So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. (NLT)
Why is it that Christians can be the guiltiest people on the face of the earth? Why is God’s grace so often a lot less than amazing? Why do some believe they are condemned by God? It may have something to do with our confusing conviction of sin with condemnation for sin.
Conviction is the Holy Spirit reminding us we are on the wrong track, that we have sinned, that we have failed. It leads to our flinging ourselves on the mercy of God expressed in Jesus. In contrast, condemnation comes from the Satan. It tells us we are utter failures who are utterly lost. It crushes us whereas conviction liberates us. Condemnation consigns us to hopeless guilt, conviction points us to the welcoming arms of a gracious God.
By all means experience the discomfort of conviction: it is a reality check, a reminder that I fall short of God’s standards. But let that discomfort lead to the comfort of mercy and grace rather than to feeling we are worthless worms.
My fundamental identity is not that I am a sinner, though I am. My fundamental identity is that I am a child of God who yet sins. When my God looks at me he does not see me as a miserable wretch but as his child on the journey to wholeness. This is so, not because he is a sentimental softie. He can look at me like this because Jesus has taken away what keeps me from God. I am in Christ, I am clothed in his righteousness. I am not condemned.
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