A phrase we hear in Christian circles is “I’ve been convicted of this…” We used the word convicted to describe something the Lord lays on our hearts or brings to our attention. What we don’t perhaps realize is the root of all conviction: that we are guilty by law, and that God says so.
When people aren’t aware of the Spirit, they refer to their conscience much the same way as conviction. “My conscience has guided me to…,” they say, but the difference is this: a conscience is without authority. It can be fought and manipulated. Conviction cannot.
Once convicted, the declaration is permanent. The ruling is in. What we are in our sin before the Lord in all that we do is plain: wrong. To be convicted is to recognize this.
With the phrase we use, however, there is a connotation not plainly stated: that our response to the judge is as one convicted, not condemned.
“But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman,
subject to the law.”
Christ was born under this law, too. He is the only man to ever live a flawless life though. Before the judge, Jesus could not be convicted of any guilt. He stood as one uncondemnable. But He took on our conviction and sentence.
Now, as we stand convicted, we are not condemned because Christ has been in our place. Living victorious now, Christ has defeated death and paid the price. He’s completed our sentence and punishment. We stand convicted, but pardoned.
The man who recognizes the shackles of sin is freer when they are removed than the man who does not see his shackles as restraints at all, but as the natural confines of his world.
So, standing in that place before the judge, shackles removed, we are truly free.
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