God does not work in condemnation, guilt, and shame. He doesn’t say, “Shame on you” but “shame OFF you.” Condemnation, guilt, and shame are tools of Satan meant to tear you apart. Satan is a thief and his goal is to steal, kill, and destroy your life (John 10:10a). Jesus came for us to enjoy life in Him to the full in abundance till it overflows (John 10:10b AMP). Satan wants to condemn you in the sins, and heartaches, and hurts of your past. John 12:47 says, “Jesus did not come into the world to condemn the world, but to save it”. Conviction is God lovingly steering you back to Him. Just like a loving parent who steers their kids out of the dangerous street or lovingly disciplines them to protect and train them rightly, God convicts us through the Holy Spirit because He loves us. John 16:8 says the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin. Conviction is a gift from the Holy Spirit. It is a good thing! It means God is still talking to you and drawing you back to Himself.
Condemnation loves to point out your failures and problems without showing you the forgiveness and solutions that come from Christ. Romans 8:1 tells us, “There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death.” Life in Christ, which includes conviction of sin, forgiveness, grace, mercy, compassion, and love, gives you freedom and forgiveness from sin, failure, heartache, and hurt. Satan loves to accuse the brethren (Revelation 12:10) and point out their failures. Jesus loves to forgive failure and sin and heal hurt and heartache. If we confess our sin Jesus is faithful to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). God will show you your sins but He won’t leave you in them. He desires to rescue you from sin.
Conviction is different from condemnation. Conviction is the person of the Holy Spirit showing you the error of your sin but also showing you the forgiveness of God at the same time. Romans 2:4 tells us it’s the kindness of God that leads us to repentance. God isn’t trying to shame you and point out how much of a failure you are. He is, however, ready to point out your sin because sin is what separates you from Him. He desires for you to be in a close relationship with Him so He’s quick to lovingly point out solutions to the barrier of sin that comes between you and Him. Condemnation says, “Run away because of how much of a failure you are” but conviction says, “Run to Me (Jesus) because I love you and want to forgive you.”
True love, which originates from God (1 John 4:8), does point out sin for the sole purpose of restoration to Jesus and His Church. Someone who points out your sin to shame, condemn, or cause harm is not exercising Christ-like love. It is right to confront people in love in their sin. Galatians 6:1 tells us, “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.” We should approach someone in love with gentleness for the purpose of restoration to Jesus and His Church not for vindication or retaliation.
God desires to forgive you of your sins and restore relationship with you. He wants to heal you from hurts and sins of your past the Devil keeps throwing in your face. Isaiah 30:18 tells us, “The Lord longs to be gracious to you and waits on high to have compassion on you.” His conviction shows you the answer to the problem of sin. The Gospel, Jesus’ blood through His death, burial, and resurrection, wipes away our sins (Ephesians 1:7; Acts 3:19). On the other hand, the Devil’s condemnation shows you the problem of sin, your past and failures. Conviction by the Holy Spirit is the answer to condemnation by the Devil. Don’t live in shame and condemnation of your sins. Walk in His forgiveness by repenting of the sin He convicts.
Stephen and his wife Haley have called Arkansas home all of their lives. Stephen has served in several ministry roles over the last 25 years and as a lead pastor for the last 8 years. Stephen attended Williams Baptist College and earned a BA in Biblical Studies from Ouachita Baptist University, an MA, MDiv, and DMin in Christian Leadership and Pastoral Ministries from Liberty University. When not pastoring, Stephen enjoys running, cycling, reading, writing, camping, fishing, and spending time with his family.