No condemnation now hangs over the head of those who are “in” Jesus Christ. For the new spiritual principle of life “in” Christ lifts me out of the old vicious circle of sin and death.
Romans 8:1-2 (Phillips)
I repent for maligning the Spirit by believing the condemnation of the enemy. Unfortunately, when I’m in the process of repenting for sin, I sometimes become the punching bag for the enemy’s assault (Rev. 12:10). Yes, though I know better, I will occasionally listen to the accusation and condemnation of the enemy rather than staying in the conviction and contrition given by the Spirit.
We may be remorseful over our sins and transgressions, but Holy Spirit conviction is never the same thing as condemnation (Romans 8:1). Condemnation is that hopeless and dark place we go to when we listen to Satan’s attack. It’s a bottomless pit with more ambiguity then exactness. Everything is wrong, nothing has ever been right, and the worst possible results will inevitably be my outcome. This is such a ploy of the enemy to distract us from the true purpose of repentance. If the enemy can involve me in the quicksand of despair, then my focus is off of the Spirit’s dealing. And all he has to do is keep my eyes and attention off of the goal set by God in order to thwart God’s work.
True godly repentance and conviction is filled with the hope and Light of redemption. When I’ve been convicted of sin, I experience the pain of conviction that includes the fear of God, but I never experience that dark remorse that annihilates my person. Conviction is clean where condemnation is dirty. Spirit-filled conviction seeks the Lord’s satisfaction in repentance. When He has been satisfied with our level of repentance, the weight of conviction lifts and we’re left filled with Light, and free!
Another distinction between conviction and condemnation is specific versus vague generalities. Conviction is always very direct and detailed in what the issue is. There’s no question about what the problem is and for what I need to repent. You may have to listen for the Lord to expose the heart motive and the root of sin, but there’s not that nebulous cloud of “Something is wrong, I just don’t know what.” I always hate when that shame and guilt comes. It’s the dark cloud of unclear sin. God doesn’t come and say, “You’re just a horrible person and can’t do anything right.” He addresses my actual sin specifically.
God’s dealings don’t leave you guessing. That’s torment! He’s not looking to frustrate us but to redeem us. His goal is for cleansing, redemption, and putting us in right standing with Himself. As long as the enemy can keep us in that discouragement, despair, and darkness, he hinders God’s goal. And all of these are just inverted expressions of pride anyway. Pride decides for itself in both directions—exalting self as well as debasing self.
Conviction is death. There’s pain involved when God deals with us on a deep level. But there’s not that moroseness of the black death of condemnation. Repentance and conviction of sin is coming into the Light as He Himself is in the Light. It’s liberty and freedom from the shackles that bind us, separating us from our Beloved. The difference is so apparent. The mark of its fruit reveals the source. Is it Light unto Life even through the process of death, or does the darkness increase the death and amplify the separation? Christ experienced our separation from the Father on the Cross, so today we don’t have to. Wonderfully, our personal crosses and deaths through repentance are now done in His presence, with His guidance, and covered in His love.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness.”
1 John 1:9
Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that His kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?
Romans 2:4 NLT