Of the Spirit’s work of conviction, it simply means, “convincing the mind and the heart regarding certain facts, presenting issues of life and death that demand a choice.” In conviction, the Spirit works in ways that best speak to our personalities. To the jailer at Philippi, conviction came instantly as a witness to the miraculous; to Martin Luther, conviction came by his conscious and a fear of hell; and to C.S. Lewis and Josh McDowell, conviction came by way of apologetics.
Let’s suppose that as Walking Bear looks up at the heavens at night and as he sees the intricacy and beauty of nature around him, he senses that all of this has been made by the Great Spirit. Furthermore, as Walking Bear looks into his own heart, he senses there the moral law, telling him that all men are brothers made by the Great Spirit and therefore we ought to live in love for one another.
The Holy Spirit does not necessarily convict based on having heard the Gospel message, but on whom we are and the particulars of God by which we are aware. Note that the work of conviction, even in an instance such as Walking Bear, requires a response from us—never a response to a preacher or an evangelist, but a response to God himself.
This response leads to the second act of the Divine Order: faith. We receive faith from the Holy Spirit for faith in Him—faith that will lead us to accept the Son’s sacrifice for our sins. So when we look upon the cross as the fulfillment of the atoning sacrifice, we are then given the faith to accept this sacrifice. This opens the door to the soul for the Holy Spirit to enter, wash clean, dwell and for us to receive an inner communion with God.
“By a creative act of the Holy Spirit, this new life is implanted in that penitent sinner, and then he is given a new nature, Christ’s own divine, spiritual nature…and the Holy Spirit, through this new birth, implants a totally new creation.”
At this point, we are now at peace with God (Rom. 5:1); and so the love of God is felt afresh in the soul.
 Paxson, 52.
- The Holy Spirit’s Role in Salvation: Part 5 (jmdansville.wordpress.com)
- The Holy Spirit in the Role of Salvation: Part 3 (jmdansville.wordpress.com)
- The Holy Spirit’s Role in Salvation: Part 4 (jmdansville.wordpress.com)
- The Role of The Holy Spirit in Salvation: Part 1 (jmdansville.wordpress.com)
- The Role of The Holy Spirit in Salvation: Part 2 (jmdansville.wordpress.com)
- The Holy Spirit: Why should we study The Holy Spirit? (jmdansville.wordpress.com)