I found this article on conviction from www.gotquestions.org.
Question: "What is the conviction of sin?"
Answer: The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin (John 16:8). To help us understand what the conviction of sin is, we can look at what it is not. First, it is not simply a guilty conscience or even shame over sin. Such feelings are naturally experienced by almost everyone. But this is not true conviction of sin.
Second, conviction of sin is not a sense of trepidation or a foreboding of divine punishment. These feelings, too, are commonly experienced in the hearts and minds of sinners. But, again, true conviction of sin is something different.
Third, conviction of sin is not merely knowledge of right and wrong; it is not an assent to Scripture’s teaching about sin. Many people read the Bible and are fully aware that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). They may know that “no immoral, impure or greedy person . . . has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God” (Ephesians 5:5). They may even agree that “the wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God” (Psalm 9:17). Yet, for all their knowledge, they continue to live in sin. They understand the consequences, but they’re far from being convicted of their sins.
The truth is, if we experience nothing more than a pang of conscience, anxiety at the thought of judgment, or an academic awareness of hell, then we have never truly known the conviction of sin. So, what is real conviction, the kind the Bible speaks of?
The word convict is a translation of the Greek word elencho, which means “to convince someone of the truth; to reprove; to accuse, refute, or cross-examine a witness.” The Holy Spirit acts as a prosecuting attorney who exposes evil, reproves evildoers, and convinces people that they need a Savior.
To be convicted is to feel the sheer loathsomeness of sin. This happens when we’ve seen God’s beauty, His purity and holiness, and when we recognize that sin cannot dwell with Him (Psalm 5:4). When Isaiah stood in the presence of God, he was immediately overwhelmed by his own sinfulness: “Woe to me! . . . I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips . . . and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty” (Isaiah 6:5).
To be convicted is to experience an utter dreadfulness of sin. Our attitude toward sin becomes that of Joseph who fled temptation, crying out, “How could I do this great evil and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9).
We are convicted when we become mindful of how much our sin dishonors God. When David was convicted by the Holy Spirit, he cried out, “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight” (Psalm 51:4). David saw his sin primarily as an affront to a holy God.
We are convicted when we become intensely aware of the wrath it exposes to our souls (Romans 1:18; Romans 2:5). When the Philippian jailer fell at the apostles’ feet and cried, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” he was under conviction (Acts 16:30). He was certain that, without a Savior, he would die.
When the Holy Spirit convicts people of their sin, He represents the righteous judgment of God (Hebrews 4:12). There is no appeal of this verdict. The Holy Spirit not only convicts people of sin, but He also brings them to repentance (Acts 17:30; Luke 13:5). The Holy Spirit brings to light our relationship to God. The convicting power of the Holy Spirit opens our eyes to our sin and opens our hearts to receive His grace (Ephesians 2:8).
We praise the Lord for the conviction of sin. Without it, there could be no salvation. No one is saved apart from the Spirit’s convicting and regenerating work in the heart. The Bible teaches that all people are by nature rebels against God and hostile to Jesus Christ. They are “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). Jesus said, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him” (John 6:44). Part of that “draw” to Jesus is the conviction of sin.
and another article on what it means to be converted:
Question: "What is a faith conversion? What does it mean to be converted?"
Answer: To convert is to change from one character, type, or purpose to another. Our bodies convert food into energy. We can convert inches to centimeters, pounds to kilograms, and dollars to euros. Our hearts can undergo similar conversions. We can change direction morally, psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually. We are what we think (Proverbs 23:7). In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word translated “converted” means “to turn back or return.” It is also translated "restore," as in Psalm 23:3, "He restores my soul." The picture the Bible paints of the word convert is to return to what we were initially created to be.
Since the fall of mankind, every human has been born with a sin nature. Our natural tendency is to please ourselves rather than God. Our human attempts to be good fall far short of the perfection of God (Romans 3:10, 23; Isaiah 53:6). We cannot please God through our own efforts and are destined for eternal separation from Him (Romans 6:23, 8:8; John 3:16-18); we cannot convert ourselves. That's why Jesus came to earth, died in our place, and rose again to conquer death and sin (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). He took the punishment our sin deserves. He offers to trade His perfection for our imperfection so that we can be seen as righteous before God (2 Corinthians 5:21).
When we admit our helplessness apart from Christ, we are ready to embrace Him as Savior and Lord (Acts 3:19; Romans 10:9). Conversion happens when we trade our old sin nature for the new nature Christ provides. When we come to Him humbly, confess our sin, turn away from it, and seek His ways, our entire perspective changes. The Holy Spirit moves into our spirits and transforms our entire way of life (Acts 2:38; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20). We are converted—restored to the relationship God intended us to have with Him. Second Corinthians 5:17 says, "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." This is more than a human attempt to "clean up your act." It is a wholesale change of direction. You were going east; now you are going west. Conversion changes the human heart from sinful to righteous, from hell-bound to heaven-bound.
