Before I was a born again believer I used to differentiate between right and wrong/evil, same as other non-believers are doing today, and even abstain from certain wrong doings because of such convictions. I believe that I was not convicted by the Holy Spirit because I wasn’t yet a believer. Now that I’m Born Again I believe its the Holy Spirit that convicts me of wrongs/evil doings and guides me out of them. What was convicting me before I had the Holy Spirit?
Romans 2:13-15 says,
For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.)
Everyone intuitively knows the requirements of God’s Law, and can distinguish right from wrong. This is what irks me when people say if we’re really saved by grace through faith alone and if once saved always saved is true then Christians would be running around sinning to our heart’s content because we know we have a guaranteed place in heaven.
Aside from the fact that we have the Holy Spirit to guide us, and that we try to live in a manner pleasing to God out of gratitude for saving us, Paul showed here that all humans know right from wrong by nature since the requirements of the law are written on our hearts.
If non-believers are for the most part reasonably well behaved, how much more so will believers who have the Holy Spirit sealed within us be? The argument that only the fear of losing our salvation can keep us in line simply does not hold water.