If you are a child of God, don’t confuse conviction, for guilt as Satan would have you do. Guilt is a feeling of helplessness; conviction is a force for change. There are two types of conviction that we can confuse as guilt. First, there is what I call, “pre-sin conviction” and then, there is “post-sin conviction.” Let me give you an illustration. It’s Sunday morning and you are lying in bed with no intention of going to church. Down in the depths of your heart you begin to feel a tug. That is not guilt for the decision you have made not to go to church. It is conviction from the Holy Spirit to change your mind (repent) and go to church. Guilt leads to trying to squelch the feelings, which is what Satan wants. Conviction is the opportunity to do what you should.
OK, so you squelch the conviction to go to church, and instead stay home and satisfy your flesh. Later that night, you are laying in bed and begin to feel “guilty” for not going to church. Wait, that is not guilt as Satan would have you think. It is conviction which leads to repentance. If you recognize it for what it is, you can now confess the sin and move forward.
So why is this so important? Christians who live in guilt, are convinced that God is angry at them. Christians who live under conviction, realize that God is reaching out to speak to them. That is HUGE! It is all in how we see God, which is why Satan would have you think it is guilt when it is really conviction. Guilt saps you of your spiritual power, while conviction allows you to walk in that power. Guilt is paralyzing; conviction is freeing.
So what is the solution? Ah, it is the difference between living in the bondage of the law, or the liberty of grace. Those who live under the law, are bound by guilt, while those who live in grace, are free to repent. That is what grace does. It leads us to repentance, while guilt leads us to regret. The grace life, is that life, that recognizes that His mercy endures, even when we fail. It is a life that wakes up every morning, and, not only smells the coffee, but also the fresh mercy that God has prepared for you. Christians who live under the law, speak of growing in faith. Christians living under grace speak of growing in grace, which leads to more confidence in God, which is what faith really is.
So, how does one live the grace life? It’s not that difficult. Stop thinking that the finished work of Christ is up to you, and start realizing that it is happening in you, by His transforming power. He began the work in you, and He most certainly will finish it. Live the, “It Is Finished” life, rather than the “I am finished” one. When you do, the power of conviction will appear, with the key, which unlocks the chains of guilt and will lead you to repentance. (DH)