Some modern day teachers appear to be a little confused about what the Bible has to say about conviction. One of the favorite scriptures of the no-conviction-for-believers crowd is Romans 8:1, “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.” (NKJV)
The problem with quoting this scripture is pretty obvious. It doesn’t have the word conviction in it! The word used in this scripture is “condemnation.” When viewed in context of the preceding scriptures in Romans 5:16;18 it makes perfect sense. Sin brought condemnation but once we are saved, we are free from condemnation. I’m all for that!
The word in the Greek for condemnation is “katakrima.” Strong’s dictionary tells us that the word means, “damnatory sentence.” Paul is telling us that we are no longer damned to Hell because of our sin once we accept Christ’s gift to us. Hallelujah!
The word for “conviction” however is completely different. The Greek is, “elegcho” and it means, “convict, refute, confute with the suggestion of shame, bring to light, expose, find fault with, correct, reprehend, severely chide, admonish, reprove, chasten, punish.” While that may sound pretty bad, it is actually a great blessing.
Matthew 18:15 uses elegcho (conviction) in its instruction to let our brother know when he sins against us so we can make things right. John 3:20 tells us that people avoid the light out of fear of being convicted. Jesus told His disciples that one of the jobs of the Holy Spirit is to convict the world of sin.
Although it is not always translated conviction, elegcho is used 18 times in 17 verses of the New Testament. Paul instructs the Ephesians to avoid the works of darkness they used to be involved in. Our new job is to expose them – or bring conviction upon them. (Eph 5:11)
First and second Timothy, Titus, Hebrews, and James talk about the power of conviction in the lives of believers and Jesus says in Revelation 3:19 that He convicts everyone He loves so that they will repent. In deed conviction is always a positive Word from God, or His servants, which carries with it an invitation to repent and get right with God. Condemnation offers no such invitation.
So now you see that anyone who says that conviction does not apply to believers, is simply wrong. How will we be made aware of how to have a great relationship with God if He never tells us what bothers Him. If it were any other family, we would call that dysfunction. As a matter-of-fact, the term applies here as well.