Convicted, But Not Saved

John 8:5 – Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?

John 8:6 – This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.

John 8:7 – So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

John 8:8 – And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.

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.

Hello readers, hope you’re having a good weekend… today we are talking about being convicted, but not being saved. One of the first blogs I ever did was on false repentance. So many of us experience repentance, but not a repentance that leads to salvation. Biblical repentance is a repentance that leads us to saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Many people sin, and are sorry they sinned… but that doesn’t make them saved. Many people know when they’ve done wrong, unless they’re seriously deluded about themselves. But while many people know and can admit their failures and when they’ve done wrong (aka sinned!), many never go to Jesus Christ for forgiveness and salvation.

So often we are like the scribes and Pharisees of John 8. It’s amazing how we are always more like the bad examples than the good ones in the Bible. But the scribes and Pharisees were convicted in this story. Sounds pretty good huh. It started with them bringing a woman taken in adultery in before Jesus. Let’s be honest, they weren’t really interested in righteousness and truth and justice, they didn’t really care about all that, they were just using her to try and trip up Jesus. So often there’s more going on to our actions than just on the surface. We try and justify ourselves and our Christ rejecting lives.

In this chapter the Jews would start out wanting to stone this woman… but by the end of the chapter they’re picking up rocks to throw at Jesus Christ! Many times we can be like these scribes and Pharisees, picking fault in everyone else but refusing to look at ourselves first. They were an evil bunch.

But in this story they were asking Jesus, hey what do you reckon we should do with this woman? Were they really interested in obeying Jesus Christ, in hearing what he had to say? No, they were just listening for something they could use against Jesus and to justify themselves. We have got to watch our heart attitude when it comes to reading our Bible. Are we just reading it wanting it to say what we’ve already decided to do?  See they weren’t genuinely wanting to know what Jesus would have them do. Not nearly.

And Jesus said after they kept pestering for an answer – he that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. They’re famous words. And often used by people to try and justify themselves when someone rightfully rebukes their sin. Well, this answer dumfounded the scribes and Pharisees. They had no smart answer for that. Jesus wasn’t excusing this woman’s sin, but the thing is, we are all sinners. This was a bunch who were self righteous, they thought they were pretty good when they weren’t.

But the Bible says they were convicted by their own conscience. We all have a conscience. Conscience means “with knowledge”. We were created with knowledge. God created us with an inbuilt knowledge in us of our Creator, of right and wrong… after all man was originally made in the image of God. God gave us a conscience.  Our conscience can often bob up in our lives say hey that was wrong, bringing guilt and condemnation of our actions in life. Our conscience speaks to us of the God who created us, who has authority over our life. The problem is, in life, we can defile and sear our conscience. People live in sin and defile their conscience. They don’t want God in their knowledge and thinking and lives. So they put that knowledge out as they grow in their rebellion, and become thoroughly corrupt and reprobate. We get worse, not better, mankind isn’t getting better, man is always getting worse.

But these blokes were convicted. They had a bit of a conscience. And their conscience rebuked them. Hey you’re a sinner. You’ve done this, this and that. Their guilt and shame was revived by their conscience. They realized they were sinners, how can they cast stones at the woman when they’re being condemned by their own bitterness, hatred, envy, lust, pride in their hearts? It’s a good thing to be convicted. Websters 1828 dictionary defines the word “conscience” as  “To determine the truth of a charge against one; to prove or find guilty of a crime charged” and “To convince of sin”. Our conscience, if we haven’t defiled it and seared it to the point we don’t have one… it convinces us of our own sin. Our conscience finds us guilty.

Oh how we need a clean conscience to serve God. When our conscience is defiled, we cannot in good conscience serve God. So many of us do not have a conscience that has been cleansed, washed and purged from the guilt and stain of sin. The problem with a conscience that plays on us really stops us from serving God or from living the life God has for us in forgiveness, freedom and liberty. It’s great to be right with God. You can have nothing in life, you can be broke or poor or sick or whatever, but being right with God, being washed, cleansed, forgiven, saved inside… it’s the best thing we can have. The Pharisees were standing before the only person in eternity who could give them that for their guilty consciences… but they went out instead.

You see, these guys were convicted… that’s a good start… but then the Bible says they went out. Uh oh. That’s all of us in a nutshell. We get convicted, but do we go to Jesus Christ for salvation from that sin? See, it’s not enough to know you are a sinner. You can know you’re a sinner, and not many people really do dispute that. But that doesn’t make anyone saved. It’s one thing to know you’re a sinner, and you “stuff up” and “do wrong” and all the angles and outs and ways of putting it, but it’s another thing to believe on Jesus Christ to save you from those sins. And these blokes didn’t do that. That can be us.

They  were convicted… but they didn’t get saved. Instead they went out. They rejected Jesus Christ. They didn’t dispute they were sinners, but they didn’t need salvation from that sin. They particularly didn’t need Jesus Christ for that. Instead they’d go about their own way in life, their own way to establishing their righteousness. They didn’t need Jesus Christ’s salvation. See people would get saved if it wasn’t “Christ”. They don’t mind other religions or other ways of finding redemption, or absolution, or fulfillment and purpose. Just don’t let it be the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s so easy to miss this amazing truth in this story. They were convicted, they knew they were sinners, but they went out, rather than believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. He was the one guy they weren’t going to believe. They’d even end up calling for Barabbas over Jesus. Hey, anyone but Jesus. Yes, I’ve got a sin problem, but I don’t need Jesus Christ to fix it. People hate the Bible way, they don’t want to obey God’s word and submit to it. Sure I’m a sinner and do wrong, sure there’s things I regret and I’m not proud of, but I’m going to figure life out my own way!

