‘There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.’ (Romans 8:1 ESV)
‘he will convict the world concerning sin’ (John 16:8 ESV)
It’s easy for Christians to fall into a form of legalism without realising it. We can pay lip service to grace but not actually live by grace. Theoretically we accept God is merciful, kind, and forgiving, and that we are only saved and accepted by his grace, but in reality we still relate to God legalistically.
We think that when we are good God loves us and hears our prayers but when we are bad or make mistakes he is angry with us.
Now don’t get me wrong I am not saying that we shouldn’t feel guilt when we sin or that we shouldn’t feel the need to repent. But there is a great difference between the feeling of conviction that we have done something wrong and the feeling of condemnation.
Conviction comes from God and condemnation comes from the devil who is called the accuser of the brethren. (Revelation 12:10)
Conviction highlights a specific thing we have done wrong, it says “you have done such and such a thing and you need to truly repent of it and turn away from it and ask for God’s forgiveness”
Condemnation says “look at what you have done, how can you call yourself a Christian, how can you contemplate prayer, you are a bad person.”
We can tell the difference because conviction is about the thing we have done wrong, condemnation is about our identity. The devil attacks our identity in Christ. He makes us feel insecure and tells us lies about how God feels about us. He makes us feel that God is angry and doesn’t want to hear from us, but actually nothing could be further from the truth.
When we do something wrong God isn’t up in heaven grimacing or frowning at us, no he is friendly towards us, his compassions are new every morning, he longs for us to come back to him so he can show us kindness and mercy.
Some of us can get so consumed and afflicted by our sin, but God wants us to stop feeling condemned and burdened down by what we have done. He wants us to come back to him because of his great love.
So perhaps you are in a place of feeling far from God because of your sin, or you are feeling condemned and afflicted by the weight of your guilt. If so remember the mercies of the Lord are new every morning. You are his child and he looks on you with kindness and wants to forgive you.
Father, thank you for your unfailing love towards us. Help us to walk in the presence of that love at all times and to be totally secure in our relationship with you through Christ and in the power of the Spirit. In Christ’s name we pray.
Have a good week secure in God’s love.