Conviction vs. Condemnation
Two nights ago I briefly listened to an online church service. I logged off after hearing a young preacher say, “You’re not going to come here [to his church] and feel condemned…or convicted.” I believe he meant well since he talked about mistakes the church made generations before him. Unfortunately, many ministers who emphasize grace disregard the Bible’s warnings on not obeying God’s commandments.
Certainly God doesn’t want us feeling condemned. One dictionary defines condemn as “officially declare (something, especially a building) to be unfit for use.” That same dictionary defines condemnation as “the action of condemning someone to a punishment; sentencing.” Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus…” As long as we stay in communion with the Lord, we shouldn’t fear condemnation. There is always hope for redemption.
On the other hand, Jesus told a woman caught in adultery, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” (John 8:11) Grace was extended to this woman but she was also commanded not to commit adultery again. Like any good earthly parent, our Heavenly Father loves us unconditionally but won’t allow continued disobedience to His commandments. Ephesians 5:6 in the New Living Translation says, “Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him.”
Jesus said in John 16:8 regarding the Holy Spirit, “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” The Holy Spirit brings conviction upon sinners so that hopefully they become born again. For the believer, our own heart convicts us when we mess up (1 John 3:20 AMP). That kind of conviction should be welcomed if we’re missing it somewhere so we can repent. That’s one way we grow in our relationship with Him and become more Christlike.
“holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.” - Titus 1:9