There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Death Row Pardon
Every one of us had the death sentence hanging over our heads before we came to saving faith in Christ. We were wicked sinners (Rom. 5:8) and enemies of Christ (Rom. 5:10), yet He still chose to freely die for us to lift the condemnation that had been ours. It was as if we were on death row and got an 11th hour pardon. When Paul said there’s no more condemnation, he added “now,” meaning the condemnation has now been lifted. But for whom? It is “for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1). For those who still refuse to believe in Jesus, they have the wrath of God still resting on them (John 3:36b), but for us who believe, God has placed His wrath on Jesus and not us, so we’re off the hook (John 3:36a). Why then do so many still feel guilt or condemnation when God says there isn’t any condemnation anymore? Do you realize that it’s from the enemy and not from God?
The Holy Spirit or an Evil Spirit?
I talk to a lot of people who can’t tell the difference between a conviction of sin by the Holy Spirit or feelings of guilt or condemnation from an evil spirit. The difference is the Holy Spirit makes you confess your sins and turn away from them, but evil spirits make you feel you’re useless and hopelessly lost and have no chance of being saved. They make you feel like a phony and whisper in your ear, “You’re not really a Christian. Who do you think you’re kidding.” But remember, Satan’s name means “the adversary.” He is a deceiver and has been a liar from the beginning (John 8:44), starting way back in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3). Another name for Satan is the devil, which in Greek is “diábolos” and means “slanderer” or “accuser,” and he is constantly accusing us before God day and night (Rev. 12:10). If you have feelings of condemnation or guilt, it’s not from Jesus but from the devil or one of his demons because we know that when we sin, we can confess and be cleansed (1 John 1:9) and not be hopelessly burdened with our sins.
Destroying Your Testimony
Guilt and condemnation can make us lose our testimony for Christ. It also makes our witness ineffective. We feel that we dare not share the Gospel if we’re not even sure we’re saved, and it makes us feel unworthy to be His witness. In fact, none of us are really worthy, but our worth is wrapped up in Christ (2 Cor. 5:21) and not in ourselves. If the enemy can get you to feel guilty or condemned, then you’re not going to be sharing the Gospel with the lost, and you’re probably not going to serve in the church or others outside of the church. He can effectively stop you in your tracks when doing anything for Christ, and that’s exactly what he wants. If you’re feeling guilty or condemned, confess your sins to God and know for sure you are forgiven; however, if after that you’re still feeling guilty or condemned, understand that it’s not coming from God but from your mortal enemy.
A Closing Prayer
God, sometimes I get overwhelming feelings of guilt or condemnation. Please help me to know when it’s the Holy Spirit telling me I need to come clean before You and confess my sins or when to realize it’s from the enemy and not from You. In the precious name of Jesus I pray.
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