The Believer in Jesus Christ is free from condemnation because by the grace of God the judgment (condemning sentence) for our sins fell upon Jesus. No condemnation means that there is no final doom, impending judgment, or condemning sentence that awaits us for our sins Romans 8:1. Condemnation also carries an idea of no hope and irreversible punishment. The world without Jesus will face this condemnation (1 Corinthians 11:32; Revelation 20:11-15). This is the judgment and condemning sentence of doom/punishment Jesus paid for us.
This does not mean that as Christians, who are free from condemnation with the world, cannot still experience condemnation and guilt or that all guilt is of the devil. Condemnation & guilt can come from three sources:
- SATAN’S CONDEMNATION & GUILT Revelation 12:10; 1 Timothy 3:6
The accuser speaks against us and accuses us but the blood of Jesus testifies for us and it speaks mercy Hebrews 12:14. First Timothy 3:6 says, “Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.” The devil piles on condemnation when we sin.
- SELF CONDEMNATION & GUILT Romans 14:22.
Romans 14:22 says, “… condemneth not himself…” This implies we can condemn ourselves. Self condemnation is saying we don’t deserve forgiveness, and it’s our attempt to punish ourselves and pay for our wrong. We have to accept the grace of forgiveness by faith and stand against the thoughts/feelings. We can condemn ourselves for what has been confessed and forgiven or condemn ourselves for things the Word of God does not. Our conscience may need informed by Truth from God’s Word about what is right and wrong not just what we may have been taught growing up.
- SIN’S CONDEMNATION & GUILT FROM OUR HEART 1 John 3:20, 21.
When you sin, your own heart knows it and it’ll let you know it with feelings of shame, conviction and guilt. First John 3:20, 21 says, “For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.” God’s law is written in our hearts, and our conscience and heart accuses or excuses us (Hebrews 10:16,17; Romans 2:14,15). It is a part of the law of the mind (Romans 7:22, 23) (the moral law and moral principle within the inner man) that can make us feel guilt. Guilt comes from sin or breaking a moral law (1 John 3:4) and it is the accusing of one’s own conscience.
Sin always sets up an inner conflict in a Believer. It affects our valuing of ourselves and damages our own self‑respect. A sinning Christian may project all is well on the outside but inside they can be struggling with the wages of sin. A person never escapes the wages of sin and its damaging effects to oneself. When we sin, we lose our sense of being right, innocent, and at ease and it makes us lose confidence, causing us to shrink back. This kind of guilt can have a good effect so it is often called good guilt. It lets us know a problem exists that needs attention, like an oil indicator light in a car that flashes and says you are out of oil, the engine is overheating, and if you continue more damage can be done. It’s time to go aside and drive no further.
Sin’s condemnation & guilt lets us know a problem exists in our relationship with the Lord and that we have broken fellowship with Him. We must restore our fellowship by confession of sin and then receive the grace of forgiveness. The Word of God tells us that we’re supposed to keep a tender conscience (Acts 23:1, 24:16; 2 Corinthians 1:12; 1 Timothy 1:19). When your conscience no longer makes you have guilty feelings when you are sinning is when you are in a state the Bible calls as having a seared conscience 1 Timothy 4:2. The Good News is that we can receive the grace of forgiveness when we sin if we will confess our sins 1 John 1:9. “If” is the Greek word “ean” a conditional participle, which can mean, “In case that, provided that, except that. Used with other participles in a sentence indicates something uncertain, indefinite, and conditional.