On the evening before His crucifixion, Jesus told the disciples of the coming of the Holy Spirit. He told them that one of the Spirit’s ministries would be to “reprove the world of sin” (John 16:8). It is possible to feel remorse for one’s sins, in a limited sense, without the prompting of the Holy Spirit. But no one ever experiences genuine conviction for sin, which leads to repentance and faith, apart from the ministry of the Holy Spirit. We cannot even recognize our need to confess sin without the working of the Holy Spirit in our hearts.
Paul W. Downey, More Than Spectators, (Greenville: Ambassador Emerald Intnl., 2002), 54.