Conviction or Condemnation


Dr. Charles Stanley

Read | Romans 8:1-2

ExostlanleySometimes it’s easy even for believers to become confused, because emotions can be very tricky. For this reason, it is unwise to trust feelings or base our decisions upon them.

But what about those times when you are unsure? You can probably recall periods when you thought you were sensing conviction from the Holy Spirit but wondered whether it might instead be condemnation from the Enemy. There is a difference between emotion and true conviction, which means an awareness of wrongdoing (John 16:7-8). The Holy Spirit prompts conviction of sin as an expression of His love because He wants to keep you on the right path. One sure way to distinguish conviction by the Holy Spirit is that He will always identify something specific (Ps. 51:3-4; Luke 22:60-62). God won’t hesitate to put His finger on whatever is outside of His will.

Conversely, the Enemy will try to inspire feelings of condemnation and guilt by whispering something like, “You call yourself a Christian? You’re a poor excuse for somebody who claims to be one of God’s children.” The Enemy wants you so weighed down that you become ineffective for the Lord. When believers listen to that deceitful voice, they can become incapacitated by the untruths from the Father of Lies.

The Holy Spirit uses conviction positively—to warn against danger or lovingly nudge an erring believer back onto the course the Lord designed for his or her life. Thankfully, this is one of God’s unceasing acts of love.