The Last Supper is over. Jesus has broken bread with His disciples, and spoken of His own broken body given for them. He has shocked them by telling them that he is getting ready to leave them to go to His father—that one of them will deny Him and another will betray Him. The whole evening has shattered their dream of Jesus victoriously overcoming their world with His message. He has told them victory is only found in His death—but that He will not leave them alone. The Comforter—the Spirit of Truth—the Holy Spirit will come. He must go to the Father for the Spirit of Truth to come.
“And when He (the Holy Spirit) has come,” He tells them, “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” (John 16:8-11, NKJV)
Jesus has given His life for mankind! The Holy Spirit has come! And now the Holy Spirit convicts the world of three things: of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. If we look closely at these verses, we see whom He convicts of what. And that is important for us to know because the enemy condemns and tries to convince us that God is angry—that His purpose is to punish us. The Spirit of Truth has something else to teach us! God is love! Jesus did not come to condemn the world. He came so that it might be saved. So what does the Holy Spirit convict believers of? Jesus made it clear in these verses.
The first thing to be convicted of is sin. These verses in John tell us that the Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin. He convicts “of sin, because they do not believe in Me.” Unbelief is the sin, and those who are convicted of it are those who don’t believe in Jesus. At the cross all sin was destroyed. God through His son, Jesus, reconciled the whole world to himself, but those in the world who do not know Him (unbelievers) are lost in the sin of unbelief.
The second thing the Holy Spirit convicts the world of is righteousness. But who are those in the world who are convicted of it? Jesus says in these verses in John that the Holy Spirit convicts “of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you will see me no more.” Those in the world who are convicted of righteousness are those who believe in Jesus. Jesus was not only speaking to the disciples but to believers today. As believers He convicts us of righteousness. We don't have to "see" Him. We believe Jesus is with the Father. Unbelievers do not believe.
Trish Gunn in her book Unveiling Jesuswrites, “Jesus was prophesizing of the New Covenant reality of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit for believers. The Holy Spirit is in the believer’s life to convict us of righteousness…Jesus is the anchor for our souls, and the Holy Spirit is here to remind us of that truth. The Holy Spirit is helping us to overcome our unbelief. He is our Advocate that reminds us that we are the righteousness of God. He is helping us to see that the accuser, the devil, has been condemned and triumphed over at the cross. He is the Comforter, and He guides us into all truth…Our new nature in Christ will know when we are not walking in consistency with the nature of God, and the Spirit of God operating in our new nature will lead us into godliness.” This is conviction by righteousness for the believer.
The third thing the Holy Spirit convicts the world of is judgment. And who is convicted of judgment? “Of judgment,” Jesus tells the disciples, “because the ruler of this world is judged.” The ruler of this world is judged, and who the ruler of this world? It is the Satan. Here Jesus speaks of Satan being judged—not believers. Believers have already been judged righteous by Jesus. The Holy Spirit convicts (convinces) believers that they are righteous through the blood of Jesus.
It is not the Holy Spirit’s purpose in our lives as believers to hammer us again and again with thoughts of our failures—of our sins. That is the enemy’s purpose. Feelings of unworthiness will keep us from enjoying the presence of God. Nothing we do makes us worthy to approach God. Only the gift of Jesus’ life for ours makes us worthy. In Him alone are we worthy. The Holy Spirit encourages us daily that our identity is only in Him. And because of His love and grace, we can boldly approach Him in our times of need! Nothing separates us from His love. The ruler of the world is defeated. Jesus did not come into this world to condemn us. We are convicted by righteousness—not by sin. The Holy Spirit reminds us of this so that we are empowered to live lives that reflect the worthiness He died to unselfishly give us.
You are not condemned. You are loved and convicted by the Savior who died to give you His life. Walk in His Grace. Grow in His purpose. Rejoice in His peace and joy. Whom the Lord has set free is INDEED free.
© 2019 Lynn Lacher