Romans 8:1 proclaims, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” After I preached on this verse one time, a friend asked me, “But doesn’t the Holy Spirit convict us of sin?” “Yes,” I had to say, “That’s true. But there is a major difference between Satan’s condemnation and the Holy Spirit’s conviction.”
Condemnation tells you how bad you are, conviction tells you how good you can become through Jesus. Condemnation is Satan trying to make you feel guilty. Conviction is the Holy Spirit reminding you that through Jesus you are righteous and have no need to sin any longer. Condemnation pushes you to desperation; conviction pushes you to repent and rely on Jesus.
Let’s look at John 16:8-11, “And when He [The Comforter] has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:of sin, because they do not believe in Me;of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more;of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.” The Holy Spirit is a comforter, not a condemner. The Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin, (singular) the sin of not believing in Jesus. But for the believer, the Holy Spirit convicts us of righteousness.
You don’t need to be worried about sin because you have an advocate: “…If anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1). And Jesus is not our only advocate. The word “comforter” used by Jesus to refer to the Holy Spirit also means “advocate.” And what greater picture of advocacy on our behalf is there than that of God the Father—giving up His own Son for the sake of sinners. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—all of Them are on your side. We often see our lives as a series of up and down moments. Some days we do good, other days we make mistakes and fail. And, if we rely on our own works for salvation, that is what life looks like. But if we put our faith in Jesus’ perfection, allowing Him to stand in our place before God, then the Father sees our lives as one steady line at the top of the chart…because that’s what Jesus’ life looked like.