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Conviction of Sin by the Law Bringing the Soul to the Gospel

Posted Jul 23, 2015 by Adrian Ebens in Everlasting Gospel
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Conviction of Sin by the Law Bringing the Soul to the Gospel

Collection of Quotes from the Spirit of Prophecy

A brother said he had made a profession of the truth, but he had never felt satisfied with his position. He felt that he must have a deeper work of grace in his heart. He wanted to get right here at this meeting. He must work from the foundation. The foundation must be sound. He must dig deep and lay it firmly upon the Rock. Unless the law of God was written in his heart he felt that he could never be saved, and hear from the lips of Christ, "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."  A brother had loved Christ one year, and he felt that the commandments of the Father are holy, just, and good. He felt that he was a most sinful being. He had much to hinder him. He wanted to give up all his sins. For the past few weeks he had had a deep conviction of sin. He felt with the brother who had spoken just before him that he must dig deep, get down to the very bottom of his iniquity, and root out every evil. He knew it was a trying time and a turning point in his life and experience. The law of God is exceedingly broad. The law of the Lord is perfect converting the soul. This conversion he must experience in his life.  {RH, May 4, 1876 par. 14} 

Some in this age of the world seem to think it a virtue to call sin righteousness. But Moses called sin by its right name, a transgression of God's holy law. Moses required all who were truly penitent and humble in view of their transgression, to manifest it by separating from the congregation, and in the sight of all Israel repair to the tabernacle, and he would plead with God to forgive their transgression, and receive them back again to his favor. Conviction and thorough repentance was required of ancient Israel in order to meet the standard of God. No less does God require of his people in our day. There must be genuine heart work in repentance and humiliation, in order to come under this covenant care, and protecting love of God. Unmistakable evidence is given that God is a jealous God, and that he will require of modern Israel as he did of ancient Israel, that they obey his law. For all who live upon the earth is this sacred history traced by the pen of inspiration. ST May 27 1880

  The least deviation from that law, by neglect, or willful transgression, is sin, and every sin exposes the sinner to the wrath of God. The unrenewed heart will hate the restrictions of the law of God, and will strive to throw off its holy claims. Our eternal welfare depends upon a proper understanding of the law of God, a deep conviction of its holy character, and a ready obedience to its requirements. Men must be convicted of sin before they will feel their need of Christ. "By the law is the knowledge of sin." Satan is continually at work to lessen man's estimate of the grievous character of sin. Those who trample under their feet the law of God, have rejected the only means to define to the transgressor what sin is. They are doing the work of the great deceiver.  {ST, March 3, 1881 par. 9} Signs of the Times, March 3, 1881.

Oh that there were seen in this day, so deep abhorrence of self, so great humiliation of soul before God, and so earnest a faith when light is given, as were manifested by Martin Luther! True conviction of sin is now rarely experienced; superficial conversions abound, and Christian experience is dwarfed and spiritless. And why is this? Because of the false and fatal education given by parents to their children, and by ministers to their people. The young are indulged in their love of pleasure, and left unrestrained to pursue a course of sin; thus they lose sight of filial obligation, and having learned to trample upon the authority of their parents, they are prepared to trample upon the authority of God. And the people, in like manner, are allowed, unwarned to unite in the sinful pursuits and pleasures of the world, until they lose sight of their obligations to God, and of his claims upon them. They are assured of divine mercy, but permitted to forget divine justice. They expect salvation through the sacrifice of Christ, without rendering obedience to the law of God. Hence they have no true conviction of sin, and without this there can be no true conversion.  {ST, May 31, 1883 par. 17} 

