HH, Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div
The importance of convictions
The Bible models for us the importance of convictions, and get this, the Bible does not merely call for convictions about beliefs, but the Bible calls for convictions about behaviour–your lifestyle. And God shows us in His Word, He honours His children who live by convictions based upon His Truth.
Last week, in Daniel chapter 1, Daniel showed us his conviction over diet–his food and drink. In verse 8, Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food. Daniel set his heart. Why? The diet consisted of foods that were forbidden in the Old Testament Scripture. As a result, God blessed and used Daniel (and the three) greatly. Daniel had a conviction over a minor dietary issue in the law.
In Daniel 6, under a new kingdom and a new ruler, the jealous advisors tried to find something against Daniel. But he was blameless. So they got the king to agree to be ”god” for a month, so now everyone had to worship the king only, or be tossed in a lions’ den. And what was Daniel’s response? He went and openly worshipped the true God in prayer. Daniel had a conviction over prayer.
Did Daniel need others to agree before he would pray? No. Was he in need of negotiating? Did he plead with the king? Was he assured of victory? Did he pull all the lions’ teeth and claws? No, Daniel had a conviction over prayer.
In Daniel 3, Nebuchadnezzar wanted to solidify his new kingdom, so he makes a statue (from his dream in chapter 2) so everyone in the entire conquered world can affirm their loyalty by bowing down to that statue, or be thrown into a fiery furnace. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego did not bow down. They had a conviction as to who the true king was. They had a conviction about worshipping the one true God alone.
In Genesis 39, Joseph now sold into slavery has been purchased by Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh’s bodyguard. The Lord was with Joseph, so he prospered and was elevated to be in charge of the entire house. But trouble began to brew. Trouble–that starts with “T”, which rhymes with “P”, and that stands for Potiphar’s wife. Potiphar’s wife wanted to have an affair with Joseph. But Joseph had a conviction, see verse 9, “How then could I do this great evil, and sin against God?” Joseph had a conviction over personal purity. As a result of a conviction for purity, Joseph spent two more years in prison, unjustly.
Turn to Acts chapter 4. Peter and John healed a lame man, preached the Gospel, and thousands responded. Peter and John were arrested and told in verse 17 to speak no more to any man in this name. And what was their response? Verses 19 to 20 say, “But Peter and John answered and said to them, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; 20 for we cannot stop speaking what we have seen and heard.’” Sharing the gospel was a conviction they were willing to be jailed for. They refused to shut their mouths about Christ, and today we won’t open them.
Jesus had convictions; otherwise, he would not have made a whip and cleaned out the temple, or verbally blasted the Pharisees, calling them a bunch of snakes. A conviction is like a lighthouse–it points the way in the darkness. Or convictions are like a compass, they’ll never let you get lost.
Christian, do you have any convictions, or will you sell out for a price? A belief is what you hold–a conviction is what holds you. Convictions are absolutes sunk so deeply into your life–they drive you in one direction and keep you from all others. They’re the incontestable absolutes of your life. Do you have any? You need to stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything.
If you’re to stand, you must have convictions–and every true Christian will have convictions. If the Bible requires it, it is God-ordered. If it is God-ordered, it’s a conviction. If it is a conviction and God-ordered, then not doing it is sin. The world says, “Whatever the majority votes are morally right.” Thus, for society, abortion is right–but not for the Christian. The world says, truth is subjective–truth for you is not the truth for me. What you decide is your truth–your view determines your lifestyle. But not for the true believer–the truth is objective, God is Lord and He determines what we believe and how we live.
The world says our law determines what’s right. But God says, His Word is the only truth. And what Jesus says is right is always right, and what He says is wrong is always wrong, and what He commands is always best and good, and what He forbids is always wrong and damaging for us.
If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything. What are you going to stand for? What are your non-negotiables? What are some truths you need to have convictions over? There are so many, let me just share a few the Bible makes clear, and that FBC’s ministry leaders believe are crucial for this church family.