This month, we are covering a seemingly simple concept that has powerful, revelatory, and wide ranging applications: Right-Right vs Right-Wrong...Right WHAT-Right HOW/WHY vs. Right WHAT-Wrong (or NO) HOW/WHY.
The overview for the rest of this Series is that God wants our brain to have Profitable Thought Processes. The enemy and our flesh wants our brain to have Unprofitable Thought Processes.
Throughout this Series we have seen the brain is the battlefield on which God and our mind participate in Spiritual Warfare against the enemy and our flesh. So, there are two participants attempting to access our strongholds: the enemy and our flesh.
This week we will conclude this series. In the previous post, we concluded the three part mini-series on HOW the enemy participates in Spiritual Warfare:
The HOW of God's Spiritual Warfare Overview
1. The goal is to bring about God's Will
2. God supplies the power through the Holy Spirit with an influence upon our heart
3. We (Mind) choose to speak WORDS that are truth
4. These WORDS are spoken according to our understanding and experience...our imagination and memory.
The HOW of the flesh and the enemy's Spiritual Warfare Overview:
1. The goal is to hinder God's Will
2. The enemy supplies an influence upon our heart
3. The influence from the enemy is meant to encounter strongholds (sin) in our brain
4. The flesh attempts to weaken our understanding and experience...so that our imagination and memory serves the enemy.
Specifically looking at HOW #4...
Using faith to make sure the influence that reaches the brain is from God (grace) will require the person to state WORDS according to their faith so that upon completion of The Second Feedback Loop, the individual's faith and ability to experience grace is built.
Following the flesh and enemy's HOW of Spiritual Warfare for the first three steps results in the faith and individual's ability to experience grace Profitably to be weakened...to put their Salvation in danger.
Today, we will summarize both processes by looking at conviction vs. condemnation...
CONVICTION VS. CONDEMNATION
There are two responses that people confuse to their detriment: conviction and condemnation.
We have seen that if a person fails the HOW of Spiritual Warfare, they will end up feeling guilt. They will have done something that their conscience recognizes as sin...as something that is apart from faith...something apart from what is right in the Long Term according to their understanding and experience. The individual will feel this confrontation from God (through the Holy Spirit) and their Mind concerning the action, attitude, or thought of the individual. This confrontation is conviction.
Conviction in the New Testament is Strong's #1651 elegeho - "to confute, admonish:-convict, convince, tell a fault, rebuke, reprove"
Notice, everything about this word is to confront the individual about their BEHAVIOR, ATTITUDE, or THOUGHT. Remember what was written in "Modeling God"?
"Sin is an action, attitude, or thought that is wrong because it is done apart from what the individual knows is right due to their understanding or experience." (page 89)
In the previous post, we saw that the individual OUGHT to attach this conviction to the sinful behavior, attitude, or thought. Then the individual OUGHT to intentionally file ALL of this information TOGETHER into their cortex, so next time they can access this information BEFORE they choose to sin.
Here are some verses using Strong's #1651:
"7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth: It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I go, I will send him unto you.
8 And he, when he is come, will convict the world in respect of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
9 of sin, because they believe not on me;
10 of righteousness, because I go to the Father, and ye behold me no more;
11 of judgment, because the prince of this world hath been judged." (John 8:7-11)
"7 For the bishop must be blameless, as God's steward; not self-willed, not soon angry, no brawler, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre;
8 but given to hospitality, as lover of good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled;
9 holding to the faithful word which is according to the teaching, that he may be able to exhort in the sound doctrine, and to convict the gainsayers." (Titus 1:7-9)
"8 Howbeit if ye fulfil the royal law, according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, ye do well:
9 but if ye have respect of persons, ye commit sin, being convicted by the law as transgressors." (James 2:8-9)
These passages state the Holy Spirit will convict the world, bishops ought to be able to convict gainsayers, and those who commit sin by giving preference to people will be convicted by the law. All of this concerns actions, attitudes, and thoughts...not the actual individual's being.
We saw the other way for people to handle sin is to personalize it. To file it away along with everything else that the person values that is Profitable. When sin is filed away in the cortex along side things that are Profitable, we saw that it can lead to the individual losing faith and not having a Profitable interaction with grace. It can lead to the person losing their Salvation. The feeling the person experiences from this sin is condemnation.
Condemnation is Strong's #2917 krima - "from 2919; a decision...damnation, go to law, judgment"
Strong's #2919 krino - "to distinguish, i.e. decide (mentally or judicially); by impl. to try, condemn, punish"
Condemnation goes beyond the action, attitude, and thought. Condemnation reaches the being of the individual. Condemnation results in the individual being judged and receiving damnation...loss of Salvation!
Let's look at some passages using Strong's #2917:
"14 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, even while for a pretence ye make long prayers: therefore ye shall receive greater condemnation." (Matthew 23:14)
"38 And there was also a superscription over him, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
39 And one of the malefactors that were hanged railed on him, saying, Art not thou the Christ? save thyself and us.
40 But the other answered, and rebuking him said, Dost thou not even fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?" (Luke 23:38-40)
"7 But if the truth of God through my lie abounded unto his glory, why am I also still judged as a sinner?
8 and why not (as we are slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say), Let us do evil, that good may come? whose condemnation is just." (Romans 3:7-8)
"2 The bishop therefore must be without reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, orderly, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
3 no brawler, no striker; but gentle, not contentious, no lover of money;
4 one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
5 (but if a man knoweth not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
6 not a novice, lest being puffed up he fall into the condemnation of the devil." (I Timothy 3:2-6)
Condemnation in each case is a judgment against the individual that implies eternal consequences.
