The Bible has a lot to say about condemnation. And let me tell you, condemnation is a killer. It is extremely toxic to your life. But what is condemnation and how do you recognize it operating?
Here are some common definitions of condemnation:
- the expression of very strong disapproval
- the action of condemning someone to a punishment; sentencing
- to declare to be reprehensible, wrong, or evil usually after weighing evidence
- to pronounce guilty
- to adjudge unfit for use or consumption
The Bible says that condemnation came on humanity through the fall of Adam and Eve, and has been in the heart of man ever since. Sin brought condemnation into the world. The Bible says that condemnation can be removed in the acceptance of the finished work of Jesus Christ.
According to the Bible, condemnation is something that is removed after accepting the finished work of Jesus Christ. Condemnation is not for the born-again believer, but many Christians would admit to feeling condemned throughout their entire lives. How can this be?
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:1
Condemnation causes real problems in your life, probably much more that you realize. In fact, condemnation is potentially the deepest root of most of the problems we face in life.
You may be experiencing sickness, poverty, stress, fear, depression or relationship problems in your life, but these are just the fruit of a deeper problem. The real problem, when you uncover all the layers, is a sense of condemnation, a sense of being unworthy, guilty, and wrong.
Most people are aware of the science that has started to show us that many illnesses are rooted in unhealthy stress. All stress is caused by fear—fear of failing, fear of not having enough, fear of death, fear of what people think, and so on. But there is a deeper root than even fear, and that is condemnation. Yes, underneath fear is condemnation- the sense of just not being right, feeling wrong or unworthy at your core.
Wherever there is condemnation, there will be fear. And wherever there is fear, there will be unhealthy levels of stress. Then you see all the problems in your life that show on the surface. But if we can get rid of the toxic root of condemnation, you will see all the fruit of it disappear.
What Does Condemnation Feel Like?
Where does this feeling of condemnation come from? So many people have told me that they have felt like something was wrong with them ever since they can remember. People have told me that they have never in their life felt like they were truly good. I know this reality all too well. For the majority of my life, I felt like at my core I was bad. Perhaps you can relate.
Do you ever remember a time when you felt “good” at your core? Or has this underlying force always been telling you that you’re bad, you’re rotten, and not worthy?
Many people go through life always feeling tired and unmotivated. Do you ever ask yourself “Why am I so tired?”. Most people immediately look to their diet, or their sleep habits, or their amount of exercise as the cause of the way they feel. But are these things really the reason you are so tired? Or could it be something deeper? Something in your emotional realm that is weighing you down and zapping your energy and excitement for life…
I believe that the diet, sleep habits, and exercise habits absolutely play a part in how we feel, but I believe there is something deeper at work that is causing your tiredness or lack of motivation. And that is the hidden force of condemnation.
Whether you realize it or not, the majority of humans on this planet feel condemned in their heart. It may just be the nagging feeling that always seems to be running under the surface that says you’re not good enough. It may be a constant feeling that things just aren’t right. You may always feel like you have to prove yourself, not only to others, but to yourself as well.
Most people look at others around them and believe that there is something different about themselves, that they don’t have what it takes, but others do. When people think of God, their initial response is that they are displeasing to a holy God because of their behavior.
All of these feelings are what the Bible calls condemnation. These feelings and beliefs are absolutely life draining. They zap your energy from the moment you wake up in the morning.
Freedom from condemnation is the reason young children have so much energy. They have yet to allow condemnation to run the programming of their mind and influence their life. They are pleased with themselves and believe others are pleased with them, which allows them to be in the moment, full of joy and wonder and excitement.
- You can’t seem to forgive yourself
- You feel that if people knew the real you, they would see that you are bad
- You are never pleased with yourself
- You don’t believe that God is pleased with you
- You have a critical spirit toward others
- You feel unworthy
- You feel angry or frustrated toward yourself
If you are realizing that condemnation is a problem in your life, that’s a great first step. There is hope for you! When you realize who the culprit is, you can begin to recognize it and get it out of your life.
Where Does Condemnation Come From?
When most people think of religion or church or God, their first feeling is one of guilt and condemnation. This is tragic. Why is this a reality for so many? Because many churches are preaching the Old Testament Law instead of the good news of the New Testament work of Jesus.
