Today at the office it was me, myself, and I holding down the fort. I like to take these opportunities to break free from Pandora and listen to sermons while I work. I may have reached a new level of theological nerdyness (Nowhere near GRIT‘s Ben Wilson though! — and you can tell him I said that.)
A major theme of the sermon I heard today contrasted condemnation with conviction. Condemnation is, as it sounds, far worse than conviction. One is the sweet work of the Holy Spirit meant to transform us to Christ’s likeness, the other is the work of Satan meant to pull us away from the perfect image of our Lord and Savior.
Revelation 12:10 calls Satan the “accuser of the brethren.” It has been described by many that our enemy has come to steal, kill and destroy. It’s an apt summation. Satan’s purpose is the steal our joy in Christ, kill our faith, and destroy our identity. But — Praise God! — Revelation 12:10 continues on and proclaims that the accuser has been thrown down. He has been conquered by the Blood of the Lamb, by Jesus. Romans 8:1 wonderfully reassures “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
At this point, I should insert a disclaimer. If you are not a Christian, this post doesn’t yet apply to you. I pray it will. If you haven’t placed your faith in Jesus Christ for salvation, then you won’t be able to understand the Holy Spirit’s sweet work of conviction that I’m about to mention. Grace Community Church warmly welcomes you to contact us, whether through our website or Facebook page, if you have questions about coming to faith in Christ.
Conviction, then, stands in stark opposition to condemnation. Conviction is what Christians experience when they know Jesus Christ has absorbed God’s wrath towards them, forgiven all of their sins, and has redeemed them to Himself. Conviction 1) demonstrates that a Christian does, in fact, have a new heart made by Jesus. Because Christians have a new heart, they know the difference between what honors and dishonors God. And 2) God uses conviction to demonstrate his love to us. God, much like a parent, convicts – or disciplines – His children so that His children may experience the fullness of life gifted by their Father.
I know this post may have been difficult to nail down. It was difficult to articulate. If you have questions, feel free to leave a comment or – seriously – contact us. We’d love to get together and chat. And, just so you know, I don’t write posts with titles like “Conviction is not Condemnation” because I’ve arrived at some place of mystical, spiritual wisdom and found knowledge. I can write posts like this because as I am, by God’s grace, walking closer with my sweet Jesus. By God’s grace, I see more of my sin and desperately want to route any unholiness out of my life so I can enjoy pure fellowship with my Savior. And, again, by God’s amazing grace – I believe Jesus has made it possible for me and all my brothers and sisters to repent and come to faith.
Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!
(Psalm 139:23-24 ESV)