How wide the contrast between these words of Paul and those that come from many of the pulpits of today. The people are taught that obedience to God's law is not necessary to salvation; that they have only to believe in Jesus, and they are safe. Without the law, men have no conviction of sin, and feel no need of repentance. Not seeing their lost condition as violators of God's law, they do not feel their need of the atoning blood of Christ as their only hope of salvation.   The law of God is an agent in every genuine conversion. There can be no true repentance without conviction of sin. The Scriptures declare that "sin is the transgression of the law," [1 John 3:4.] and that "by the law is the knowledge of sin." [Romans 3:20.] In order to see his [298] guilt, the sinner must test his character by God's great standard of righteousness. To discover his defects, he must look into the mirror of the divine statutes. But while the law reveals his sins, it provides no remedy. The gospel of Christ alone can offer pardon. In order to stand forgiven, the sinner must exercise repentance toward God, whose law has been transgressed, and faith in Christ, his atoning sacrifice. Without true repentance, there can be no true conversion. Many are deceived here, and too often their entire experience proves to be a deception. This is why so many who are joined to the church have never been joined to Christ.  {4SP 297,298} 1884.

In setting aside the claims of the law of God, the church has lost sight of the blessings of the gospel. Bible conversion and sanctification,--a radical change of heart and transformation of character,--is the great need of the churches of today. Revivals in which men become members of the church without real conviction of sin, without repentance, and without acknowledging the claims of the law of God, are a cause of weakness to the church, and an occasion of stumbling to the world.  {4SP 306.1}

Those who are seeking salvation must undertake the work understandingly. God's word is our text-book. It tells us what sin is, and points out the remedy. When the lawyer inquired, "Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" Christ referred him to the law. "What is written in the law?" he asked; "how readest thou?" The apostle tells us: "Sin is the transgression of the law." Conviction of sin is the first step in conversion; and the law of God is the instrument to convict the sinner. It is this holy law that discovers the deformity of character, that reveals the plague-spot of sin.  And when man is convicted of sin, when he realizes his lost and undone condition, Jesus reveals himself as a sin-pardoning Saviour. Through him the sinner may obtain forgiveness, though he has failed so decidedly in his duty to render obedience to God. But salvation is never gained by abolishing the law, or lessening its sacred claims.  {ST, November 26, 1885 par. 8} 

Why should the apostles teach repentance toward God?--Because the sinner is in trouble with the Father. He has transgressed the law; he must see his sin, and repent. What is his next work?--To look to Jesus, whose blood alone can cleanse from all sin. Faith in Christ is necessary; for there is no saving quality in law. The law condemns, but it cannot pardon the transgressor. The sinner must depend on the merits of the blood of Christ. "Let him take hold of my strength," says our merciful Redeemer, "that he may make peace with me, and he shall make peace with me." Our Lord declared that he would love most to whom most was forgiven; and he only will feel that he needs forgiveness who sees himself as he is, defiled by sin, a transgressor of God's holy law. He who has the fullest conviction of the sacred claims of the law, will most clearly see the enormity of his offenses, and will feel that he is indeed forgiven much.  {ST, August 5, 1886 par. 2}

Every one should seek to understand the great truths of the plan of salvation, that he may be ready to give an answer to every one who asks the reason of his hope. You should know what caused the fall of Adam, so that you may not commit the same error, and lose heaven as he lost paradise. You should study the lives of patriarchs and prophets, and the history of God's dealing with men in the past; for these things were "written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come." We should study the divine precepts, and seek to comprehend their depth. We should meditate upon them until we discern their importance and immutability. We should study the life of our Redeemer, for he is the only perfect example for men. We should contemplate the infinite sacrifice of Calvary, and behold the exceeding sinfulness of sin and the righteousness of the law. You will come from a concentrated study of the theme of redemption strengthened and ennobled. Your comprehension of the character of God will be deepened; and with the whole plan of salvation clearly defined in your mind, you will be better able to fulfill your divine commission. From a sense of thorough conviction, you can then testify to men of the immutable character of the law manifested by the death of Christ on the cross, the malignant nature of sin, and the righteousness of God in justifying the believer in Jesus, on condition of his future obedience to the statutes of God's government in heaven and earth.  {RH, April 24, 1888 par. 15}

