God Creates Conviction. Satan Counterfeits with Condemnation.

Romans 8:1 – There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 

When I was a kid, our family would frequent an outdoor swap meet. Vendors would sell everything from car parts to antiques, furniture, and lots of knock-off, counterfeit, fake items such as jewelry and handbags. The more valuable something is, the more likely a knock-off counterfeit will seek to fool people into believing it is the real thing.

What is true in the physical world is also true in the spiritual world. Satan is not Creator or creative like God, and He counterfeits conviction, which leads us to God with condemnation that drives us from God. In my 25-plus years as a senior pastor, sadly, I have seen three ways that God’s people live under condemnation. Does one of these sound familiar to you?

  1. I condemn myself. Some folks have such a tender conscience that they are devasted by their sins and shortcomings. Others are far more eager to give God’s grace to others than accept it for themselves.
  2. My archaeologist condemns me. Sadly, even though our past sin was buried with Jesus Christ, there is usually someone in our life who likes to dig up the worst days of our past to ensure we are condemned by them in the present. Sometimes this is the family member or friend who seems to think that roasting people is somehow a ministry. Other times, it is someone acting more like an adversary by using sin in our past to control us in the present by keeping and airing our record of wrongs – the very thing Paul tells the Corinthians is unloving.

To help distinguish between godly conviction and ungodly condemnation, it is good to remind ourselves of how God does and does not work in relation with us.

  1. Does God allow consequences for our sin that are not His condemnation, but simply us reaping what we have been sowing? Yes.
  2. Does God bring correction into our lives for our sins to keep us from great folly and harm? Yes.
  3. Does God bring us specific conviction of sin so that we can repent of it and move forward with the life He intends for us? Yes.
  4. Does God condemn us by bringing up the past over and over or flooding us with a vague sense of guilt and shame that never puts a finger on what needs to be repented of? No.

Conviction is very hopeful because it shows us exactly what our sin is, reminds us that Jesus died for that sin, and invites us to repent of that sin to move forward in our new life in Christ. Condemnation is very hopeless because it says that we can and will never change and is often accompanied with words such as “always”, “never”, and “you are a _______”. The demonic spirit of condemnation says you always do the sinful act, you will never change, and that is because your identity and the unchanging essence of who you are is not found in what Jesus has done for you, but rather what has been done by you. Condemnation focuses on what you have done. Celebration focuses on what Jesus has done. Conviction should lead us to celebration and not condemnation.

Is there any area of your life you are experiencing Satan’s counterfeit of condemnation? 

To find the new, free Romans 6-11 digital study guide for individuals and small groups, hear Pastor Mark’s entire sermon series on Romans, or find a free mountain of Bible teaching visit realfaith.com or download the Real Faith app.

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