What is the difference between conviction and condemnation?
Conviction is a positive thing. God uses it to prod us when we’re tempted and fall into sin. It’s like Jiminy Cricket sitting on Pinocchio’s shoulder, whispering, “Don’t do that! Turn away.”
In a Christian’s life, the whisperer is the Holy Spirit. He pierces our hearts unto salvation with discipline wrapped in love and moves us from disobedience back to the cross. Through the blood of the Lamb, grace awaits to cover and cleanse us from our sins.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” ~ 1 John 1:9 NASB.
Receiving God’s forgiveness is an uplifting, positive experience that provides freedom from guilt and shame. It’s like a caged bird flying through an open door, soaring through blue skies to rejoice in infinite freedom.
Forgiveness. There’s truly nothing like it.
Condemnation, however, is a horse of a different color, as the saying goes. Society uses the term many ways, such as a courtroom where a criminal faces imprisonment or death for a crime, according to the law.
Condemnation is depression at its blackest. The absence of hope. Termination. Utter despair. Guilt and shame.
Who condemns us? God?
“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” ~ John 3:17.
Remember the bible story of the woman caught in adultery? According to their laws, she was condemned, caught in the very act. Before stoning her, the men asked Jesus his opinion—only for the purpose of bringing accusation against Him. But Jesus replied:
“‘He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her’” ~ John 8:7.
As the men left, one by one, only Jesus remained.
“Straightening up, Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?’ She said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said, ‘I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more’” ~ John 8:10-11.
If not God, then who condemn us?
Think back to the bible story of Job. Satan was permitted by God to test His righteous servant to prove his loyalty to God. Satan accused Job:
“But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to your face” ~ Job 1:11.
What about Adam and Eve in the garden? And Jesus during His forty-day fast in the wilderness? You know the answer.
Satan, the author of sin and death, condemns.
After all, sin is separation from God, and separation from God is death. Spiritual death now, while we are physically alive. But after we die, physical and spiritual death for eternity. The only chance we have to escape eternal damnation is to confess our sins while we’re alive. After we die, it’s too late. Truly, we sentence ourselves because God gave us the power to choose our eternal destination through our free will.
Will you be condemned and sentenced to hell?
Or will you be convicted, saved, and go to heaven?
If the Holy Spirit is convicting you, here is an example of a prayer you can pray:
Dear Lord, I confess I’m a sinner. I’m sorry from my sins and repent at the cross. Wash away the stains with your precious blood and make me righteous through Jesus Christ. Thank you for forgiving me and writing my name in the Lamb’s Book of Life. In Jesus’s name, Amen.