The first step in reconciliation to God, is the conviction of sin. “Sin is the transgression of the law.” “By the law is the knowledge of sin.” [1 John 3:4; Romans 3:20.] In order to see his guilt, the sinner must test his character by God's great standard of righteousness. It is a mirror which shows the perfection of a righteous character, and enables him to discern the defects in his own.  The law reveals to man his sins, but it provides no remedy. While it promises life to the obedient, it declares that death is the portion of the transgressor. The gospel of Christ alone can free him from the condemnation or the defilement [468] of sin. He must exercise repentance toward God, whose law has been transgressed, and faith in Christ, his atoning sacrifice. Thus he obtains “remission of sins that are past,” and becomes a partaker of the divine nature. He is a child of God, having received the spirit of adoption, whereby he cries, “Abba, Father!”  {GC88 467.2,3} (GC 467)

“The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.” [Psalm 19:7.] Without the law, men have no just conception of the purity and holiness of God, or of their own guilt and uncleanness. They have no true conviction of sin, and feel no need of repentance. Not seeing their lost condition as violators of God's law, they do not realize their need of the atoning blood of Christ. The hope of salvation is accepted without a radical change of heart or reformation of life. Thus superficial conversions abound, and multitudes are joined to the church who have never been united to Christ.  Erroneous theories of sanctification, also, springing from neglect or rejection of the divine law, have a prominent [469] place in the religious movements of the day. These theories are both false in doctrine, and dangerous in practical results; GC88 468,469 (GC 468,469)

The heart that loves God supremely will not in any way be inclined to narrow down His precepts to the very smallest possible claims, but the obedient, loyal soul will cheerfully render full spiritual obedience when the law is seen in its spiritual power. Then will the commandments come home to the soul in their real force. Sin will appear exceedingly sinful. . . . There is no longer self-righteousness, self-esteem, self-honor. Self-security is gone. Deep conviction of sin and self-loathing is the result, and the soul in its desperate sense of peril lays hold on the blood of the Lamb of God as his only remedy.--Lt 51, 1888.(1MCP 33)

Christ has not been presented in connection with the law as a faithful and merciful High Priest, who was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. He has not been lifted up before the sinner as the divine sacrifice. His work as sacrifice, substitute, and surety, has been only coldly and casually dwelt upon; but this is what the sinner needs to know. It is Christ in his fullness as a sin-pardoning Saviour, that the sinner must see; for the unparalleled love of Christ, through the agency of the holy Spirit, will bring conviction and conversion to the hardened heart. It is the divine influence that is the savor of the salt in the Christian. Many present the doctrines and theories of our faith; but their presentation is as salt without savor; for the holy Spirit is not working through their faithless ministry. They have not opened the heart to receive the grace of Christ; they know not the operation of the Spirit; they are as meal without leaven; for there is no working principle in all their labor, and they fail to win souls to Christ. They do not appropriate the righteousness of Christ; it is a robe unworn by them, a fullness unknown, a fountain untouched.  {1888 1076.1} 

The law of God is presented in the Scriptures as broad in its requirements. Every principle is holy, just and good. They lay men under obligation to God: they reach to the thoughts and feelings of the soul; and they will produce conviction of sin in everyone who is sensible of having transgressed them. If the law extended only to the external conduct, men would not feel guilty over their wrong thoughts, desires, and designs. But the law requires that the soul itself, the spiritual agent, be pure, the mind holy, that all thoughts and feelings shall be in accordance with the law of love and righteousness. By its light men see themselves guilty before God. . . .  {10MR 287,288}  (1888)

