I have already written very briefly about this, but I think that this is such an important topic that it deserves further importance.
It all began when one of my friends told me that he was struggling a bit with his spiritual life. He was struggling with sin in his life and he was going through a rough time. He felt that he could not pray because he felt unholy and distant from God. I immediately pointed him to the Gospel. It’s not like our “Holiness” earns our right with God. We never had any right to His presence in the first place. Like Jerry Bridges says, we no more need God’s grace in our worst days than we need it in our best days. So it’s by the person and work of Jesus Christ that we can come to the father. When we are struggling with sin, we need God more, he’s the healer. We do not tell the doctor “Sorry I am ill. I will come and see you when I am well”. Jesus says that he did not come for the righteous, but for the sinners (Luke 5:32).
So what was he feeling?
How is it different from conviction?
The bible is clear that “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). Condemnation is from the devil, he’s the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:10). Condemnation leads you to falsely believe that the wrath of God still rests on you. If you’re in Christ Jesus, its gone. It’s no more. Jesus paid for it on the cross. Condemnation leads to despair. It keeps us from going to the One who can save us, thus leading to a never-ending cycle of sin and condemnation.
The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin (John 16:8). He reminds us of God’s moral law when we walk contrary to it. He’s our spiritual Guide (John 16:13). Conviction leads to Godly sorrow and repentance (2 Corinthians 7:10). It does not lead us away from God, but rather pushes us towards Him. Conviction reminds us of our lack of holiness while leading us to the source of our holiness, Christ (1 Corinthians 1:30).
The battle lines are drawn. There is no middle ground. Let us press on with our eyes fixed on Jesus the Author and Perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). Let us press on, fighting every besetting sin that clings so tightly (Hebrews 12:1). When Satan throws your sins at your face, when you feel like you can’t approach God, remember that Jesus paid the price for your sins, He has made you as white as snow (Isaiah 1:18). Run to Him, you will find peace and forgiveness in Him.