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Stop Blaming the Holy Spirit for Your Conviction

Looking at John 16 again, I see He does bring conviction; just not for me. The Holy Spirit convicts (or declares guilty) the world. Why? Because of unbelief.

OK, I’m a believer. So why do I still feel guilty?

One of the heaviest and most complex chapters of the Bible is James 2. My whole life I’ve wrestled with this chapter. Even as I feel I’m getting more of a grasp on it, I know I will continue to get more revelation as the years pass.

James is dealing with a couple of issues, but this stands out to me in verses 8-10:

“If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.”

So what’s happening here is believers are switching back into striving mode. Any time we try to keep any part of the law for the sake of the law, we are responsible for keeping ALL of it.

The minute we fall short, the law convicts us as transgressors. In other words, the law is the source of our guilt.

Paul makes such a big deal about us not being under the law through his writing because as soon as we try to live by it, we die by it. The good news is it has already been fulfilled through Jesus and since we are in Jesus, we don’t have to try to do what He already accomplished.

One of the most quoted verses in the Bible is Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Another word for condemnation is punishment. Think about that. If there is no condemnation, the Holy Spirit isn’t declaring us guilty (convicting) of anything.

Now look at what the Holy Spirit really does in the next verse:

“For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.”

The Holy Spirit brings freedom to those in Christ, not conviction. When you are free from sin and you continue to sin, it’s going to feel weird. Like putting on an old pair of shoes you grew out of. Maybe what you feel isn’t guilt but a realization your actions don’t match your identity.

When we change our mind about who we are, we’ll change our mind about what we do. When we change our mind about who the Holy Spirit is to us, we’ll change our mind about what He does through us.

What have you believed about the conviction of the Holy Spirit?