Paul summarizes a beautiful and encouraging truth in Romans 8:1- “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” NIV.
I believe that Jesus is the Lamb of God who took away my sin. I know He agreed to be condemned and die for me. If I am without condemnation, why are there times I still feel guilt and shame for things said and done long ago?
The Holy Spirit has brought me a long way since my early days of faith. I used to ask myself, what if I haven’t said the right words to come to Jesus? Did I miss a step somewhere?
Blessedly, my faith has grown; I’m secure in my forgiveness. But there are things that still come to mind from my past that make me cringe. Are there regrets you have a hard time letting go of?
What Does No Condemnation Mean?
When someone is condemned, they have been found guilty and sentenced with punishment.
“Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death.” Matthew 20:18 NKJV.
Condemnation for us began with Adam and Eve’s sin. The only remedy for our guilt and punishment was Jesus. He gave up His life and accepted the condemnation we deserved.
When we believe and accept this, there is no condemnation for us. Jesus redeemed us and has forgiven our sins. Our guilt and punishment are gone.
Since Jesus is sinless and without condemnation, and we are “in Him”, we have no condemnation either. We are safe in His arms forever! There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus-ever.
Conviction vs Condemnation
Let’s explore the difference between conviction and condemnation.
We can perfectly understand the concept of “no condemnation” and still feel guilt, shame, and regret. Why?
For starters, when we come face to face with our sin (versus brushing it off or only feeling regret for the consequences), we either experience conviction or condemnation.
Conviction comes from the Holy Spirit. He exposes and reveals our sin to us, bringing it to light.
With the Holy Spirit’s conviction, we immediately see our sin for what it is- an offense against God. We can make it right by confessing, asking for forgiveness, and when possible, making amends.
His conviction turns us away from sin and helps us walk on His path.
Condemnation is completely different.
Condemnation comes from Satan. He wants to use our past memories, low self esteem, guilt and shame to put our focus on what we’ve done wrong. He wants you to feel worthless, discouraged, flawed, and unaccepted.
The Enemy wants our focus and assurance off of Jesus and what He has done for us.
Condemnation for the Christian is false guilt and shame. These feelings contradict what Jesus has for us. He illustrates it perfectly in the next story.
“Neither do I Condemn You”
A Woman Caught in Adultery
Jesus was teaching in the temple when the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. Trying to trap Jesus, they state the punishment for the crime, and ask Him what He has to say about the situation.
Curiously, Jesus silently bends down to write in the dirt with His finger. They continue to pepper Him with questions. Finally He speaks, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”
He resumes His writing.
One by one, they leave, until it is just Jesus and the woman. Straightening up, He asks, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” she answers.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declares. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” John 8:7,10-11 NIV.
Jesus cancelled the charges brought against her. He showed His way of justice and mercy and gave the woman her dignity and freedom.
He does not condemn her. Jesus offers instead His forgiving and saving love.
There was no doubt of the adulterous woman’s guilt. Jesus, however, deals with her sin in a totally different way than the Pharisees. They wanted to stone her to death.
Jesus’s answer gave her a new life.
The Pharisees condemned. Jesus brought conviction of sin that led to restoration and a life saved.
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“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:17 NIV.
Jesus doesn’t use shame, guilt, regret or even accusation to motivate us to do better.
His motivation comes from a loving relationship where He teaches us about His love, grace, and forgiveness.
His work transforms our hearts.
The Enemy has a different mission. His condemnation attacks grace and love and relies heavily on the sin we have committed.
He points out every time we’ve failed, struggled, under-achieved, and behaved shamefully. He wants us to feel the heavy weight of these things instead of knowing Jesus has taken them from us.
Godly Sorrow vs Worldly Sorrow
We all sin, and when we do, we can either express Godly sorrow or worldly sorrow.
“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” 2 Corinthians 7:10 NIV.
Godly sorrow brings sorrow for offending God and produces repentance. We experience a change in heart, thoughts and/or actions. We turn against sin and towards God. (Satan hates this…)
With worldly sorrow, the focus is on ourselves, not God. We may feel regret and simply move on. This leads to making the same mistakes repeatedly. (Satan loves this…)
We see the difference clearly when we look at Peter and Judas.
Both disowned Jesus. Afterwards, Peter “went outside and wept bitterly.” Luke 22:62 NIV. They were not tears of remorse, but genuine sorrow and repentance, which led to restoration. (John 21:15-17)
Judas, however, remained bitter in his situation, and sadly, took his own life.
Overcoming a Spirit of Condemnation
But good news- we can overcome this spirit of condemnation!
•Satan uses temptation and accusations to discourage and frustrate us. But remember- our Enemy is already defeated by Jesus’s death and resurrection. Additionally, Jesus is on the throne, interceding for us!
“He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them.” Hebrews 7:25 NIV.
Let that truth strengthen and encourage you! He always lives to pray for us. He defends us against Satan’s accusations and attacks.
•If you feel stuck in guilt, shame, and regret, remember YOU are not condemned. Sin has no hold on you; Jesus has set you free.
Let His great sacrifice soothe and calm your troubled conscience. Focus on Jesus, not your forgiven sin.
•Don’t let a condemning upbringing, unfair put-downs or criticisms from friends and family become your internal voice. They don’t line up with God’s Word and how He sees you.
•Condemnation can come in thoughts about ourselves- (“I blew it again” or “I’m useless”), dwelling on past mistakes, even in feelings of anxiety, worry, and fear. Satan wants to use these feelings to rob us of the joy we have in Christ. See them for the attacks they are.
Even Paul describes these feelings of condemnation. “For what I want to do, I do not do, but what I hate, I do.” Romans 7:15 NIV. He found his answer in Romans 8:1. Case closed. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ.
•Live in God’s condemnation-free zone. He will never cast you aside or shame you. Accept that you are His beloved child. ♥
•Accept His grace and be patient with yourself. This leads to His peace and forgiveness ruling your life.
Prayer Against Condemnation
We praise and worship you, Holy Lord!
Thank you for showering us with your grace and mercy each day. Thank you Jesus, for redeeming us from our sin. We give thanks for the gift of the Holy Spirit within us to convict us of sin and turn us back to You.
Your Holy Word tells us there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. But even against our best efforts, the Enemy reminds us of our past failures, and we feel shame, regret, and guilt. Remind us it is only our sin that is condemned and Jesus has set us free.
Strengthen and guard us against the evil one, Lord! Let Your peace and Your Word be our shield of faith to repel his accusations. Remind us of who we are in You- beloved and cherished, forgiven and free. Bring your life and peace into each of our days.
Empower us to overcome a spirit of condemnation and grow in Your truth, grace, and love.
We ask this in Jesus’ precious Name,
P.S.-Having a rock-solid understanding of your identity in Christ is essential to living your life in the way Jesus intended. Here’s another post to help you see yourself as He does: Embracing Your Identity in Christ.
All Scripture is from the NIV unless specified otherwise.
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