The Difference Between Conviction + Condemnation

May 08, 2017

“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).





We’ve each experienced our share of all the feelings: whether we were the guilty party, the one to blame, the one at fault, or the one in the wrong, our flesh has led us into some type of imperfect, human mess. Then there’s usually some sort of “feeling bad” about whatever happened afterward.

And goodness knows that when we’re the one on the other side guilt, blame, fault, and wrong, we get alllll the hurt feelings to our little hearts. We “feel” things because God created us just that way: God created us to have feelings on purpose so that we could have a way to communicate with Him.

The beautiful thing about feelings — specifically negative feelings connected to sin — is that Jesus took the shame of our guilt, blame, fault, and wrongs on the cross so that we wouldn’t have to pay the consequence of eternal death. He became sin for us so that we could live in eternity with Him.

While we’re here on Earth, however — while we’re waiting for the beauty of eternity to overtake us — we do still deal with the consequences of our actions as mortal beings. And that often takes on the form of either conviction or condemnation for the acts of sin or unrighteousness that we commit. Anyssa wrote a beautiful article last week on conviction that was simply amazing. (If you didn’t get a chance to read it OR if you need a refresher, read it here!)

She says,

    Conviction is God’s way of correcting and guiding us. He has a plan and a will for our lives and since He can’t stand beside each of us and point out things we should steer clear of or opportunities for spiritual improvement, He uses conviction. When we sacrifice our will for His and allow His voice to be heard over our own, He renews our mind, leads us in the path of righteous and brings us closer to Him.


So good. So, so good, is it not?

But now let’s take a look at the difference between conviction and condemnation — because my darling, they are NOT one and the same.


“As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death”

(II Corinthians 7:9-10, ESV).

Conviction is the voice of God speaking to the heart of one who is on the journey of righteousness and holiness. Conviction is the voice that leads one to repentance; it is a “godly grief”: a way to gauge where the Spirit leads.

There may be times when we stray from the path of righteousness and holiness not necessarily on purpose but because we’re not quite perfect, angelic beings yet! That’s when the voice of conviction speaks to the heart and says something like this:

“Hey, girlfriend . . . You might want to consider changing the direction you’re going. You’re heading down a dangerous road.”

That’s the voice of Jesus reaching out to us as women who, as the Apostle Paul says, are “walking after the spirit and not after the flesh.”

If you are intentionally living a life that is seeking after the Kingdom of God and initiating a dwelling place for the Spirit to live, Darling, Jesus will definitely use conviction to speak to your heart.

Never be afraid of conviction: Jesus loves you. He is FOR you. He is your Savior and Redeemer. You are washed and clean and whole and beautiful IN HIM — and when you feel Him tugging at your heart in conviction? That is Jesus attempting to draw you CLOSER to Him. Conviction is a good thing. Conviction is a beautiful thing. You should welcome conviction as a sign that Christ is working in your heart to mold you into what He wants you to become.


He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

{John 3:18, KJV}

In other words, when you are filled with the Spirit of Christ and have been born again, you are no longer under the condemnation of sin. Condemnation is reserved specifically for the individual who does not believe in the Gospel, Salvation, or living a righteous, holy, separated, intentional life.

Yet Satan persistently tries to condemn those who do walk after the Spirit and not after the flesh. He constantly tries to make us feel badly about our past — even though the Blood of Jesus has already WON over those sins, even though we’ve already repented, even though we’re already on a journey towards Heaven.

Why does Satan do this, you ask? Because it’s the only way he can pull your heart away from the One who loves you.

Why would you ever leave the greatest love you could ever experience? Only if you felt you were unworthy of that love, right? Or if you felt as if that love weren’t real and true. Yes? So Satan uses his trickery and hatred of both you and God to lure you into believing that God is constantly condemning you — when in reality He is there with love, hope, and peace and speaking to your heart with conviction to simply draw you even closer to Him. So you see, my darling, you should run away from condemnation. You should run very, very fast.

There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ.

Don’t mistake the conviction that God places in your heart for the condemnation that Satan wants you to feel: if you are able to feel conviction, you are not under condemnation.

Our temptation is to be so impressed by our sins and failings and so overwhelmed by our lack of generosity that we get stuck in a paralyzing guilt. It is the guilt that says: “I am too sinful to deserve God’s mercy.” It is the guilt that leads to introspection instead of directing our eyes to God. It is the guilt that has become an idol and therefore a form of pride.

{A Cry For Mercy, H.J.M. Nouwen}

Satan will use condemnation to entice you into over-thinking and over-analyzing past sins and mistakes. Don’t fall prey to his attempts to win your heart. As Nouwen reminds us, be careful not to become caught up with introspection so deeply that you lose sight of the Kingdom and God’s purpose for your life. Don’t ever allow your past to become more important and more powerful than the future that God has for you.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

{Jeremiah 29:11-13, ESV}

When you feel ashamed of your past and feel unworthy of Jesus’ love? That is the devil attempting to draw you AWAY from God. Listen to the voice of conviction, but never to the voice of condemnation.

But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.

{I Corinthians 1:30, KJV}

You are in Christ, you are a new creature — old things are past away, all things have become new! Jesus has sanctified you and redeemed you. Walk after the spirit and welcome the conviction of the Holy Ghost — turn away from walking in the flesh and the condemnation that accompanies it. Continually seek after the future that God has for you — it is yours if you will simply seek after Him!