There was another bloke who went out from the presence of God. He’s in Genesis 4. Genesis 4:16 – And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden. Cain went out… instead of repenting of the sin he was surely guilty of, he went out from the presence of God unrepentant and unsaved. He’d rejected God’s way, he didn’t want to obey God’s word, he’d do it his own way. People don’t want to come the “lamb” way, you see they’re not so opposed to religion and doing better and self improvement… there’s tons of people out there doing religion and doing better… just they don’t want to come to God by God’s way. We might be sinners, but we don’t want Jesus Christ as the solution to all of that. Their hatred of Jesus Christ, of truth, of light … it’s that great. Incredible.

That’s what pride and love of sin and darkness will make you do. It’ll make you go out, even in the face of all that knowledge that God has put in you that you are a sinner and you need to be saved. See, it’s not that people don’t know, they have knowledge, just they reject God… it’s not Cain didn’t know how to make things right and what to do… just he wasn’t interested in the truth, in God’s word. So many people decide to stay in their sin, and sure they may endure remorse or sorrow over their actions, and probably mainly because of the way it impacts them… but they don’t get saved. There’s never a true Biblical repentance, a work of the Holy Spirit in a guilty sinner that takes them broken and bruised to the cross of Christ and the empty tomb. Judas Iscariot was sorry for what he did in betraying an innocent man, he was really really sorry… but he didn’t get saved at all, and he’s burning in hell right now.

You know, many times I’ve been convicted of things I’ve done. And there was momentary remorse and regret and being sorry for what I’ve done. But then a while later I got over it. It was never resolved. Time went by and I forgot. And time eased the burden and weight of conviction of sin. Conviction of sin isn’t salvation. Conviction isn’t enough… that conviction must lead us to the cross of Jesus Christ. Their conscience told them… but the Holy Spirit didn’t… because they were resisting his work in their lives.

It’s not enough to know you’re a sinner, that knowledge must then take you to Jesus Christ, for forgiveness and deliverance practically and eternally. The fact is, many people don’t want salvation from their sin, and particularly not through the way of Christ. People are striving to do good and be better, but they’ll go out and do it their own way.

We’ve mentioned the Holy Spirit because it is he who is required, not just your conscience. They’d refused the Holy Spirit’s work in their life. Just look how they rejected Jesus Christ and his preaching and teaching and miracles over and over again. They hardened their hearts harder and harder against truth. It is the Holy Spirit who leads us to Christ. He always leads us to Jesus Christ in accordance with God’s word. Before they… stoned… Stephen, Stephen had preached to them about how they always did resist the Holy Ghost… just like their fathers so did they.

They were always trying to establish sin in Jesus Christ, it’s what they were doing in this story. Because they rejected him as being the solution to their sin. He broke the sabbath, he did this, he did that. If you spent less time trying to pick holes and find flaws in the Bible, God’s way, God’s truth, in Jesus Christ… you might just get saved. People will always try justifying their own wickedness by finding something to accuse Christians and God have to validate their rejection of light and truth. The one person in eternity who had the solution for their conscience that was sorely convicting them… and they went out from him. What a poor decision. Let’s us not make that poor decision.

The world is full of people trying to pick and poke holes in the Bible and the Lord Jesus Christ… and they do it to justify themselves. To clear their conscience by making others worse than themselves. The news is though that we are each the worst sinner, Paul said he was the chief of sinners. John the Baptist said of Jesus Christ that he wasn’t worthy to loose his shoe latchet. We are all sinners, that is a fact. We have all sinned and we all do sin. But what are we going to do with that fact? Salvation is taking that sin to Jesus Christ, but most people don’t because they don’t want to humble themselves and come to God his way, through the Son. They want to feel like they can do something rather than yielding to God’s way.

If you are being convicted of your sin, it may be good… but it’s not enough. It doesn’t make you saved. And after a while, you’ll get over being convicted and keep going on in your life. Pharaoh did again and again. Moses I’m sorry! Plague finishes, and he goes right back to same old stubborn, sinful, hard hearted Pharaoh. You may be like those Jews, sure I’m a sinner, and you’ll go out convicted… but you’ll come back again with more stones in your hand, and this time to stone Jesus rather than an adulterous woman. The worst thing you can do is be convicted, and not take it to the cross of Christ.

We all need forgiveness, we need the Holy Spirit, we need eternal life, we need God’s grace and mercy. It takes humility and brokenness, it takes us not going out, but falling at the feet of Jesus Christ. They went out from the Lord, the Lord who was born into this world to save his people from their sins. Don’t let that be us today, don’t let the conviction just blow over, and at the end you’re the same old unrepentant, disobedient, rebellious, proud, hard hearted, truth and light rejecting… and ultimately unsaved… sinner.


Joseph View All →

Hi, my name is Joseph Zadow. I am a 32 y/o Bible Blogger. I was new to blogging once! God’s word is the best thing that we can be given, and once we have it and know it for ourselves it is both a privilege and responsibility to bring it to others! We are blessed to be a blessing! I am a sinner (for sure!) saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ and I am a Lord Jesus Christ follower. He is faithful even though I rarely am to him. I believe the Bible is the word of God, and stake my life on it. My destination is heaven. As they say, I’m just a passin’ through this world… although most of the time it’s more like hangin’ by a thread in Jericho! I love playing sports – particularly cricket… I currently work on an orchard and a side hobby business of mine is growing vegetables etc – they are good for you! I love writing. Always happy to talk, so feel free to leave a comment. You can read more about me and my blog here – :)

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