The Spirit of Conviction
Read John 16:7-11 (ESV)
Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgement: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me, concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
According to this passage, what did the Helper come to do?
Do you remember being a nonbeliever? If so, what was your attitude towards sin, righteousness, and judgment? It’s likely that you did not take your sin seriously (if you even called it sin). It’s also likely that you had a false sense of self-righteousness. You probably thought you were a decent person. And the idea that you would be found guilty and sentenced to death as just punishment for sin probably sounded ridiculous.
So, what caused you and I to change? The Holy Spirit. He worked on each one of us and He’s working in the world right now.
In today’s verse, Jesus says that when He sends the Holy Spirit, the Spirit will convict the world of three things. First, the Spirit will convict them of the sin of unbelief. The Spirit’s first priority is preparing a sinner’s heart to place their faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Spirit then works on their hearts, pointing out their need for a Savior until they are ready to receive the Gospel and trust Jesus as their Savior.
Second, Jesus said that the Holy Spirit will convict the world concerning righteousness. Jesus is no longer here on earth so the Holy Spirit will reveal to the world the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ. Through His Word and through His people, the Spirit will show the world that they fall short of the perfect righteousness of Christ. No matter how decent we think we are, we miss the mark.
Finally, Jesus said the Spirit will convict the world concerning judgment. The ruler of this world is Satan and He has already been judged and found guilty. When Jesus died on the cross, it may have looked like a victory for Satan but it was actually his great defeat. Everyone who does not belong to Christ belongs to Satan and will be judged right along with him.
Ephesians 2:1-3 points out that once we were all “following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience.” Because we belonged to the world and not to Christ, we were deserving of judgment.
Friends, we all had to realize that our unbelief was foolishness. We had to understand that we fall desperately short of Jesus’ standard of righteousness and because of that, we are deserving of eternal condemnation. Only then could we turn to Jesus. Praise God for the convicting power of the Holy Spirit in our lives to point us to our need for Jesus!
Lord, thank You for sending the Holy Spirit to work in my life, convict me of my sin, and point me to my need for a Savior. I pray that Your Spirit would be at work as I share my faith with others. Amen.