Have you ever spent a sleepless night under the weight of guilt?
I have. Even though I had confessed my sin to Christ, condemnation still crept over my heart. I couldn’t believe that He had actually forgiven me. It felt as if I still ought to be punished. Could I rest in God’s grace if I knew I might fail again?
Condemnation vs. Conviction
Condemnation and Conviction are two similar words, but they have very different meanings and two opposite results. It is easy to get them confused because they both have to do with the same pressing issue: what to do with our sin.
Both Conviction and Condemnation start with a feeling: guilt.
Guilt is often frowned upon, but God actually uses guilt. Guilt only starts to destroy us when we forget that its purpose is to prompt us to repent.
Think of it as a journey.
You have traveled a path of Sin. Somewhere along the line, you realized that this path was wrong, that you were lost. So you took the first offshoot—it was labeled Guilt.
Then you reach a fork in the road. One arrowed sign reads Conviction, the other Condemnation.
Up to this point, there has been only one road, but now, you must choose a path, choose your destination. The path of Conviction leads to God’s throne. But the path of Condemnation leads to a never-ending journey of Sin and Misery, always circling back into more Guilt.
So often we choose the wrong path because we are confused. Or maybe we feel unworthy to travel the golden path of Conviction. The thorny path looks more like what a sinner ought to travel on.
But Condemnation is not the journey our Savior has for us. He took our punishment on the cross. He defeated Condemnation!
A New Name for Conviction
Conviction. It seems like a heavy word and can often confuse us when Condemnation comes upon us.
Let’s get this straight:
Condemnation makes us feel as if our sin and unworthiness keep us from coming to God for forgiveness.
But that is a lie!
True, our guilt cannot be lifted while we remain under Condemnation. That is why Satan wants to trap us there, but Jesus wants to set us free from our bondage of guilt. How? By gently Convicting us.
Conviction drives us to seek His mercy and to confess our sins. It should never keep us from coming to God—that’s Condemnation! Do you see the big difference?
So let’s rename Conviction to Convincing.
Why? Because Conviction really is Convincing in disguise.
When we experience true conviction we are convinced by the Holy Spirit that we are wrong.
Conviction should always convince us to repent, to come to God’s throne to seek recompense and reconciliation, and finally to strive to live better next time. There is action involved.
So next time you feel guilty, remember that it is the Holy Spirit convincing you to come to God.
It is what happens at that fork in the road when you decide to take the Conviction Path. You are convinced it is the right path. You are convinced that God will forgive you the moment you repent. And you are convinced that your sin is eternally forgiven.
So the next time you are feeling crushed by guilt remember: Condemnation Crushes, but Conviction Convinces us to Confess.
Ok, so you’re convinced you’re wrong. You know that you need to confess. How does repentance work?
Simply put, it is agreeing with God.
Mini Greek lesson alert! Don’t worry, there isn’t a test. But hey, this is really cool so pay attention.
The Greek word for confession is homologia. It means “to speak the same thing” it is laying to rest an issue, confessing wrongdoing—an agreement of fault.
So when we confess, we are supposed to speak the same thing that God is saying.
Confession is the opposite of what Satan wants us to do. By living under condemnation we actually are agreeing with the lies and fears from our enemy! But when we confess, Satan is defeated.
Here is the truth: we can trust God to forgive us every time we come to Him in true repentance—He will never push us away or withhold mercy and restoration from us.
When God tells you, “you have been proud,” confession is agreeing with Him and saying, “God you are right. I have been prideful.” Then, it is asking for forgiveness: “God forgive me for my pride.”
And Jesus takes our guilt away. Remorse or consequences may remain because of the nature of sin. But now, there is no condemnation for you in Christ!
Yeah, me too.
I have to remind myself of the truth every day. Every moment. Even if I believe it right now, I could forget it the very next second, if I give in to the weakness of doubt.
Here are a few things I want to remember when I struggle to believe God’s forgiveness:
We aren’t forgiven based on our righteousness, but by God’s mercy.
“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy.” Titus 3:4-5a
Christ does not condemn us, He sets us free.
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1-2
Every sin we truly repent of is forgiven forever.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1John 1:9
God is the One who covers our sin
“I, I am He who blots out your transgressions for My Own sake, and I will not remember your sins.” Isaiah 43:25
His goodness is what restores us
“For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon You.” Psalm 86:5
Dear Rose, guilt will follow sin. It is natural. But when Satan tries to trap you in Condemnation remember to choose the path of Conviction instead.
Let the guilt Convince you to Confess and take the path to God’s Throne Room of Grace. He forgives eternally and restores freely to all who ask in humility and repentance.
Cheering for you Roses!
A daughter of the King, Gabriella loves to share the teaching that the Lord has given her through the joys and trials of her life. The desire of her heart is to grow her love, knowledge, and maturity for Christ and the truth found in His Word.