The Bible has many examples of people who were converted by the grace of God. The Christian-hating Saul became Paul, who devoted the rest of his life to serving the church he once tried to destroy (1 Corinthians 15:9; Ephesians 3:7-8). The impetuous and condemning John was transformed into the “apostle of love” (see 1 John 4:7-21). The demoniac of Gerasene, after meeting Jesus, was “dressed and in his right mind” and begging to follow Jesus (Mark 5:15-18). The Holy Spirit has lost none of His power. Modern conversion stories include the amazing transformations of John Newton, Mel Trotter, David Berkowitz, and Chuck Colson.
This is all accomplished through faith. Faith is placing your whole life into the hands of Someone your spirit recognizes but your physical senses cannot confirm (Hebrews 11:1). Hebrews 11:6 says that "without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." We are saved from our old sin nature and the penalty of that sin through faith in Jesus Christ. But even that faith is a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8-9). God gives us the faith to believe in Him, but we must receive it and act on it. Exercising that gift of faith results in conversion.
Conversion begins in the heart and radiates outward to affect everything we think, say, or do (James 2:26). Merely stating that conversion has occurred does not make it so. Real conversion is obvious as a person switches direction, changes allegiance and moves from self-worship to God-worship. As the heart is transformed, the actions follow until the entire life has been converted from sin-filled to God-honoring (Romans 6:6-7).
Hi Albin, I've bolded your comments to keep my responses clearly separated:
"It sounds like you already believe the gospel, so now you’re left with repentance"
But how can one Truly Believe, have a saving Faith without genuine Repentance?
For me Faith and Repentance happened simutaneously. I didn't even know repentance was required for salvation, I wasn't reading a bible at that time. It was a natural response that once I saw who Jesus is I responded and I haven't looked back since. Romans 10:20
John 2:23-24 "Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did.
But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men"
In your testimony also you mentioned that you gave your life to God but we're saved years after.
I gave my life to the Lord later in life. I wasn’t saved in my teens. I didn’t understand the gospel or the need for repentance until much later in life. As a teenager I got caught up in an emotional response… it wasn’t a saving faith until years later.
I also said one day that I give my life to God, but now I realise that I never truly submitted to Him. I didn't knew anything about genuine repentance and Saving Faith.
I was actually taking some feelings as conviction.
That’s the same thing I experienced as a teenager, but when I turned away a week later I didn't even care or give it a second thought. I eventually went so far as becoming an atheist until I was eventually softened all those years later.
It is to realise the need for a saviour. I heard in a sermon that "you're not a person with problems in need of a solution, but a sinner in need of a Saviour".
"We are convicted when we become mindful of how much our sin dishonors God"
Yes, once we realise we're sinners in need of a Saviour, we respond.
I heard from a preacher that: heaven is not like an amusement park, where the children after entering, just go run in all directions to explore and have fun in different rides and things. It’s not like we will go to heaven, meet God and talk to Him and enjoy Him for sometime, and then go our way like “Hey, come let’s explore heaven and enjoy”. God is the pleasure in heaven.
Believers experience that even now here on earth. We have the Joy and Peace of Fellowship with Jesus now. Although there is a fullness in heaven that we don’t have yet, It’s not for only some far off time or place… it’s presently happening. (1 Cor 13:12). In heaven there will be work for us to do... we certainly won't be sitting on a fluffy cloud eating cream cheese. ;-)
Here it says in the article that
" The Holy Spirit not only convicts people of sin, but He also brings them to repentance (Acts 17:30; Luke 13:5)"
But in both the verses, God commands us to Repent. How is it then that the Holy Spirit brings us to Repentance when we are to Repent?
It’s a partnership. The Holy Spirit brings people to repentance, and people have the free choice to harden their hearts against Him and refuse or to repent and believe. Psalm 95:8 and Hebrews 13:5.
It’s also possible to grieve the Holy Spirit but that’s another topic.
This devotion came in my email today and I thought of you:
There is always a sharp painful disillusionment to go through before we do relinquish. When a man really sees himself as the Lord sees him, it is not the abominable sins of the flesh that shock him, but the awful nature of the pride of his own heart against Jesus Christ.
That's right. There is surely a lot of Pride and my heart goes seeking after sin. No matter what, every time I try to humble myself and submit to God, I get back to my Proud, rebellious state.