I have been thinking a lot about conviction and condemnation over the last few days. I have had some people question if I am walking in condemnation, and I want to take a serious look at that because if I am it is one more sin in my life that I want to turn away from.
First, we have to understand the difference between these two terms, and that in itself shows part of the struggle as these terms are similar and overlap in some ways.
|Condemnation = act of declaring one guilty, then being sentenced to punishmentConviction = Act of proving, finding or determining the guilt of an offense… the state of being found guilty|
Part of our struggle in understanding the difference between these terms is our thoughts about Jesus and how we view God and his character. God is ultimately loving, and he wants us to remove sin from our life to be clean, pure, righteous and holy. He lovingly wants to point out sin in our life to show us the problem of sin, but his true purpose is to show us the solution that comes through the sacrifice made by his son. Satan leaves us only seeing the problem. If all you see and hear is “your past”, “you failed”, “there is no hope”, or “it won’t change” then that doesn’t match the heart and message of God’s word. He promises that if we believe in him and come to him fully that we will be forgiven, cleansed, and set free from our past.
We need to understand the source of what we are feeling and to know that condemnation comes from Satan and conviction comes from God. If we have felt conviction, genuinely feel contrition (sincere penitence or remorse) over our sin, and move forward with repentance then God’s word says he will forgive us. We may feel Godly sorrow over how we hurt God, but if we continue to feel guilt, shame, dread, and sorrow about our actions or being caught then we are walking in condemnation.
Condemnation comes from the enemy, leading me to avoid God, leaving my sins un-confessed , and getting me to justify my misconduct with ‘bible-text’, appease my guilty conscience with all sorts of valid reasons why I made that mistake. Condemnation turns me against myself, away from God.
Conviction comes from His Holy Spirit, leading me to Him, encouraging me to confess my sin, and once again realise my Identity as a believer in Christ. There’s no self-justification, just a “Sorry, God. I shouldn’t have.” Conviction turns me away from myself, towards God. http://www.christianblog.com/blog/christisking/condemnation-vs-conviction/
* Conviction continues until the time of confession (as in Psalm 32:3-5 or Proverbs 28:13); condemnation continues afterward(as the accusation of repentant sinners by Satan, the self-righteous, etc.; Luke 7:39; Job 1:9; Zech 3:1; Rev 12:10b; of course, all of these last 4 passages speak of the accusation of believers before God, but I’d say they at least describe his common M.O.).
* Conviction pushes the sinning believer toward Christ in dependence on the finished work of Christ; condemnation pushes the sinning believer away from Christ in unwarranted shame. (1 John 2:1-2)
* Conviction makes much of the sacrifice of Christ that removes sin; condemnation makes much of sin. (2 Cor 7:10) http://mytwocents.wordpress.com/2008/07/08/chime-in-conviction-vs-condemnation/