There's one more passage (John 8) that uses both concepts (conviction and condemnation) together:
"2 And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.
3 And the scribes and the Pharisees bring a woman taken in adultery; and having set her in the midst,
4 they say unto him, Teacher, this woman hath been taken in adultery, in the very act.
5 Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such: what then sayest thou of her?"
Notice, this could be seen as fleshly Spiritual Warfare. The Pharisees ask a Question after stating what the Law said. They are trying to get Jesus to CONDEMN her. We know from John 3:17 that Jesus did NOT come into the world to CONDEMN. What is Jesus going to do?
"6 And this they said, trying him, that they might have whereof to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground."
This verse states that the INTENT of the Pharisees' Question was to trap Jesus! They will continue asking until Jesus does something. What will Jesus do?
"7 But when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
8 And again he stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground."
I've covered this before as an example of "Weed Killer". Jesus didn't tell them NOT to stone her...which would have violated the Law. Jesus didn't physically try to prevent them from stoning her...that would have triggered their amygdalas and led to them stoning her. Jesus came up with a way TO stone her!
In fact, this looks like Spiritual Warfare. Jesus stated a will for the people in a conditional manner. Basically Jesus said for the people to fulfill the Law by meeting the requirement of being sinless. The result was the most efficient and effective way to disperse the crowd:
"9 And they, when they heard it, went out one by one, beginning from the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the midst."
The Greek word for "convict" is in this verse. It is easier to see in the King James Version:
"9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst." (KJV)
So, CONVICTION prevented them from continuing in their fleshly pursuit...it prevented their continuing in their actions, attitudes, and thoughts.
Once, the crowd leaves, Jesus addresses the woman:
"10 And Jesus lifted up himself, and said unto her, Woman, where are they? did no man condemn thee?
11 And she said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said, Neither do I condemn thee: go thy way; from henceforth sin no more."
The crowd was CONDEMNING her!
Jesus used WORDS to CONVICT the crowd.
Jesus states He doesn't CONDEMN her.
I had an interesting experience this weekend with traditional-minded people...people who hold to man-made traditions instead of God's Word...but think they are following God. The key way to determine if these people are following God or not is whether they operate in conviction or condemnation.
People who know their Bible and operate according to it can convict a person. They can focus on the behavior, attitude, or thought. They can objectively show how it is Unprofitable. They can do this without judging the person. They can do this without getting emotional. They can do this the same way Jesus did like we saw above in John 8. They can be Christians.
Traditional-minded people condemn...they focus on the being of the individual. They don't get all the facts. They make judgmental statements about the being of the individual in an emotional manner. They are NOT focused on reasoning with the individual and patiently showing with the Bible how the behavior, attitude, or thoughts of the person are Unprofitable. They focus on stating the person themselves is Unprofitable. As we saw above, they do this the same way as the crowd did in John 8.
This is the main reason there is so much damage being done today by "Christians"...
We looked at Romans 7 during the post on Strongholds: The Flesh. It was the post that showed how strongholds are formed in the flesh so that the enemy can give a stimulus (thought) that activates this sin that is within us. We saw the conclusion of Romans 7 is:
"22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
23 but I see a different law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity under the law of sin which is in my members.
24 Wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me out of the body of this death?
25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then I of myself with the mind, indeed, serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin."
Paul showed that the believer's Mind and God's Holy Spirit serve the law of God (grace) while the believer's flesh serves the law of sin.
Once this conclusion is reached, notice Paul's next statement, which is the beginning of Romans 8...
"1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus."
There is NO condemnation for believers! Paul's reason was in Chapter 7. However, Paul is going to give more reasons:
"2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin and of death."
Reason #1: Grace freed me from the Law that activated sin in me and brings death.
"3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
4 that the ordinance of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."
Reason #2: The Law is good and was meant to help me...but my flesh is too weak to handle the Law Profitably. So, God sent His own Son so that sin itself is condemned!...and that we can walk according to the Spirit and not see condemnation.
"5 For they that are after the flesh mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit."
Reason #3: Our mind is able to be after the things of the Spirit which cannot be condemned.
"6 For the mind of the flesh is death; but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace:
7 because the mind of the flesh is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be:
8 and they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 But ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you. But if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the spirit is life because of righteousness.
11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwelleth in you, he that raised up Christ Jesus from the dead shall give life also to your mortal bodies through his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
12 So then, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh:
13 for if ye live after the flesh, ye must die; but if by the Spirit ye put to death the deeds of the body, ye shall live."
Reason #4: God's Spirit is able to live in us and do the Righteousness that allows us to avoid condemnation...because it leads to Salvation...which is the avoidance of punishment.
"14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God."
Reason #5: We are sons of God.
Conviction is the confrontation the individual feels when he fails the HOW of Spiritual Warfare and sins through action, attitude, or thought. This conviction comes in the form of guilt and is NOT focused on the being of the individual.
Condemnation is the confrontation the individual feels when they file the experience of failing the HOW of Spiritual Warfare along with everything else that the person values that is Profitable. When sin is filed away in the cortex along side things that are Profitable, we saw that it can lead to the individual losing faith and not having a Profitable interaction with grace. It can lead to the person losing their Salvation. Condemnation is focused on the being of the individual.
Tomorrow, we will look at Old Testament examples of the HOW of Spiritual Warfare.