Devotional - The Difference Between Condemnation And Conviction

Discussion in 'Thoughts for Today' started by anthony wade, Jun 25, 2013.

  1. “Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved. So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. - Matthew 5: 17-19 (NLT)

    The devil does a great job of muddying the doctrinal waters in modern Christianity. What should be easy to understand and foundational has become confusing for many and dismissed by some altogether. Entire swaths of new doctrine have emerged to lead many astray in these end days. Ear tickling doctrines designed to make friends; not converts. It is no wonder that when Paul instructed Timothy to guard only two things closely, one of them was his doctrine. Why is it so important?

    Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. - 1Timothy 4: 16 (NIV)

    It is our perseverance in how we live and what we believe that assures us of our salvation. What do you mean preacher? We cannot claim to be saved and continue to live like hell beloved. There needs to be a regeneration of the heart. There is no two sentence prayer that saves anyone. Only a change does. I said the sinner’s prayer in 1998 but did not give my life to Christ until 2002. This is part of the danger in the theories of modern church growth. When you do not focus on what the person needs to do, there is virtually no chance they will do it. We need to persevere in our life. We also however, need to persevere in our doctrine. This is no small matter! Doctrine forms what we believe. What we believe forms what we do. The reason I write against the “grace alone” doctrines of the Joseph Prince’s of the world is not necessarily found in what he preaches but rather what he avoids preaching.

    The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. - John 1: 14 (NIV)

    If you preach the grace of God and avoid the truth then you have only presented half the Gospel. The grace of God is enormously important for our doctrine! But so is the truth! The truth about regeneration. The truth about repentance. The truth about spiritual warfare. I read a tweet the other day from a Christian bragging that they were “bulletproof” from all the accusations that seek to condemn her. My fear is we are developing a generation of Christians who are truth-proof. Because there is a stark difference between condemnation and conviction. To begin, we need to consider the source.

    Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens, “It has come at last—salvation and power and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down to earth—the one who accuses them before our God day and night. - Revelation 12: 10 (NLT)

    And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment. - John 16: 8 (NLT)

    The source of condemnation is Satan. It is accusatory on nature. It seeks to tear us down. The focus of condemnation is on the accusation not the solution. It resounds in our spirit with defeated talk.

    “You’re such a loser; you’ll never change.”

    “How could God love you! You keep sinning!”

    “And you call yourself a Christian.”

    The focus in condemnation is on you and the sin instead of on Jesus and the solution. Conviction on the other hand is from the Holy Spirit. It too deals with sin but it does so in a way that builds up who we are in Christ. It strengthens our dependence upon Him. Christians sometimes have the impression that God is perpetually angry with them and that is equally unscriptural.

    “If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. - John 12: 47 (NLT)

    So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. - Romans 8: 1 (NLT)

    There is no condemnation in Christ so if you are feeling condemned you can bet where it came from! But while condemnation is not of Christ, conviction certainly is. It is like our spiritual alarm system. It is supposed to go off when we get too close to areas we should not be in. Remember, the wages of sin is death. While this is true for eternal consequences, sin also has a temporal price. The problem when you focus on grace alone for example is that you leave yourself exposed to sin and sin will destroy your temporal life, even if the blood of Jesus covers your eternal debt. For example, if you were to commit adultery tomorrow that sin will be covered by Christ if you are in Him. When we stand before God to be judged, the blood of Jesus will cover that sin. This grace is so important doctrinally because we need to walk in the confidence of who we believe. Too many Christians listen to the accusations of Satan, fall under condemnation, and walk powerless as Christians. But what is at the heart of condemnation and conviction is generally the same thing - sin. While our adultery will be covered eternally, we will still suffer temporal loss. We might lose our marriage and family. We might lose respect in the community and ministry positions. We might lose our home and a portion of our finances. We reap what we sow. But realize that God wants us to avoid sin because He knows it will hurt us in the end. As believers, we have the spirit of God inside of us. The benefit of this is multifaceted but for now we need to remember that conviction is a product of the Spirit and it is there to protect us. In the given example, we should feel convicted when the early flirtation starts. That conviction should warn us to run away from the potential sin like Joseph ran away from Potiphar’s wife. Remember, Jesus said that if we even look at a woman lustfully then we have already committed adultery in our hearts. There is no such thing as harmless flirting. The devil will always ask you to dance beloved but remember that he will insist on leading.

