Summary: Easy believism has permeated our churches. We moved away from talking about three C’s of salvation in an attempt to avoid negativity. True Biblical salvation consists of conviction, confession, and conversion.
THE THREE C’S OF SALVATION
PART I – CONVICTION
INTRODUCTION: In the late 1940’s and early 1950’s a shift in preaching and evangelism took place that has caused a crisis in Christianity. What has been termed as "easy believism" permeated our churches. We moved away from talking about three C’s of salvation and in an attempt to avoid any negativity presented a gospel that I believe has given many a false sense of security. I believe that many sitting in our churches today have never experienced genuine biblical salvation. Many of those who are saved are living weak, anemic, and defeated lives because they have chosen to ignore these three C’s, which are crucial not only to our salvation but also our sanctification. The formula for biblical salvation is conviction plus confession plus conversion equals salvation. Many have experienced conviction without confession or conversion. Some have made confession without conviction or conversion. Others have sought conversion without conviction or confession. All three elements are necessary for true biblical salvation. Likewise, the formula for biblical sanctification also is conviction plus confession plus conversion equals sanctification. Today, I want to consider the first of the C’s – CONVICTION.
I. BEFORE A PERSON CAN BE SAVED THERE MUST BE AN AWARENESS OF SIN.
A. Before a person can come to Christ he must have an awareness of his sinfulness and his lost condition.
B. The World has little concept of sin. The Platonic conception of sin is that sin is nothing more than intellectual error.
C. Furthermore we have made calling sin "sin" politically incorrect. We use "sexual preference" or "alternative lifestyle" to refer to what God calls vile affections, "sexually active" for fornication, "chemical dependency" for drunkenness. We no longer lie; we embellish or stretch the truth. Children are no longer unruly or disobedient; they have either Oppositional Defiant Disorder Syndrome or Antisocial Personality Disorder Syndrome. We spell sin "syn".
D. The top ten politically correct term ways to label sin and sinfulness in reverse order are: 10 - Mostly righteous on a good day; 9 - Ethically non-enlightened; 8 - Morally Dyslexic; 7 - Good (if marked on a curve); 6 - Bearing a strong family resemblance (to Adam); 5 - Microsoft Perfection v. 1.0; 4 - Gravitationally influenced (fallen); 3 - Motown Motivated ("Supremes"ly affected by all the "Temptations"); 2 - Living by trial and error; 1 - Beta holiness. [copied]
E. John 15:22 "If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin."
F. At a southern Church, an older lady was listening to the sermon, in which the pastor was preaching fervently against all the common sins, from gambling, to Murder, and everything in between. The lady swayed in her seat, and murmured “Amen, Amen” from time to time. But when the parson hit on the subject of Snuff-taking, the lady sat bolt-upright and said, "Now he’s left preaching and taken to meddling"
G. The natural response when someone confronts us is to deny the sin and to be angry at the accuser. - Donald Njaa in Leadership, Vol. 9, no. 2.
H. As long as we are ignorant of our sin, excuse our sin, call our sin a disorder, weakness, or syndrome we will never find resolution or deliverance.
I. Do we recognize sin as sin in our lives?
J. Galatians 5:19-21 "Now the works of the flesh are clearly revealed, which are: adultery, fornication (sexual impurity), uncleanness (immorality), lasciviousness (lustfulness), idolatry, witchcraft (pharmakeia), hatred (feuds), variance (quarrels), emulation (jealous rivalries), wrath (bursts of anger), strife (rivalries and factions), seditions (divisiveness), heresies, envying, murders, drunkenness, revelings (carousing), and things like these; of which I tell you before, as I also said before, that they who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."
K. Do you harbor unforgiveness, pride, ingratitude, rebelliousness, complaining, gossip, lying, bitterness, greed, or faithlessness?
L. We need to recognize our sin. But mere consciousness of one’s sin is not conviction.
M. A guilty conscience is not conviction.
N. Conscience - Internal or self-knowledge, or judgment of right and wrong; or the faculty, power or principle within us, which decides on the lawfulness or unlawfulness of our own actions and affections, and instantly approves or condemns them.
O. John 8:9 "And they which heard [it], being convicted by [their own] conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, [even] unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst."
P. 2 Corinthians 7:10 "For godly sorrow works repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world works death."
Q. Two biblical examples are Judas and Peter –
• In Matthew 27:3 when Judas saw Christ taken, bound, tried, and condemned, he was overwhelmed with disappointment, sorrow, and remorse. He felt guilt and sorrow but not godly conviction. Overwhelmed with remorse and the vast guilt, he commits suicide.