The law found in the Old Testament gives us the knowledge of good and evil. The Bible says, “…by the law is the knowledge of sin.” (Romans 3:20)
It is so important to understand that God did not give the law for man to live by or to make man holy. God gave the law so that we could recognize that we are sinners and see our need for a Savior.
So what happens when you have the knowledge of sin? You will feel condemned. The law will ALWAYS bring condemnation. The law condemns. This is why Paul called it the ministry of death. (2 Corinthians 3:7)
Even if you do 99 things right, the law will focus on the one thing you did wrong. You can never fulfill the law in yourself. Only Jesus did that. The sooner you realize that you can never hit the standard and surrender to the fact that Jesus did it for you- the sooner you can live free from condemnation. As long as you are looking to yourself to obey the law, you will be condemned.
Do you know what the devil’s name means? His first name is Satan, which is Hebrew for “prosecutor at law” or “accuser”.
Do you know what the role of a prosecutor is in the court of law? He is there to prosecute you and condemn you. He never talks about your good points. He will bring up all the dirty laundry and relentlessly accuse you till you feel condemned. This is exactly what the devil does in your life, and he does it with the law.
Satan accuses you until you accept the feeling of being condemned, being unfit for use. He uses the law, which is holy, good and just, to condemn you. That is why condemnation—the root cause of all your problems—is so subtle. That is why condemnation usually goes undetected until it is causing major problems. More times than not, when problems have arose in my life, I can trace it back to allowing condemnation in my heart.
This is the main tactic of the enemy against the believer. The devil cannot enforce the curse in your life apart from condemnation, fear, and deception.
The good news is that God disarmed the devil at the cross!! God took the devil’s weapon against you—the law—and He nailed it to the cross!
Having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. Colossians 2:14–15
Without the law, the devil can no longer condemn you. You are free from the law because Jesus has delivered you from it and given you His perfect righteousness by faith. You are truly free!
But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter. Romans 7:6
What Does No Condemnation Mean?
No condemnation means that you are free from the consciousness of your sin, failures, and shortcomings. Free from the nagging voices telling you that you’re not good enough, that you messed up again. Free from the sense that you are constantly missing the mark.
No condemnation means that you are free from focusing on your failures and instead you are focused on what Jesus has done. His blood has completely removed your sin. Therefore, you can no longer be condemned.
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:1
As believers, we have received a righteousness from God that is by faith. (Romans 1:17) Our sins have been completely removed and therefore, there is no condemnation for us- and there never can be. If you are in Christ, you look just like Jesus (1 John 4:17).
When you understand that you are free from condemnation, you are truly free indeed. Free to be yourself, free to worship God, free to have pure motives.
No condemnation results in knowing that you are pleasing to God. You know that God delights in you and cares about every detail of your life. You know that He’s got your back and is always with you. You know that God enjoys you and you can begin to truly enjoy Him, free from a sense of unworthiness.
What is No More Consciousness of Sin?
Did you know that as a believer, you are not supposed to be conscious of sin? That is so far from the reality that most Christians live in, but because of the sacrifice of Jesus, it is absolutely the truth.
For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins.Hebrews 10:2
When you are truly free from condemnation, you should have no consciousness of your sin. No more consciousness of sin means that you have no thoughts or awareness of your sin.
Our conscience is constantly condemning us for the wrong we do. The resulting guilt, shame, and sense of unworthiness are toxic to our health, to our well-being, and to our relationship with the Lord. If you are living with a sense of shame and unworthiness, I can all but guarantee you that you will not fulfill the plan God has for you.
Your conscience must be cleansed by the blood of Jesus, and convinced that you are in fact righteous because of the blood of Jesus.
The Old Testament sacrifices of bulls and goats could never accomplish this cleansing of the conscious. God’s people were always reminded of their sins, every time they sacrificed an animal for their temporary forgiveness. This blood of animals could never remove sin, only cover it.
Praise God, Jesus has become the final sacrifice for us. He has completely removed our sin and His blood is able to completely cleanse our conscience. You should only be aware of your righteousness in Christ. Your sin has been completely removed. Not just covered or brushed under the rug, but completely and eternally removed. It’s gone. That’s good news!
