This scripture looks at how the Holy Spirit convicts or convinces the world of three important matters. When Jesus left the world He said that it was to our advantage for He would send the Holy Spirit to us and the Holy Spirit would convict and convince the world concerning sin, righteousness and judgement.
These three factors are linked together. They were not random points that the Lord pulled out of a hat. They are connected in a special way that is important for us to understand. And it is the working of the Holy Spirit that draws these three together.
Holy Spirit Convicts of Sin
The first of these three matters that the Holy Spirit convicts the world of is sin. But not just any sin or sin in general. Jesus spoke specifically about this in verse 9 saying,
“…concerning sin, because they do not believe in me.”
The Holy Spirit convicts of sin because the people of the world chose not to believe in Jesus Christ. We see Him express this further in John 8:23-24,
23 He said to them, “You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world.
24 I told you that you would die in your sins, for you will die in your sins unless you believe that I am he.”
So if a person does not believe that Jesus is the Saviour, they will not have their sins taken away and they will die in their sin. That is, they will die as a sinner and be judged accordingly. Their lack of faith convicts them to a life of sin and they will not escape unless they come to Jesus.
The Holy Spirit leads us and gives us the understanding to know how we are freed from our sins. Man without the Holy Spirit cannot understand how this works for it is spiritual knowledge that is opened up to a person when they come to Christ and receive the Holy Spirit. I discussed some of this in my previous post looking at Why Jesus Died.
Holy Spirit Convicts of Righteousness
The second way the Holy Spirit convicts and convinces the world is concerning righteousness. The way of the Holy Spirit is to lead a person to righteousness. The people of the world who are not followers of Jesus cannot find righteousness for they lack faith and a person is only able to stand in righteousness by faith in Jesus Christ.
Self righteousness is no righteousness at all, at least not before God. Only the righteousness that comes through faith in Jesus Christ will give us the standing before God that leads to His Kingdom and eternal life.
In verse 10 we see Jesus speak of righteousness in this way,
“…concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no more”
Righteousness allows us to stand in the presence of God. When we accept Jesus and are baptised in His name, we receive the free gift of righteousness by faith, which allows us to stand before God. When this occurs, God is willing to help us through the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives to bring us into the perfection of Jesus Christ and into His presence.
But without righteousness through faith, and if we continue to consider ourselves to be unrighteous, unworthy sinners even after Jesus has freed us, then we hamstring the Holy Spirit. We hold ourselves back from the righteousness that God freely bestows on us by grace and faith in Jesus Christ and prevent the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Jesus went to the Father and He took us with Him…if we have faith in the work the He did by dying for us. But if we call ourselves sinners we negate the work He did and so we do not go to the Father with Jesus for no sinner will stand in the presence of the Father. It is sin that separates us from God.
But God has given us grace to forgive and forget our sins, if we accept it through faith in Jesus Christ. If we do not accept it and continue to call ourselves sinners, we remain separated and do not allow the Holy Spirit to do his job.
Holy Spirit Convicts of Judgement
The final way the Holy Spirit convicts and convinces the world is concerning judgement. this is the link between the above two ways that the Holy Spirit convicts and convinces the world. It is the final outcome of either of the above.
We see in verse 11 that Jesus says,
“…concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.”
The ruler of this world is Satan which I discussed in a previous posts here: The Ruler of This World. He rules this world because man succumbed to sin by listening to his deception and brought himself under the power of the enemy. We enslaved ourselves to the devil and to death when Adam and Eve disobeyed God and listened instead to the voice of Satan.
But we also received the grace of God if we choose to accept it, to escape from the bondage to sin and death and to enter the kingdom of God rather than rot in the kingdom of this world under the rule of Satan. Through Jesus Christ we can escape this world and all it’s defilements and choose to come under the rule of Jesus Christ.
On the Day of Judgement this will become evident to all people. Every person on this world that has ever lived will be judged. Through sin many will be convicted and sent to eternal destruction. Through righteousness other will be convicted and enter eternal life. And Jesus tells us in this section of scripture that it is the working of the Holy Spirit that convicts people either one way or the other.
Those who do not listen when the Holy Spirit convicts them of sin will perish. Those who do listen and repent and come to a knowledge of Jesus Christ will enter life.
The choice is simple. When the Holy Spirit convicts you, be convicted and convinced to take the narrow pathway that leads to life.
(Photo sourced from “www.sxc.hu/” stock.xchng taken by Konrad Baranski)
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