Conviction, the evidence or proof that a belief is based upon. Faith is the substance of that which is hoped for, the conviction of accomplished works not seen (Hebrews 11:1). Since hope is always based upon a promise (Romans 8:24), faith in the one giving the promise is what undergirds the hope we have, even though we cannot at this time look at what was promised. When used in action it still carries the same meaning; therefore, Scripture, which is God-breathed, is profitable towards teaching and conviction, along with correction and child-training (2 Timothy 3:16). Which is why the Pastor is instructed to preach in season and out of season while convicting along with rebuking in all longsuffering and doctrine (2 Timothy 4:2).

There is so much great information in these passages and the meaning of the words, like teaching is different from doctrine, and child-training is specific to Christians, along with the fact that the Scripture is actually God-breathed, but we will have to look at these another time. Understanding conviction is important, because it is not about accusing a person, but about why we believe what we believe. The conviction is not judgment but laying out the truth so that our faith is shown to be based upon actual promises from God, not from humans. We see this with the Holy Spirit’s work concerning the unbelievers today. He convicts them of a sin – not believing in Christ’s death for sins and resurrection (John 16:8-11), righteousness – because Christ goes to the Father, and judgment – because the ruler of this world has been judged. He is not making them feel bad about their sins, but convincing them through truth of the facts of the Gospel for Salvation (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

As a result of who we are in Christ, we are not to fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness but are to convict them (Ephesians 5:11). A good example of this is when Christians try to live through law rather than out from faith. Their works are unfruitful because these ones are not walking by faith and taking God at His Word; rather, they are using the flesh. They, along with all others who walk in darkness, should be convicted by our lifestyle as a result of walking in the light and the truth we speak. Walking in the darkness means a life that is focused on fulfilling the desires of the flesh and ignoring spiritual things. Light is God’s life in activity. When walking in the light, we are manifesting a quality of the life of God – the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

“Convict” in English can carry a meaning of some offense or crime; however, in Scripture the original language expresses conviction, which is the act of fully persuading someone based upon truth, such as is seen with faith being the conviction of that which is hoped for but not yet seen as we wait to receive it. So when Jude wrote of the judgment to come when the ungodly will be convicted of their ungodly works, this shows that when judgment comes upon them they will be convinced by the facts of their works and truth showing they are fully deserving of what they receive in return for their works. Jude 15 – to do judgment and according to all also to convince every soul concerning their ungodly works … .

It is not our words that will convict others around us of the truth, but our actions. This does not mean we will always get a positive result because there are some that do not want to know the truth and will react very negatively when convinced of it. But there are others that will be convicted of their unbelief or ungodly works and respond by changing their mind. Therefore, let the conviction of our faith be seen through our lifestyle, not just our words, because faith without works is dead.