How to Be Free from Condemnation
The key to no condemnation in your life is in truly understanding what happened at the cross. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you revelation of what happened at that cross. This is the key to your freedom and changes everything about how you relate to God, to yourself, and to others. What happened at that cross changed everything.
Here is a great video that explains some of what happened at Calvary:
The reason there is therefore now no condemnation for believers is because Jesus came and was condemned for our sins at the cross.
When Jesus was on that cross, He took all the sins of our entire lives into Himself. He took the punishment. He took the guilt and condemnation of our lawlessness and sin in His body until He cried, “It is finished!” The punishment for sin was finished.
The reason that believers today can experience no condemnation is that all our sins have been punished and condemned, but in the body of another—in the body of Jesus Christ!
What Does it Mean to Overcome the Devil by the Blood of the Lamb?
Have you heard this popular saying? It is found in Revelation 12. But what does it actually mean?
Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. Revelation 12:10–11
Many Christians know that we overcome the devil by the blood of the Lamb. We know that there is power in the blood of Christ. But what is it about Jesus’ blood that makes it so powerful?
Blood is the only thing that can be shed for the forgiveness of sins. That is what makes it so powerful. Life is in the blood (Leviticus 17:11).
Now, what did Jesus say of the blood when He instituted the Lord’s Supper? He said, “For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” Matthew 26:28
And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission. Hebrews 9:22
The blood of Jesus has forever settled the sin issue. Your sin has been completely, forever removed and destroyed. It can never again be held against you. There is no record of. It was obliterated at the cross. Sin can never again be imputed to you because Jesus took it at the cross.
Understanding what Jesus’s blood did is how you overcome the accuser by the blood of Jesus. You say out loud “Because of the blood of Jesus, I am eternally forgiven, eternally righteous, and I can never be condemned. I will never accept condemnation. I will never accept the curse in my life because Jesus’s blood has removed my sin and made me perfect in the eyes of God”. Hallelujah!
How to Have Right Relationship with God
When sin is no longer an issue, you can begin to grow and develop your relationship with God. Right relationship with God is ONLY experienced through faith in what Jesus has done. Jesus has given you righteousness, or right relationship with God as a gift. He took your sin and gave you His righteousness. What an exchange!
When you feel guilty around someone, you will avoid them. You will avoid God if you feel guilty before Him. But once you understand that you are in Christ and completely forgiven, you can come boldly to the throne of God.
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16
When your conscience has been cleansed by the blood of Jesus, you can have boldness toward God to receive the things you pray for. You understand that because of the work of Jesus, God relates to you in the spirit. And in your spirit, you look just like Jesus.
Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. 1 John 3:21-22
Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. 1 John 4:17
When you understand how God really sees you, life is so exciting. When condemnation, guilt, and shame are removed from your life, you are free to walk and talk with God in total freedom. He truly becomes your Father, your best friend, your closest friend- the way He always intended.
What Is Self Condemnation?
Your conscience is the part of you that is always judging whether things are right or wrong and condemning you. The conscience will never rest at this job until it is cleansed by the blood of Jesus.
You must apply the blood of Jesus (the finished work of the cross) to your conscience until you know in your heart that you are forgiven and made righteous. This is what the Bible refers to as the cleansing of your conscience.
how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? Hebrews 9:14
Dead works are anything you do to try and impress God, or try to be right with God. The motive of your actions is to be righteous by your own works, which is utterly impossible. The only way to obtain righteousness is to receive it as a gift.
When your conscience has been cleansed and you know that because of the blood of Jesus, you are right with God- you can truly love others and can see your value. You have peace with God and peace with yourself.
With a clean conscience apart from your actions, you get to discover yourself and why God made you. You wake up excited to pursue the things you are created for. You value yourself. You can actually get to a point where you say “God likes me, and I like me.” When you get to this point, you are at peace. Others’ opinions don’t hold that much weight in your mind anymore. Your relationship with yourself and others becomes life-giving. You are living as you were originally designed!
For more about what the conscience is and the reality of self-condemnation, I highly recommend reading a book called Who Told You You Were Naked?.