The earnest seeker for truth must have a plain "Thus saith the Lord." He does not want to approve of unrighteousness, but of things that are excellent. He is determined not to rest his hope of salvation on anything that is of a doubtful nature. He must have the assurance of the word of God as to whether he is a rebel to his law, or loyal to his rules of government. Ingenious, fine-spun theories, and arguments, that seek to prove that God's law is of no further force, do not satisfy a soul tortured with conviction of sin. He cannot rest in suspense. He thinks, "Suppose that the law of God does hold its claims upon every human being as it did upon Adam in Eden, and I should receive these ingenious theories, and be found on the side of the great rebel at last. Then I would be a lost soul, and would justly share the fate of the transgressor." Groaning under the load of sin, he cries out, "Am I God's friend, or his foe? As he contemplates the cross of Calvary, the true light shines to him. He sees, in the plan of salvation, that the death of Christ is an unanswerable argument as to the immutable character of the law. The law of God is as unchangeable as its author; and because not one precept could be changed or altered to meet man in his fallen condition, the Son of God had to die, the just for the unjust. He bore the penalty of man's disobedience, that man might be re-instated in the favor of God, and by a life of humble obedience might form such a character as would be accounted worthy of a place in the kingdom of God.  {ST, July 6, 1888 par. 11} 

There are many who are content with a superficial knowledge of the truth. The precious truths for this time are brought out so clearly in our publications, that many are satisfied, and do not search the Scriptures for themselves. They do not meditate upon the statements made, and bring every proposition to the law and to the testimony, to see if their ideas correspond to the word of God. Many do not feel that it is essential for them to compare scripture with scripture, and spiritual things with spiritual; and therefore they do not grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth, as it is their privilege to do. They accept the truth, without any deep conviction of sin, and present themselves as laborers in the cause of God when they are unconverted men. One says, "I want to do something in the cause of truth;" another says, "I want to enter the ministry;" and as our brethren are very anxious to get all the laborers they can, they accept these men without considering whether their lives give evidence that they have a saving knowledge of Christ. No one should be accepted as a laborer in the sacred cause of God, until he makes manifest that he has a real, living experience in the things of God. One reason why the church is in a backslidden state is, that so many have come into the truth in this way, and have never known what it is to have the converting power of God upon their souls.  There are many ministers who have never been converted. They come to the prayer-meeting and pray the same old, lifeless prayers over and over; they preach the same dry discourses over and over, from week to week, and from month to month. They have nothing new and inspiring to present to their congregations, and it is evident that they are not eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of man, for they have no life in them. They are not partakers of the divine nature; Christ is not abiding in their hearts by faith.  {RH, October 8, 1889 par. 4, 5} 

Christ is drawing everyone that is not past the boundary. He is drawing him to Himself today. No matter how great that sinner is, He is drawing him. If the sinner can get his arm fixed upon the cross of Calvary, then there is no conviction of sin. What is he there for? Because the law has been transgressed, and he begins to see that he is a sinner; and Christ died because the law was transgressed. And then he begins to look to the righteousness of Christ as the only thing that can cleanse the sinner from his sins and from his transgressions.  {1SAT 121.3}  (1889)

Conviction of sin is the first step in conversion, and by the law is the knowledge of sin. When the sinner has a realization of his sin, he is in a condition to be drawn to Christ by the amazing love that has been shown for him on the cross of Calvary. When he is humble and penitent, he does not look for pardon to the law which he has broken, but he looks to God, who has provided forgiveness and sanctification through his well-beloved Son. As he beholds the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world, he grows to love him, and by beholding he becomes changed into his image. The apostle wrote, "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus." The meek and holy Sufferer bore our sins, that the plan of salvation might be opened before men, that whosoever should believe on him might not perish, but have everlasting life.  {ST, July 7, 1890 par. 5} 

