“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1 KJV)
I would venture to say that nearly every Christian has allowed themselves to feel condemned at some point in their spiritual walk. I know that when I have failed miserably, I have a tendency to be insanely hard on myself. In my mind, I would rationalize that the only way for me to be truly forgiven of my sin was to punish myself relentlessly, then God would see that I was truly sorry for my transgression and accept my request for forgiveness.
It wasn’t until quite recently that I realized just how wrong I was in my twisted thought process. I am currently reading “What Happens When Women Say Yes to God” by Lysa TerKeurst and it has been wrecking my world, but in a good way! In her chapter that covers the obstacles that keep us from saying yes to God, she talks about the ever-so-subtle battle between the voices in her head that bring conviction and condemnation. Her logic is simple: the voice of condemnation comes from Satan because the Bible tells us flat out that Jesus doesn’t condemn but convict.
Condemnation leaves us feeling hopeless and worthless. Conviction invites us to make positive changes in our lives. -Lysa TerKeurst
The definition of condemnation is a punishment or sentencing and that is precisely what you are doing when you condemn yourself or others. The trouble with that is the Word makes it clear that we are not the judge or the jury, but “God alone, who gave the law, is the Judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbor?” (James 4:12) We have no authority to dole out punishment, not even to ourselves.
Conviction, however, is the work of the Holy Spirit. It is that nudge you feel in your heart when you think of sinning or comes once you’ve already slipped. Conviction is what reveals the sin in our life and causes us to repent and seek forgiveness. Without it, how would know what is separating us from God and therefor preventing us from receiving all that He has for us? Conviction is a gentle correction, comparable to that which a loving parent gives their child when they misstep. It is meant to better us, shape us and mold us into the absolute best version of ourselves we can possibly be.
It is time that we lift the sentencing we’ve placed on our lives over past mistakes that we’ve repented of. Let us embrace the love and forgiveness that conviction brings so that we can move beyond our failures and live as the conquerors that Jesus says we are.