close up side view portrait of black girl with lively faith. expiatoryfaith. mixed race girl is asking forgiveness because she has done a lot of mistakes and sins. copyspace. profileOne of the most profound aspects of our spiritual growth and develop as sons is learning to please the Lord.
Christ gave us the gift of Holy Spirit to help us with this part of the journey, and to push us toward conviction of sin (John 16:8). This gift helps us see that “conviction” is not something that merely happens to us. Rather, it helps us transform into the image and likeness of the Son.
Conviction Is A Powerful Force
The gift of conviction is forceful, painful and yet one of the most powerful forces of love we will ever experience. Paul describes it as an experience that caused him to rejoice.
In 1 Corinthians 7:9 he states: “As it is I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief…”
Paul understood conviction to be a sign of the inworking of Holy Spirit. Likewise, it stands as a critical identifier of heart-change.
Repentance Can Be Beautiful
Who could imagine that “godly grief” could be beautiful? Yet, it is!
Christ declared that Holy Spirit would convict the world of sin unto repentance (John 16:7-8). He accomplished this. Therefore, repentance ushers believers into the beauty of righteousness.
Godly Grief Produces Repentance
Conviction is painful! Yet its finished work produces loving sons. That’s beautiful.
In 1 Corinthians 7:10 the Apostle Paul states, “For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret…”
So, repentance is produced as the soul mourns its misalignment with the Lord. Conviction says we recognize our misalignment, sees its consequences and desire to correct the wrong. Therefore, godly grief fuels daily salvation and accelerates spiritual growth.
As a result, transformation is not based on condemnation. Rather, the overcomers joy becomes the fruit of the Lord’s forgiveness.
What Real Repentance Looks Like
According to scripture, real repentance:
- Has little to do with feeling sorry or guilty about sinning. First of all, it is about recognizing the need to change the inner-person and produce fruit that remains. Repentance recognizes that grief without change is not repentance.
- Does not mean to live without consequences. Some choices have consequences that impact us and those affected forever. Similarly, we learn to live with those consequences or losses from our forgiven, restored place. Being repentant does not meant everything goes back to the way it was in the natural.
- Is not just about changing behavior. Certainly, people can change behavior without having a heart change. As a result, conviction of sin unto righteousness must occur. This means that righteousness should be authentic and visible.
- Is not a release of sorrowful words or confession alone. True repentance is inward revival! As a result, a change of heart and mind should occur. Consequently, the sin becomes what the person hates and the change becomes what the person desperately desires.
- Comes with an appreciation and respect for accountability, and the humility to be taught and learn. Therefore, repentance often requires accountability in community or with a mentor/teacher who can provide guidance. Rejection of accountability, counsel and/or being taught can indicate that repentance has not fully occurred.
- Real repentance is never frivolous. As a result, every earnest act of repentance is a serious action of the heart and a core foundation of one’s faith. Furthermore, it is the catalyst for “entrance” of the ministry of Holy Spirit in us to work the will of God for our lives- producing likeness and image.
Finally, repentance is our skeleton key to living a life of salt and light. It is the opening restoration needs to make our joy complete. Above all, we are to be like Him.
1 John 1:5-9 NIV, “5This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all[b] sin. 8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”