Many people who have apparently ‘come to faith’ never actually progress in the faith. Jesus talks about the four types of seed in Mark 4:1-20. Only one seed of those four that Jesus alluded to — those who have been convicted by the Holy Spirit — will “hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop — thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown.” The Holy Spirit will not force a person beyond their will — that’s love!
God’s Role – Judge!
How are we to know with any definite certainty in this life what the Judgments of God will look like — their effect — and who they’ll affect, and how they will affect any of us? We really have no idea other than what the Bible tells us. We can trust the Bible as the Word of God, but the Bible is only so instructive. Why would we then cavort with potential lies? It’s the devil’s playground to preach ‘turn or burn’ without love. Shudder to think that we, in preaching such a venomous and vexatious message, might be the ones who say, “Lord, Lord,” only for him to say, “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” (See Matthew 7:21-23) It is a divine mystery that the Judgments of God are couched intrinsically in love. That, they are! Such knowledge is only ours by faith. Our role, personally, as far as God’s Judgment is concerned, is to receive the truth: how can we expect to be saved if we do not wish to be saved?
Any Human Being’s Role – Love!
Isn’t life simpler when we know we only have to love? Not exactly. To love is hard work, but only to the extent that we must pour contempt on our pride continually or act diligently when we are tempted by fear or laziness. And then, when we genuinely have the Holy Spirit, we find it intuitive to love — we are convicted every time (every day!) we stray from the will of God. Repentance becomes our byword and love is the response of our repentance. Simply, we love people with the love God loves us with.
Accepting our role as a human being is none other than simply to love. Love’s role is none other than to simply accept all other human beings.
We allow others to settle matters of conscience according to their own devices. And yet, we can still teach the matters of God with consciences free because we are tied only to his Word.
God is love and that is our invitation; to excel in our love, like Jesus.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.