It sure is a good thing Jesus went away. I know that to be true, because he said so.
I was reading in John 16 this morning, pondering Jesus’ monologue to the disciples. He is about to die, knows it, and considering that reality, is pouring his heart out to the disciples.
In John 16:5, Jesus told the disciples he was leaving, going to the one who sent him. Again, in John 16:16, he told them that in just a little while they would no longer see him. Sandwiched between those two statements lies a fascinating series of statements on the work of the Holy Spirit, beginning with this …
But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. – John 16:7, NIV-1978
I would think that the ultimate good would be to be with Jesus forever, right? I mean we talk about that often. We want to be with Jesus forever – to be where he is. But Jesus says, “No, it is better for you that you not be with me, because if I don’t go away, the Holy Spirit cannot come. THAT is what’s better.”
So, if Jesus goes away, and the Holy Spirit/Comforter/Counselor comes, what happens? Well, what happens is a whole lot of conviction.
“And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:” (John 16:8)
Conviction Regarding Sin
“concerning sin, because they do not believe in me;” (John 16:9).
Here we will do a semi-deep dive into a theological concept that will cause some of you to disagree with me, and some may even label me a heretic. That’s fine. It’s been said before. Yet, I am convinced this is truth.
All sin but one has been forgiven. It’s a done deal. Gone.
He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. – 1 John 2:2, NIV-1978
The only sin that condemns men and women today is the sin of unbelief. The forgiveness is already there, but so many refuse to pick it up, to embrace it, to believe. Light has come into the world, yet we choose to love and live in darkness because our deeds are evil (John 3:19).
Do not miss what Jesus said about the Spirit’s conviction. Of what is the world convicted? Unbelief! And that truth weighs heavy on the body of Christ, because the Spirit of God is with us, in us, and that Holy Spirit conviction will come to the world only when we take the message of Jesus to those who do not believe.
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’ – Romans 10:14-15, NIV-1978
How are your feet?
Conviction Regarding Righteousness
“concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer;” (John 16:10).
Note that the Holy Spirit is convicting the world of righteousness, not unrighteousness. The wagging finger of guilt shaken in the face of the world is the finger of humanity, not the finger of God. Too many in the body of Christ appear to delight in shaming the world, pointing out their many sins. Of course they sin! They’re in the world! What’s worse is we sin and we are in Christ!
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21, NIV-1978). The Spirit of God convicts the world of righteousness as Christ’s righteousness is lived out in his body of believers. The world sees the righteousness of Jesus by the Spirit of God, only when they see that righteousness in us. Thus, we keep our behavior excellent among the unbelieving so that God may be glorified as a result of that (1 Peter 2:2).
Conviction Regarding Judgment
“concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged” (John 16:11).
Jesus sealed the judgment of Satan through his death and resurrection (John 12:31). Satan may indeed be the prince of this world for now, but he is a prince that stands condemned and defeated.
I have noted, over the last decade, a rise in the display of occult symbols, and satanic tokens, whether it’s the Baphomet, pentagrams, or the latest craze in Hollywood and the music industry of covering one eye (an Illuminati thing). I’m sure there are varying levels of awareness in those participating, and that for many of them, it’s faddish, and this is what’s “cool” right now. It’s cool to be a “bad boy” or “bad girl.”
If the preaching of the cross is foolishness to the world (because in their eyes, we’re worshiping a defeated, dead guy), then aligning with the defeated prince of this world is completely asinine. That is the judgment of which the Holy Spirit of God will convict the world.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes – Romans 1:16a, ESV
Get your “beautiful feet” moving brothers and sisters. “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and instruction” (2 Timothy 4:2, NIV-1978).
Delight yourself in sharing the gospel. Speak truth to your neighbor and allow the Spirit of God to bring about the fruit of conviction.