Conviction vs. Condemnation?

Confession…when it comes to condemnation and conviction, I have always been slightly confused. I mean what is the difference? They both seem the same! Romans 8:1 tells us there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. And 1 Thessalonians 1:4-5 Paul tells the brothers he’s writing to that he knows they are loved by God and that he knows that God has chosen them, because the gospel came to them not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. So what is the difference?!

There seems to be a huge difference. One is obviously something we are not to accept and the other is something we should indulge as it motivates change in us. I’ve always wondered, “How can I tell which one I’m experiencing?” To be quite honest, I have gotten caught up in condemnatin and found myself in a heap on the floor trying to figure out what the heck just happened.

I’ve been reading a book called “Who Do You Think You Are? Finding Your True Identity in Christ” by Mark Driscoll. In his book, he speaks to our need to find our identity in Christ and how we often identify ourselves with things that are anything but godly. I am not finished with the book just yet, but I am learning so much about my identity in Christ and how I’ve been missing the point on this subject. In the chapter titled, I Am A Saint, he speaks to the difference between conviction and condemnation. Hey! Didn’t I just say I’ve been confused on this subject?! Yay! It has brought some insight that has helped to clarify some of my misunderstanding. I’m sharing the break down with you, just in the off chance that you too have had some confusion on the subject. Again, I am not finished with the book yet, but would, so far, recommend it to those of you wishing to learn more about your identity in Christ. Enjoy.

Conviction is from God. Condemnation is from Satan.

Conviction leads to life. Condemnation leads to despair.

Conviction ends in joy. Condemnation ends in sorrow.

Conviction makes us want to change. Condemnation makes us believe we can’t change.

Conviction leads to new identity. Condemnation leads to old identity in sin.

Conviction brings specific awareness of a sin. Condemnation brings vague certainty about sin.

Conviction looks to Jesus. Condemnation looks to self.

Conviction is a blessing. Condemnation is a burden.


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