Do you ever sense a cloud of guilt hanging over your head, even though you haven’t done anything specifically wrong? Maybe it’s a vague feeling that you haven’t done enough or don’t quite measure up. Condemnation can make you feel that way. It’s that feeling of being under a sentence of guilt and judgment. Conviction is the Holy Spirit telling you to repent of a wrongdoing. Condemnation is a false accusation against you that doesn’t come from God. Condemnation presses you down. Conviction calls you up higher to Him.
When a police car pulled out behind me the other day, I wasn’t guilty, but I felt guilty. My feelings were carried over from long past experiences with police cars behind me. That’s how condemnation hooks us; it draws us back to our past. It attacks our innocence that we have been given in Christ. It can masquerade as a feeling that we always need to do more, that we’re a failure, or that nothing we do is quite good enough. It’s one of the enemy’s big guns. He pulls it out to try and remind us that we don’t deserve the mercy and grace God has given us. We don’t deserve it, but we don’t have to. If we deserved it, then it wouldn’t be mercy and grace! For those of us in Christ, God never condemns us.
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. (Rom. 8:1–2)