There is a difference between wanting to escape the consequences of our sin and truly feeling the weight of that sin. This difference is often illustrated in being sorry for getting caught doing something, not being sorry for doing the thing itself. What our flesh wants, maximally, is to be rid of guilt, not sin. But gospel wakened people want to be free of sin itself, not just the guilt of it.
The difference between gospel wakefulness and first conversion comes into play here, because many of us express saving faith in Christ for reasons of fire insurance. We don’t want to go to hell when we die. (That alone is a very good reason to trust in Christ, by the way!) But despair not just of hell, but of the sin in us, is evidence of gospel wakefulness. Gospel wakened people want to avoid punishment, sure, but moreso they despair of the reason for punishment. And until we despair of the sin in us, we will not truly rejoice over Christ in us. “Christ is never sweet,” Thomas Watson tells us, “till sin is felt to be bitter.” That is a profitable brokenness.
Previous excerpts from the manuscript I've tentatively titled Gospel Wakefulness:
Good Gospel Engagement
Blaspheme Your Idols