A conviction is a strong persuasion or belief about the truth.
Biblical convictions are strong persuasion or belief in the doctrines that are held to be right and true by the Scripture and the Church throughout the centuries. Biblical convictions are needed for essential and non-essential doctrines. Examples of doctrines essential for faith are those that concern sin, salvation and doctrine of the Trinity. Examples of doctrines not essential for faith but are important for church ministry, mission and evangelism are church government, spiritual gifts, church practices, eschatology, rapture and the view of Church and Israel. On belief in the rapture and the imminent return of Christ for the Church, the Church will hasten evangelism to all nations before the Rapture of the Church. Bethesda Chapel holds that Church has not replaced Israel. Amillenianalists, on the other hand, interpret that the Church has replaced disobedient Israel, and there is no literal 1000 year reign. Right interpretations lead to right applications.
Personal convictions are beliefs that one may hold based on one’s own interpretation of scripture portions which are not specific biblical doctrines. Personal convictions provide boundaries for one to live a godly life (Rom 14:5, 14). They are needed for non-doctrinal matters such as eating vegetables or meat, special days, eating unclean food or food offered to idols, drinking fermented wine and strong drinks. A believer ought to grow in the wisdom and knowledge of the full counsel of God’s Word. God’s Scripture can teach, correct, reprove and train a believer for every good work. Likewise, personal convictions of the believer can change for the better (Rom 12:2; Eph 4:23; 2 Tim 3:16-17; Tit 3:5). Personal convictions are personal (Rom 14:5, 14, 22). Do not judge another person with your personal convictions (Rom 14:4, 10, 13, 22).
“The faith you (singular) have, keep to yourself before God…whatever is not from faith is sin” (Rom 14:22-23 NET). “So whoever knows what is good to do and does not do it is guilty of sin” (Jam 4:17 NET).
God’s Scripture and God’s Spirit can help the believer develop strong Biblical and personal convictions. Scripture is perspicuous. The perspicuity of scripture means that: 1) all believers can live by it, 2) it is clear in its essential matters for those with faith but obscure in the spiritual truths for unbelievers, 3) Scripture can be interpreted with ordinary means and the plain teachings of Scripture can be understood by both the saved and unsaved person, 4) the Holy Spirit illumines the mind of the reader or hearer for spiritual understanding, 5) every believer has the right and responsibility to read, interpret it for himself, so that his faith may rest on the testimony of the Scripture, and the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.
God’s Spirit illumines God’s Scripture so as to renew my mind and cleanse my guilty conscience. I can develop strong Biblical and personal convictions as I keep looking to Jesus, the Pioneer and Perfecter of our faith. In the fellowship of believers in a local church and small group members, my faith is enriched by believers with different personal convictions.
The final arbiter for Biblical and personal conviction is the Scripture and Christ (John 5:39; Rom 10:4; 2 Tim 1:12; 3:14; Heb 6:9).
Romans 14 advises me not to judge others according to my personal convictions but to show consideration for others. I am to encourage others to develop Biblical convictions on matters of faith and holiness.
“The faith you (singular) have, keep to yourself before God…whatever is not from faith is sin” (Rom 14:22-23 NET).
“So whoever knows what is good to do and does not do it is guilty of sin” (Jam 4:17 NET).
Elder Yoong Yuen Soo