When He arrives, He will uncover the sins of the world, expose unbelief as sin, and allow all to see their sins in the light of righteousness for the first time. (Jn 16:8 VOICE)
And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: (NKJV)
We wear our feelings on our sleeve and dare anyone to bump up against us. Instead of bandaging our wounded pride, we draw a target around it and wait for the first person to draw aim. Everything goes. Anything anyone wants to be, do, think, or anyway they want to behave is acceptable. We are, after all, “born this way.”
When did sin stop being sin? When did the “works of the flesh,” adultery, fornication, uncleanness, and etcetera become passé? (Gal 5:19-21) The Bible says the Word of God stands forever, but clearly, in the eyes of many, the things spoken in the Word are outdated. (Is 40:8) We avoid the subject of hell, not wanting to offend anyone. But the Truth is “no man” will see Father God without first accepting Jesus as Lord. He is the ONLY way to heaven and part of that process is repentance. (Jn 14:6)
So produce fruit that is consistent with repentance [demonstrating new behavior that proves a change of heart, and a conscious decision to turn away from sin] (Mt 3:8 AMP).
Repentance implies our conviction of wrong-doing. The Greek word means “compunction (for guilt).” (G3341, Strong’s) People have a ready list of excuses for their misbehavior, but to show repentance, we will, first, feel guilty. We will be ashamed.
Both inside the church, as Christians, who are following Christ AND people outside the church, the unsaved must come to the point where they see sin as sin and feel the weight of that sin. Yes, God loves everyone, and Jesus died for “whosoever.” (Jn 3:16) Yes, we are told to “love our neighbor as ourselves.” (Gal 5:14) That thought, in itself, is profound and speaks of having humility.
But shame for wrongdoing serves a purpose.
Deuteronomy 30:19 says, “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life.” The fact there is a choice to make says one of those choices is wrong, and wrong choices lead to wrong destinations, outside of the will of God. Additionally, Romans 8:1 tell us there is no condemnation to those who walk in Christ. That means, there IS condemnation outside of Christ. However, you can walk outside of Christ’s instruction while going to church, while reading your Bible.
The apostle Paul said, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” (2Ti 4:7) He was also the first to admit he was the chief of sinners. (1Ti 1:15) How can he say both things? Because no matter who we are, how we’ve lived, or what we’ve done, true repentance leads to life and peace. (Rm 8:6) And once it is received, we never have to look back at the past again. We find freedom. (Rm 8:2)
But we cannot dismiss the power of conviction, of shame and guilt, in putting us in a position to receive that life.
The target we carry, our need to be defensive of our sin, our being so easily offended when anyone steps on our toes will prevent us from having God’s best, and without acceptance of Jesus’ death and Resurrection, it will send us to hell.
He’s provided the way out. He’s provided love and safety and blessings. It’s up to us to turn away from sin and take hold of it.
Suzanne D. Williams