12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.Hebrews 4:12-13
Since the word of God is living, active and sharp, you must expect to get cut. The Word of God drives into the space between soul and spirit: it uncovers and lays bare the thoughts and intentions of your soul. Nothing will stay hidden.
The passage pictures a sacrificial animal, laid on its back, the throat exposed and the knife tearing through the skin and flesh and blood and nerve.An interesting thing about an exceedingly sharp knife: You do not instantly feel the pain. It takes a moment — it seems — for even the nerve to realize what has taken place. Only later do you know that the blade has slipped beneath she skin.
Thus, a sermon which does not cut is not a sermon. This does not mean mean bad feelings or good feelings. Bad feelings do not make “conviction”. Good feelings do not mean heavenly joy. Bad feelings and good feelings come immediately and then fade as the afternoon goes on. It is not so with a true cut.
When we preach, when we teach, when we counsel, when we use the Word of God rightly it will cause the heart to see itself exposed before God.
The exposure of the Word is an exposure to God: The Word of God exposes the heart and leaves me to know that I have been known by God. Conviction means that I know that God knows what I had hoped to keep secret. Conviction does not mean that I feel regret. Conviction means I have been found out — I have been exposed.
Adam had hoped to keep his sin secret — he felt bad, he felt guilt — what he hoped to avoid was conviction. Conviction came when God spoke, “Where are you?”