If you are a born-again believer, you have received the free gift of salvation that Christ offers. Not only that, you have received the Holy Spirit who plays a very specific role in your sanctification.
Have you ever wondered
what exactly the Holy Spirit does?
In John 16, we see firsthand what the work of the Holy Spirit entails:
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 judgment: 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. “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. | John 16:7-14
The Holy Spirit is referred to as “the Helper” in verse 7 who was provided to all followers of Christ after the completion of Christ’s earthly ministry and ascension to heaven. The Holy Spirit was given for that specific purpose—to help the believers walk this journey of life and grow more into the likeness of Christ.
The Lord knew that the
earthly walk would not
be easy for his followers
in his absence.
He knew that believers would face trials, temptations, persecution, and so many other things that Satan throws in front of us to detract us from running the race and staying steadfast in following Christ.
Though there are numerous aspects that the Holy Spirit plays in a believer’s life, we see three specific instances here that Christ describes in verse 8:
- He will convict the world concerning sin
- He will convict the world concerning righteousness
- He will convict the world concerning judgement
First, the Holy Spirit
convicts the world of sin.
So what does it mean to be convicted of sin? Conviction of sin is not just the feeling of shame or guilt when a sin is committed, it is not the fear of divine judgement or punishment from God to man, nor is it the understanding of the difference between right and wrong. Conviction of sin is the true realization of how detestable and dreadful sin is in the eyes of a holy, righteous, pure, almighty God.
When we really understand that God cannot and will not have anything to do with sin and He went so far as to sacrifice His Son for the sin of all mankind so that he could have a relationship with us, we have a true conviction of sin. This conviction does not come on our own will but rather thru the work of the Holy Spirit in our life.
Second, the Holy Spirit
convicts the world
To be convicted of righteousness first requires true conviction of sin. Why? Because sin and righteousness are two opposing forces. In order to understand what true righteousness is, we must first understand what is sinful against God. Righteousness is personified in Christ and that is who the Holy Spirit points a person to when convicting of righteousness. What is more righteous that Christ? Nothing! He is perfectly pure, holy, and sinless and therefore the embodiment of righteousness.
So will we ever attain the same perfectness of righteousness that Christ had here on earth? No. But at the same time the Holy Spirit will continue to point us to Him to sanctify us into the image of Christ day by day in our journey of life until we reach our eternal home where we will obtain that perfect righteousness.
Third, the Holy Spirit
convicts the world of judgement.
Just like the previous two, it requires the true conviction of sin, and the true understanding of the standard of righteousness, to have the true conviction of judgement. When an individual has the understanding of how sinful they are compared to how holy, righteous, and perfect God is, they will also realize the judgement that they will face in presence of God because that standard is not met. Guess what? That standard will never be met!
That is what is so amazing about the work of Christ: He took on our sin and imputed to us His righteousness so that we could stand in the presence of a Holy God and still be considered pure in His eyes. It is not about anything we have done, are doing, or will ever do, but rather it is totally and completely about Christ and what He has done once for all to redeem man to God. That is the true work of the Holy Spirit and the message He shares with the world about sin, righteousness, and judgement.