Romans 7:14-20 says
“We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do–this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does.”
This verse was the very first verse that I felt was speaking directly to me. The way Paul describes the sin issue in his life was exactly how I felt. I simply couldn’t do it, I couldn’t live up to all that God wanted from me.
I felt like such a failure because no matter how hard I tried, I simply couldn’t do it. I couldn’t stop sinning and I felt guilty, like I was spitting in God’s face every time I did. Then I was introduced to the concept of grace. At first I viewed it as a get out of jail free card. I remember thinking, “This is awesome, your telling me no matter what sin I commit, I am still guaranteed to go to heaven!? Sign me up!!!”
Then as the days rolled by the sense of complete freedom began to dim and was replaced by a nagging sense of guilt, and I just couldn’t understand why. I believed that God had forgiven me for my mistakes, I knew I was off the hook. But no matter how many times I reminded myself of that truth,the guilt and frustration continued to build.
Then one day one of my brothers in Christ sat me down and pulled out his bible. He flipped to Romans 6 and began reading in a tone like he was just talking to me.
“What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with Him through
baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father,
we too may live a new life.” -Rm 6:1-4
It was like my eyes were opened. I kid you not I’m getting goose bumps as I write this because I remember it so vividly. That was the moment I got it. I don’t feel bad because I am letting God down. I simply don’t have the ability anymore to be Ok with my sin.
Before I knew Christ I was 100 percent in the flesh. I didn’t know any other way than the way of the world. But once I received the Holy Spirit, all of a sudden I’m feeling bad for behaviors and thoughts that never used to phase me.
Since the Spirit revealed that truth to me, when I sin, I don’t feel bad because I failed God again, I thank Him that I am actually able to see what I am doing is not what He wants for me. I rejoice in the fact that He is not mad. That He already knew I was going to do it, and then I thank Him for loving me so much that I have no doubt I am 100 percent forgiven and redemmed.
The conviction is meant to draw us closer to Him by making us hate when we sin. It is not meant to beat us down and make us feel like crap.
We must recognize the purpose of God’s conviction. It is not meant to punish us or make us hurt. He convicts us because He loves us so much He wants to protect us from harm, from sin. And if we are feeling the weight of our mistake pushing us down, pushing us away from God in shame then the devil is twisting God’s purpose for his own agenda; to kill, steal and destroy.
This is the freedom that we are blessed with by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and the amazing love of God, enjoy it and be free.
Written by: Justin Ludwig