An Article of Faith
Jessie J. Charpentier
One of the great proofs that the Bible is really God’s inspired Word is its unique ability to convict of sin. Consider a few Old and New Testament examples which demonstrate the convicting power of the Scriptures.
Josiah, a young and godly Judean king who ruled the Lord’s people more than six centuries before Christ, succeeds a wicked ruler who hated righteousness. At the beginning of Josiah’s rule a copy of God’s Word is found in the temple. When it is read to the king, both he and his people are convicted of their sins in not keeping God’s law:
“While they were bringing out the money collected at the LORD’s Temple, Hilkiah the priest found the Book of the Law of the LORD that was written by Moses. Hilkiah said to Shaphan the court secretary, ‘I have found the Book of the Law in the LORD’s Temple!’ Then Hilkiah gave the scroll to Shaphan. Shaphan took the scroll to the king and reported, ‘Your officials are doing everything they were assigned to do. The money that was collected at the Temple of the LORD has been turned over to the supervisors and workmen.’ Shaphan also told the king, ‘Hilkiah the priest has given me a scroll.’ So Shaphan read it to the king. When the king heard what was written in the Law, he tore his clothes in despair. Then he gave these orders ... ‘Go to the Temple and speak to the LORD for me and for all the remnant of Israel and Judah. Inquire about the words written in the scroll that has been found. For the LORD’s great anger has been poured out on us because our ancestors have not obeyed the Word of the LORD. We have not been doing everything this scroll says we must do’ ” (2 Chronicles 34:14-21 NLT).
Nehemiah returns to help the Jews rebuild the gates in the wall of Jerusalem following the exile. This great wall builder thinks the Word of God to be so important that he assembles the people and has the Scriptures read to them for three hours. This soon causes them to confess their sins:
“On October 31 the people assembled again, and this time they fasted and dressed in burlap and sprinkled dust on their heads. Those of Israelite descent separated themselves from all foreigners as they confessed their own sins and the sins of their ancestors. They remained standing in place for three hours while the Book of the Law of the LORD their God was read aloud to them. Then for three more hours they confessed their sins and worshiped the LORD their God” (Nehemiah 9:1-3 NLT).
Before Jesus left this earth He promised that the Holy Spirit would soon come upon the apostles:
“And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment” (John 16:8).
There are many instances in the New Testament where we see the Holy Spirit using God’s Word to convict people of their sin. At Pentecost Peter uses the Scriptures to rebuke Israel for crucifying its Messiah. This sermon results in 3,000 souls being convicted and trusting Christ for salvation:
“Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what should we do?’ Peter replied, ‘Each of you must repent of your sins, turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ to show that you have received forgiveness for your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is to you, and to your children, and even to the Gentiles—all who have been called by the Lord our God.’ Then Peter continued preaching for a long time, strongly urging all his listeners, ‘Save yourselves from this crooked generation!’ Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all” (Acts 2:37-41 NLT).
(Jessie J. Charpentier Sr. is pastor of Jenkins Memorial Baptist Church in St. Martinville.)