Conviction vs Condemnation

Condemnation– Act of pronouncing to be wrong or disapproved of. Act of declaring guilty.

Conviction– Strong persuasion or belief

Both condemnation and conviction can cause people to grieve over their sins; therefore, it is sometimes difficult to tell the difference between the two. However, condemnation and conviction differ radically in their origin, in the power to help overcome sin, and as to whether we are equipped to live our lives in genuine freedom and joy.

Have you ever experienced a vague sense that something is wrong with you, but you can’t pinpoint exactly what it might be? In fact, you might have no idea about how to deal with such condemning grief or how to change.Personal sinfulness can seem heavy and burdensome without solution—perhaps to the extent that one experiences hopeless shame, and in despair begins to believe that change isn’t possible or that they will ever be able to merit God’s concern. For believers in Christ Jesus, this kind of condemnation is always a lie (Romans 8:1).

The fact is, Satan is unable to steal our salvation, so he will use condemnation in order to steal our joy (our strength-Nehemiah 8:10), which could leave us feeling weak and hopeless—full of shame. We might (out of fleshly pride) try to hide our failures and weaknesses from others, or attempt to please God through good works to alleviate our guilty consciences. But, the only place we should hide is in Christ Jesus, our refuge and strength—in Whom we can receive the Lord’s promises, when we receive them in faith. Shame/condemnation pronounces us guilty and deficient; but, like Paul, we can discover that God’s grace is sufficient and powerful for all of our weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12: 9-10).

The Holy Spirit is the source of genuine conviction—He causes us to be strongly persuaded in truth. We will examine the power of conviction in the next post.