We are unable to see God’s truth on our own
“…it was the law that showed me my sin. I would never have known that coveting is wrong if the law had not said, “You must not covet.” Romans 7:7
God convicts us of our sin because He loves us. Without the conviction of God’s law in our hearts, we won’t know that we are sinning. Left to ourselves, we will pursue anything but God.
Conviction is not condemnation
“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death” Romans 8:1-2
The voices of condemnation are not from God. God is not the author of guilt and shame – He wants to deliver us from those things. So we should be very careful to discern voices that come at us with accusing fingers, because that is not God speaking to us.
Conviction is meant to lead us to a new life
“Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you?…Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?” Romans 2:4
God’s conviction is not condemning but it is direct and firm. God makes His will very clear to us and will not let us go on spiritually until we confess and repent of the sins He brings to our minds and hearts. He does not want us to settle with anything less than Himself because He wants to set us free.
With conviction also comes power
“Since we have been united with him [Jesus Christ] in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.” Romans 6:5-7
God doesn’t convict us of our sin only to leave us to fight our own battles. He has given us His Spirit so that we can resist our sinful desires and turn our hearts and minds towards His truth. It is through God’s Spirit that He gives us new desires. We cannot desire or pursue holiness apart from His power.
“Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live.” Romans 8:12-13
When our old way of life seems too good to abandon
Scripture describes sin as “deceitful” (Hebrews 3:13). I can’t count the times I have ignored the conviction of God’s Spirit so that I could continue living the life I wanted to. Living with known sins blinds us from seeing our true state. It is by God’s grace that we are brought to a place of repentance because we would never get there on our own. The reason I often chose to hold onto my idols rather than repenting was because it seemed as if my idols were just too good to give up. I couldn’t see that God wanted to give me a new life that was so much greater. I hadn’t yet experienced freedom so I didn’t know what I was missing. I believe that part of the reason we continue to hold onto sin that God has convicted us of is because we haven’t yet understood the life God wants to give us – or maybe we just forgot due to the deceitfulness of sin. When we come to that place of repentance, then we finally understand the blessings God had in mind for us all along.
As Paul shares in Ephesians, I too pray that God will give us a vision for the life He has for us. I pray that we wouldn’t allow ourselves to be blinded by sin but that we would hold onto the hope that we have through Jesus Christ.
“I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called…I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead…” Ephesians 1:16-19
(New Living Translation used)