Our love to Christ will be in proportion to the depth of our conviction of sin, and by the law is the knowledge of sin. But as we see ourselves, let us look away to Jesus, who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity. By faith take hold of the merits of Christ, and the soul cleansing blood will be applied. The more clearly we see the evils and perils to which we have been exposed, the more grateful shall we be for deliverance through Christ. The gospel of Christ does not give men license to break the law; for it was through transgression that the flood-gates of woe were opened upon our world. Today sin is the same malignant thing that it was in the time of Adam. The gospel does not promise the favor of God to anyone who in impenitence breaks his law. The depravity of the human heart, the guilt of transgression, the ruin of sin, are all made plain by the cross where Christ has made for us a way of escape.  {ST, July 21, 1890 par. 8}

The command from Heaven is, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself." When the force of this requirement is understood, the conscience is convicted, the sinner is condemned. The carnal mind, which is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be, rises up in rebellion against the holy claims of the law. But as the sinner beholds Christ hanging upon the cross of Calvary, suffering for his transgression, deeper conviction takes hold upon him, and he sees something of the offensive nature of sin. Where there is a true conception of the spirituality and holiness of the divine law, the sinner is under condemnation, and his sins stand arrayed before him in their true character. By the law is the knowledge of sin, and in its light he understands the evil of secret thoughts and deeds of darkness. God's law presents matters in a light in which he has never before viewed his life. He sees that what we speak with our tongue, what we do with our hands, what we exhibit in our outer life, is but a very small part of what goes to make up our character. The law penetrates to the thoughts and intents of the heart. It searches out the dark passions indulged in secret, the jealousies, envyings, theft, murder, malignity, ambition, and evil that lurk hidden from the eyes of men. How often do men exalt those in whose hearts are dark things that for want of opportunity to display themselves are kept from sight. But God's law registers all hidden evil. The wise man declares, "God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil."     Many who claim to believe that the law has a binding obligation upon human intelligences, think lightly of secret sins, and carry themselves with boldness, as satisfied in their self-righteousness as if they were really doers of the word of God. Their work bears the impress of their defective character, and God cannot stand as their helper. God cannot cooperate with them.  {ST, November 3, 1890 par. 6,7} 

To those who have caught a glimpse of celestial truth, to whom have come some rays of enlightenment, is the warning given. For your souls' sake do not turn away and be disobedient to the heavenly vision. You may have seen something in regard to the righteousness of Christ, but there is truth yet to be seen clearly, and that should be estimated by you as precious as rare jewels. You will see the law of God and interpret it to the people in an entirely different light from what you have done in the past, for the law of God will be seen by you as revealing a God of mercy and righteousness. The atonement, made by the stupendous sacrifice of Jesus Christ, will be seen by you in an altogether different light. You will see sin in its heinous character. But this the Jews did not desire to see. Jesus said to them, "Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life." "For everyone that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved." ST Nov 13, 1893

The fact that Jesus, innocent and pure, should suffer, that God should lay all his wrath upon the head of his dear Son, that the guiltless should bear the punishment of the guilty, the just endure the penalty of sin for the unjust, breaks the heart; and as Jesus is lifted up, conviction strikes to the soul, and the love that prompted the bestowal of the infinite gift of Christ, constrains the sinner to surrender all to God.  But how different is the case of him who refuses to receive the salvation purchased for him at infinite cost. He refuses to look upon the humiliation and love of Jesus. He plainly says,"I will not have this man to reign over me." To all who take this attitude, Jesus says, "I came not to send peace, but a sword." Families must be divided in order that all who call upon the name of the Lord may be saved. All who refuse his infinite love will find Christianity a sword, a disturber of their peace. The light of Christ will cut away the darkness that covers their evil doings, and their corruption, their fraud, and cruelty, will be exposed. Christianity unmasks the hypocrisies of Satan, and it is this unmasking of his designs that stirs his bitter hatred against Christ and his followers.  It is impossible for any one to become a true follower of Jesus Christ, without distinguishing himself from the worldly mass of unbelievers. If the world would accept of Jesus, then there would be no sword of dissension; for all would be disciples of Christ and in fellowship one with another, and their unity would be unbroken. But this is not the case. Here and there an individual member of a family is true to the convictions of his conscience, and is compelled to stand alone in his family or in the church to which he belongs, and is finally compelled, because of the course of those with whom he associates, to separate himself from their companionship. The line of demarkation is made distinct. One stands upon the word of God, the others upon the traditions and sayings of men.  {RH, July 24, 1894 par. 3} 

