He’s there, but you can’t see Him with the naked eye. He is moving, but you cannot track His steps with a magnifying glass to the ground. He is convicting, but you won’t find Him doing so in a courtroom. He is the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity, who pricks and persuades sinners of their need for Christ, often in the very hour they hear the gospel from your lips. The Scripture says: “While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word” (Acts 10:44, KJV).
The Spirit of God punches His timecard when you proclaim the full gospel to the lost. The Spirit engages in CPR, reviving a once-dead heart when you engage in evangelism (Eph. 2:1). He shines gospel light in darkened hearts when the blazing gospel torch is carried to those in darkness (2 Cor. 4:6). The Spirit opens blinded eyes when you call the unregenerate to look away from themselves to Christ (2 Cor. 4:4). He leads sinners in the everlasting way, reveals the truth, and gives life when you declare that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).
The very first thing He does is convict, according to Jesus. He said, “And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:8). The Spirit puts a person’s conscience on trial when the gospel is published. And He says to them, “You are in serious trouble with God, and you are in serious need of salvation. Wake up! You need Jesus!” Furthermore, the Spirit converts a sinner’s soul: “He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5).
This does not mean that every person who hears the gospel will be saved. Sometimes your gospel preaching falls on deaf ears. Unsaved sinners still resist grace (cf. Acts 7:51). What it does mean is that the Spirit can penetrate the hardest heart, loosen the stiffest neck, and overcome anyone’s resistance to His call when He wills (John 6:37-40; Acts 16:4; Romans 8:29-30).
It means that you can faithfully present the gospel and walk away with a full heart, knowing that the Spirit leads a person to Christ. You don’t have to worry about whether your presentation of the gospel was eloquent or sophisticated enough to convince someone to believe. You don’t have to use gimmicks, tactics, bouncy-houses, potlucks, or concerts to win a person to Christ. And it means that no amount of therapy, theories, or prescriptions make a person a better candidate for salvation. The Spirit of God alone convicts and converts lost souls—and He doesn’t need any help. Just preach the gospel (cf. Romans 10:14-17).
Bible Gleanings is a widely-read weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky.
Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English Shepherd), and Dot (Bluetick Beagle).