Having understood the ministry of the Holy spirit in the area of conviction (sin, righteousness and Judgement), Paul’s encounter at Philippi in Macedonia where Paul exorcised a demon-possessed slave girl explains alot.
Acts.16.17 She started following Paul around, calling everyone’s attention to us by yelling out, “These men are working for the Most High God. They’re laying out the road of salvation for you!” (MSB)
If we now stand on the content of the message of this demonic spirit, we should argue that what the slave girl was screaming about is correct. “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation” indeed. Taking this fact in mind, what was Paul so annoyed about? Was he literally, annoyed with the slave girl? And if the “message” was correct according to Paul, why he was so fuss about performing this exorcism?
First of all, we need to clarify that the words of the slave girl were not triggered by the Holy Spirit. We already know that Prophecy is classified under the vocal Gifts of the Holy Spirit (1Cor 12:10). Satan has a counterfeit gift for every true gift of the Spirit. This slave girl had a counterfeit demonic gift at work and Paul by the help of the Holy Spirit felt this spiritual discernment.The Holy Spirit acts as a prosecuting attorney who exposes evil, reproves evildoers, and convinces people that they need a Savior.
Three things it proves
a) conviction of sin is not merely knowledge of right and wrong; it is not an assent to Scripture’s teaching about sin. Many people read the Bible and are fully aware that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). They may know that “no immoral, impure, tricky or greedy person . . . has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ” ( (Psalm 9:17). Yet, for all their knowledge, they continue to live in sin. They understand the consequences, but they’re far from being convicted of their sins.
B) Paul harnessed the Gift of discernment in other to rebuke the demon out of her.
This is a special Spirit-given ability to distinguish between spirits, or to know whether a particular word, action or motive has its source in God, sinful flesh or satan.
C) When the Holy Spirit convicts people of their sin, He represents the righteous judgment of God (Hebrews 4:12). There is no appeal of this verdict. The Holy Spirit not only convicts people of sin, but He also brings them to repentance (Acts 17:30)