The converted soul has a hatred of sin; he does not indulge in self-complacency, self-love, self-sufficiency, nor pass on day after day, claiming to be a Christian, and yet bringing dishonor upon Christ by misrepresenting him in character. Those who make this mistake, and pass on filled with self-righteousness, have not in reality made the first step heavenward. The first step toward heaven is conviction of sin, the second is repentance and obedience. True piety never exalts self.  {RH, September 17, 1895 par. 4} 

Many apologize for their spiritual weakness, for their outbursts of passion, for the lack of love they show their brethren. They feel a sense of estrangement from God, a realization of their bondage to self and sin; but their desire to do God's will is based upon their own inclination, not upon the deep, inward conviction of the Holy Spirit. They believe that the law of God is binding; but they do not, with the eager interest of judgment-bound souls, compare their actions with that law. They admit that God should be worshiped and loved supremely, but God is not in all their thoughts. They believe that the precepts which enjoin love to man, should be observed; but they treat their fellow-men with cold indifference, and sometimes with injustice. Thus they walk away from the path of willing obedience. They do not carry the work of repentance far enough. The sense of their wrong should lead them to seek God most earnestly for power to reveal Christ by kindness and forbearance.      Many spasmodic efforts to reform are made, but those who make these efforts do not crucify self. They do not give themselves entirely into the hands of Christ, seeking for divine power to do his will. They are not willing to be molded after the divine similitude. In a general way they acknowledge their imperfections, but the particular sins are not given up. "We have done the things we ought not to have done," they say, "and have left undone the things we ought to have done." But their acts of selfishness, so offensive to God, are not seen in the light of his law. Full contrition is not expressed for the victories that self has gained.  {ST, March 11, 1897 par. 4, 5} 

The law of God, as presented in the Scriptures, is broad in its requirements. Every principle is holy, just, and good. The law lays men under obligation to God; it reaches to the thoughts and feelings; and it will produce conviction of sin in everyone who is sensible of having transgressed its requirements. If the law extended to the outward conduct only, men would not be guilty in their wrong thoughts, desires, and designs. But the law requires that the soul itself be pure and the mind holy, that the thoughts and feelings may be in accordance with the standard of love and righteousness.--RH, Apr 5, 1898.

The degree of our love for God depends upon the clearness and fullness of our conviction of sin. "By the law is the knowledge of sin." The more we see of the perils to which we have been exposed by sin, the more grateful we shall be for deliverance.  {RH, September 25, 1900 par. 13} 

What is humility? That sense of sin and unworthiness which leads to repentance. But we must be assured of the malignity of a disease before we feel our need of a cure. Those who do not realize the sinfulness of sin are not able to appreciate the value of the atonement and the necessity of being cleansed from all sin. The sinner measures himself by himself and by those who like himself are sinners. He does not look at the purity and holiness of Christ. But when the law of God brings conviction to his heart, he says with Paul, “I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died” (Romans 7:9). . . . 9MR 229,230 (1900)

The degree of our love for God depends upon the clearness and fulness of our conviction of sin. "By the law is the knowledge of sin." But so far is it from making arbitrary requirements, that it is given to men as a hedge, a shield. Whoever accepts its principles is preserved from evil. Fidelity to God involves fidelity to man. Thus the law not only points out sin, but it guards the rights, the individuality, of every human being. It restraints the superior from oppression, and the subordinate from disobedience. It insures man's well-being, both for this world and the world to come. To the obedient it is the pledge of eternal life; for it expresses the principles that endure forever.  {SW, April 23, 1907 par. 6}