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 depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, 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.
The Greek word used for convict in the passage is ELEGCHO meaning: I reprove, rebuke, discipline, I expose, show to be guilty. to convince with solid, compelling evidence, especially to expose (prove wrong, connect).
I have heard many Christians talk about how they are convicted by the Holy Spirit and so I’ve decided to look at the Bible to see if this is in fact what the Holy Spirit does to believers. Is the Holy Spirit going around accusing Christians of wrong doings and making them feel guilty?
In the passage from John 16 above, it tells us that the Holy Spirit is convicting the world of three things, sin, righteousness and judgement. Who is the world? The Bible uses the term world to refer to those people who do not believe in God. These are the lost people who do not know or believe in Jesus. The terms used in the Bible to refer to Christians are: Christian, disciple, brother/sister, saint, believer, “follower of the way” and Nazarene.
“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
The three things the Holy Spirit convicts the world of are:
- Sin (Note it’s singular)
“of sin, because they do not believe in Me”
The one sin the Holy Spirit convicts the world of is that they do not believe in Jesus. As a Christian, a believer in Jesus, it makes no sense to apply this verse to yourself. The Holy Spirits is not going around convicting people of all their individual wrong doings, He is pointing them to Jesus who took the sins of the world. To reject Jesus, the remover of our sins, by not believing in Him is the one thing that can condemn us.
1 John 2:2
And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.
2 Corinthians 5:19
that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
“of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more”
Our righteous is through Jesus’ finished work on the cross. He is with the father continually interceding for us and covering us with His righteousness. Jesus makes us righteous before God the Father.
Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
1 John 2:1
My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
2 Corinthians 5:21
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
The world proclaims themselves righteous through their own good works. The Bible is clear that we are unable to be righteous in ourselves, we need Jesus.
But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.
“of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.”
The judgement spoken of here is not the final judgement of mankind, this is that the devil has been judged. Jesus defeated the devil on the cross and the world needs to know this. The devil has lost and to follow his influence will result in the same fate.
1 John 3:8
He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.
Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.
We see from these points that the Holy Spirit is not going around accusing believers and making them feel guilty. The Bible tells us that it is the devil who accuses us.
Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.
In Jesus we are not condemned but set free from sin and death.
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. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
This does not mean that we sin because God forgives us! Sin has consequences in this world, it gives the devil an opportunity to undermine our lives and destroys our relationships with other people. God does not hold our sins against us but they can still kill us! Let’s live focused on Jesus and free from sin.
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin.
The Holy Spirit is our Helper, in Greek PARAKLETOS: an advocate, intercessor, a consoler, comforter, helper.
However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.