‘You are allowed to be both a masterpiece and a work in progress simultaneously’ – Anonymous
I love watching TV series and movies about solving crime cases and usually when the person is caught, they are then convicted of the crime then subjected to the sentence (condemnation) which is the punishment. The sentence is final, there is no turning back. It got me thinking in terms of God’s justice system and two terms we often come across ‘Conviction and Condemnation’ and they are different to the world system.
In Christianity, Conviction and Condemnation are two dissimilar terms and understanding the difference between the two will affect how we approach life.
Condemnation says “you’re a loser, good for nothing terrible person and there’s no turning back” – it reminds you of all the bad things about you and where you fall short.
Conviction, on the other hand acknowledges the bad, but offers the chance for redemption. It says says “You are loved and a child of God and need to work on this thing that’s out of place in your life so you can be better and live better.”
As Christians, we tend to live under condemnation, or constant guilt, and think it is from God. It isn’t. Condemnation comes from Satan. See, we all fall short at some point or in some areas, no one is perfect, and condemnation is the enemy’s way of making you feel worse and worse. God doesn’t work that way. God will never attack you; he will never say you’re worthless or unlovable. Romans 8:1 says, “There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus”. In fact, in Revelation 3:19 God says, “Those whom I dearly and tenderly love, I tell their faults and convict…”
Conviction comes from God. The purpose of conviction is to correct us on specific issues in order to bring a change in our lives, and it is motivated by God’s love. Because God loves us, when he sees an area in our life that needs change, he will nudge us and say, “You need to work on this thing that’s out of line in your life.”
Jesus paid the price for condemnation. He served the punishment for our sin through his death on the cross. And we are free to live the way God created us to live, to live the way Jesus enables us to live.
Why won’t you ever hear God telling you what a failure you are? Because firstly, we are all created in His image, but sin is what clouds that perfect image. God condemns the sin in order to set us free from it, and only ‘self-conviction’ will cause us to change. Jesus said, “I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.” (John 12:47). That is the grace of God.
We need to therefore understand the nature of God’s forgiveness and embrace it. His desire is to wash us clean from our pasts. 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness.” God hasn’t given us a licence to sin because of His grace, but an open door to His heart that says no sin is bigger than the love He has for us.
Remember you are no longer bound to the restraints of who you used to be. In Christ, you have been made new and because of that you are free to start over. Accept His forgiveness, forgive yourself and strive to be better.