The Bible teaches believers of Jesus Christ that they are the righteousness of God, covered in the Son's blood, fully forgiven as far as the east is from the west of all their past, present, and future sins at the moment of surrender. That's gospel (the good news)! Because of these facts, we as believers should be walking around full of joy, peace, and love. However all too often, we beat ourselves up or allow the devil to beat us up as we remember the distant past or even our latest failure or sin. We walk around like we are guilty and depressed rather than forgiven and grateful. WHAT IS THE HOLY SPIRIT'S ROLE IN ALL OF THIS?
Over a month ago, I was sitting at my computer in NC on facebook. I accidentally scrolled across a quote from my cousin's husband (he is a Pastor of the only Acts 29 church in Tyler, TX). In the quote, he said the bible teaches that the role of the Holy Spirit is to CONVICT the unbeliever of sin, but that in a believer's life, the role of the Holy Spirit is to CONVINCE the believer when they have sinned. His quote made me take a step back in my mind because two opposing ideas were in conflict with one another: 1. What he said went against everything I had been told my entire life in church, home, etc. 2. I have read the entire Bible and I could not see where he was wrong in saying this.
The Bible does teach that the Holy Spirit has come to convict the world of righteousness, sin, and the judgment to come. So at this very moment of time, the world does stand convicted. Jesus said it best. He said I have not come to condemn the world but to save it. But he went a little further. He said whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe in him is condemned already. So this judgment is not a future judgment where God weighs your good deed versus your bad deeds. This judgment is now and you either stand forgiven or guilty now based on your belief in Christ.
For the believer, the Bible teaches we are no longer under any condemnation but have freedom in Christ! How can the Holy Spirit convict us when we already stand guiltless in front of the Throne? How can the Holy Spirit convict us when we have already been washed in the blood? The Holy Spirit's job is not to convict us or to make us feel guilty but rather to bring about godly sorrow in us for the sins we commit after salvation by convincing us we have sinned. The Holy Spirit can use other believers in our life to sharpen us into looking and acting more like Christ on earth (sanctification). The believer is a new creation and his desire is to glorify God on earth. Believers working alongside The Holy Spirit makes all of this possible!