    Condemnation focuses us on our behavior but conviction focuses us on our Savior. Condemnation shows you the problem but conviction shows you the solution. The difference is important today because in the pursuit of being not “condemned” too many Christians are trading in their conviction. In fact, most frank discussion of sin today is greeted with accusations of legalism. Invariably, to avoid looking at our sin, we are quick to misuse the Matthew 7 verses about not judging.

    “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. - Matthew 7: 1-5 (NIV)

    These verses however do not instruct us on judgment as much as they instruct us on hypocrisy. If you note in verse five, we are to help our brother with the speck in his eye. We are to help our brethren with the sins that so easily tear our lives apart. This distinction was never lost on the Apostle Paul:

    It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.” - 1Corinthians 5: 12-13 (NLT)

    This is an important distinction for us to realize. The modern church spends far too much time decrying the sins of the unsaved, to whom the things of God are foolishness, and not enough time on looking within the house of God. Now, this is not to advocate for critical spirits running amok through the Body of Christ. Any discussion of the truth must be approached with love. But how exactly is it love to turn a blind eye to the very things that can ruin our lives? It is not.

    So, it is not condemnation to properly approach our brothers and sisters in love. It is not condemnation to have frank discussions about sin and allow the Holy Spirit to do the convicting work that is necessary to bring us to the other forgotten word in modern Christianity - repentance. Sin requires a response beloved not ignorance. Christians often bemoan the sins of the world but realize that their sin is merely a symptom of their overall problem - which is a separation from God. Our job with them is to preach the life saving Gospel of Jesus Christ, bring them to the foot of the cross, and allow God to save them. Once saved, it is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that will convict them of their sin symptoms.

    Condemnation weighs us down in our sin, while conviction frees us through Christ. It is a false notion however, that the mere discussion of sin is condemnation. It is a subtle ploy by Satan to get us so focused on the grace of God that we are no longer cognizant of sin that can ruin our temporal lives. David did not sin when he saw Bathsheba but the seeds for sin were being sown. In our earlier example of adultery, it is rare that an adulterous affair comes out of nowhere. It is usually a build up of several considerations that should have set off our spiritual alarm through the Holy Spirit. But if we walk around thinking we are “bulletproof” that is when we are most vulnerable. Because while the grace of God guarantees our future it is the truth of God that should navigate our present.

    Which brings us to our key verses for today. We do not hear many sermons anymore about these verses because it reminds us about the importance of the law. I do not know how many times I have heard Christians dismiss Scripture because it is in the Old Testament. Beware any teaching or preaching that avoids any portions of Scripture. All of the Bible is God-breathed. Salad Bar Theology does not work; where we pick what we like and avoid what makes us uncomfortable. Please, this is not an advocacy for feeling guilty. Guilt is related to condemnation. This is a call to remember that God gave His law for our good. Take a good look at the end of the key verses and we will see how important this is to God. Those who ignore the least commandment OR teach others to do the same, will be the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. There is no issue about getting into the kingdom because the grace of God assures us. But there are still prices to pay for our disobedience.

    Beloved, if we find our focus is on ourselves and our sin, we are certainly in the realm of condemnation and there is absolutely no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Our focus should be on Christ alone and how much He loves us and wants the best for our lives. That best also includes a conviction from sin which has a purpose:

    Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? - Romans 2: 4 (NLT)

    Condemnation leads us away from God through guilt but conviction brings us closer to God through forgiveness. That leaves us with the ultimate difference between condemnation and conviction. Only conviction leads to Godly sorrow, which leads us to repentance. Only through true repentance can we start to defeat the sins that ruin our lives. Don’t give in to condemnation beloved but neither should you shy away from Godly preaching about sin that might lead us to the conviction that brings genuine repentance.


    Reverend Anthony Wade - June 25, 2013
    clark thompson and Rusty say Amen and like this.
  2. Solid! Couldn't agree more. Mind if I quote some of this elsewhere on the forum?
  3. By all means
    Rusty likes this.

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