“He will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.” John 16:8

“. . . the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down . . . .” Revelation 12:10

How can I tell the difference between the convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit and the accusing attacks of Satan? Some thoughts:

1. The Holy Spirit puts his finger on a specific sin I have committed, something concrete I can own and confess, but the accusations of Satan are vague and simply demoralizing.

2. The Holy Spirit shows me Christ, the mighty Friend of sinners, but the devil wants me spiraling down into negative self-focus.

3. The Holy Spirit leads me to a threshold of new life, but the devil wants to paralyze me where I am.

4. The Holy Spirit brings peace of heart along with a new hatred of sin, so that I bow before Jesus in reconsecration, but the devil offers peace of mind with smug relief, so that I fold my arms and say, “There, that’s over with.”

5. The Holy Spirit helps me to be so open to God that I allow him to control the conversation, but the devil tempts me to take off the table certain questions I just don’t want God to talk to me about.

We are thankful for our dear Friend, the Holy Spirit.

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Ray Ortlund


Ray Ortlund is senior pastor of Immanuel Church in Nashville, Tennessee, and serves as a Council member with The Gospel Coalition. You can follow him on Twitter.

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