Romans 5:5 "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 11 ... we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.18 ... by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. 19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous."(Please study these passages. For today's commentary what leads up to justification is discussed.)
The short definition of grace is "the unmerited favor of God toward man". Because we're sinners, all men deserve death because we all miss the mark. The standard of love is the Ten Commandments. Most people have broken all ten points of the Law, either in deed or thought. However, even for those who claim to have broken only one, they have broken them all!
How so? For instance if one person lies against another. That lie is a display of hate. God equates hate with murder (1 John 3:15). This same verse gives the justice haters deserve... death!
When a person comes to the realization that he is guilty, that is conviction by the Holy Spirit. The chain of events starts with sin in response to temptation. Sin is when a law is broken. When one breaks the law he is guilty. Up to that time, the individual is responsible for his own behaviors or thoughts. Satan never made any sinners sin... EVER!
Each sin is a personal choice to either pleasure, empower, or provide wealth to the person who sins. Satan is not even there! He has no power to be everywhere, but he did plant desire in the heart of Adam and Eve. We all inherited desire, and as such the locus of our desires are to satisfy the flesh. We become god in our own eyes and the flesh is our idol.
When one recognizes that he disappointed his Father, this is called "conviction". The crime is committed and God has caught you in the act for he is omnipresent, unlike Satan. His Holy Spirit convicts the sinner. So far their has been sin > guilty of the sin > conviction.
With conviction there are two choices: 1) Feel "guilt" or 2) be apathetic.
Conviction can come before the person even sins. The Holy Spirit will say "What you are bout to do is wrong... of what you did is wrong." Most of the time it is my belief that people willingly sin after being forewarned of God! That's why Adam's original sin was called rebellion.
Of course some sins are passive and some even accidental. The most grievous are those done willingly and with forethought, just as in a court of law.
Apathy is when the sinner feels no remorse for sin or even proceeds to sin without feeling conviction.. He cares not that he has offended God. Why? Because it's his god of self who is worshiped, and as such, God isn't part of the picture. A person who never feels guilt is reprobate. In psychological terms the extreme case of one who never feels the emotion of guilt is psychopathy!
"Guilty" is a verdict. It's the time the sin occurs. It is the status of the person who commits the crime. The standards of measurement are two: failure to love God or failure to show love to God by not loving others. For example, if a lie is told to or about another, it's an act which lacks love. By lying hate is displayed. "Hate" is not "meanness", but actually "a lack of love".
"Guilt" is an emotion. It's the set of thoughts and feelings which arise when a person is caught! The "detective" when any person sins, is God. He is always there and is omniscient (all-knowing). Nothing is done in secret because God detects it!
We have all felt guilt. It's hard to explain, but in a spiritual sense it's the remorse people feel when they are disappointed in their own thoughts or behaviors. In effect it's when the law-breaker accepts responsibility for breaking the law. There are both cognitive and physical reactions in the emotion of guilt. Guilt is the realization that one is guilty and feels badly about it, or fears getting caught.
Conviction is when the sinner is caught, even thought they most often are caught in the act! A person may feel guilt before, soon or delayed, but conviction is the point in time, when the sinner becomes aware that he or she is about to do or did wrong for the deed or thought. Guilt and conviction flow from God's Holy Spirit. His role in the Trinity is to Comfort. Before he comforts, the unpleasant task is to discomfort. That's where guilt comes in!
Just like the addict who seeks relief, the sinner must realize that he is indeed a sinner before being forgiven. Guilt is the emotion which brings one to sorrow. Of course when guilt ensues, most people just live with the guilt until memories erase it. That's what Satan wills! After the guilt goes away, then it's easy to sin again, because the decay of guilt is Satan's gift through humankind's genetic makeup.
For those in the word, guilt becomes the emotion which drives sinners to repentance. Guilt presses upon the emotions of the sinner to the extent that sorrow ensues. It must be true sorrow to get relief. The reprobate person takes satisfaction in sinning. In effect they have no conscience since guilt comes from that faculty.
Conscience is part of human makeup and it was put there by God. It is the mediator between the flesh and the soul. Emotions come from the conscience. The Holy Spirit uses the conscience to influence the mind, then the mind processes the information and issues emotions of apathy or guilt. Of course apathy is the lack of guilt so in effect, it's to feel guilt or not to feel guilt.
Psychology teaches that guilt must be allayed by sinning without remorse and that sin is just religion repressing pleasurable behaviors. Their solution is to sin and to not feel the emotion of guilt because the person, in their eyes with their values, are not guilty of anything! In effect psychologists counsel apathy to the disobedient. This is Satan's mindset. Apathy is of Satan and guilt is of the Holy Spirit!
Up to now there is sin > guilty > conviction > guilt > sorrow. Next comes repentance. It comes about because of sorrow. It can't be forced. It's a change of heart. It's when a sinner's desire changes from doing what's wrong to wanting to do what's right. Of course the standard is to do God's will and for the convenience of mankind, God wrote them down on stone. The purpose of the Ten Commandments are so humans are without excuse. These commands brings a person to repentance. They demonstrate to mankind our own lack of love!
Conviction, guilt, sorrow and repentance come about because of God's grace. God could just condemn without a chance of a pardon, but he's a sympathetic and empathetic judge because he faced the same temptations from Satan as you have from his helpers. He KNOWS how difficult it is to turn away from pleasure, power and wealth because he did that himself!
However, grace is fully consummated when God forgives the sinner. Why? Because he loves us so!
He pardons the contrite sinner who deserves eternal incarceration in hell. Jesus' propitiation of his own blood and his own living sacrifice paid the price for all mankind's sins EVER committed or would be committed. He died once for them all and that grace was sufficient. That's God's love for his creation! That's his ultimate grace!!
Next we will continue on with "justification".