5 “But now I am going to Him who sent Me; and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 But 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.
8 And He, when He comes, will convict [convince] the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; 11 and concerning judgment [krisis – determination, distinguish], because the ruler of this world has been judged.” John 16:5-11
As Jesus introduces the Holy Spirit to the disciples in John 14-16, He defines for them various roles that the Holy Spirit will play in the life of the new covenant believer. One of the most important is the role of convicting the world. This Greek word for convict is elegchoe and it means to prove or convince one in the wrong and thus to shame him.
Jesus says that He must leave so that the Holy Spirit will come to do this great work on behalf of the entire world. This work is necessary so that just as Jesus came to reveal the light in the midst of darkness, the Holy Spirit would continue to expose darkness through the light of the Gospel.
Conviction of sin
Experiencing God cannot take place without this holy work of God. The conviction of the world concerning sin (hamartia – an offense in relation to God with emphasis on guilt) is necessary to bring one to faith. In Romans 4:23b, Paul states, “and whatever is not from faith is sin.”
Once a person recognizes his need for a solution to sin and guilt, Christ’s work on Calvary becomes evident. It is faith (trust) in the substitutionary work of Jesus that provides the victory over sin and the door to spiritual life.
In his message at Pentecost, Peter said in Acts 2:36,
“Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified”.
In response to this conviction, verse 37 says that the people were “pierced to the heart”, acknowledging their responsibility and therefore asked Peter what they should do about it. Peter responded, “Repent [change the mind, reverse direction], and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”. He was telling them that the Law of Moses was no longer the avenue to God, but faith in Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah.
In Romans 6:8-11,
“Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
The victory over sin is experienced as the believer considers himself dead to sin in identification with Jesus’s death.
Convince of righteousness
Jesus was tried by both Jews and Romans and found guilty as a criminal, and then sentenced to crucifixion. One of the two thieves crucified with Him recognized that Jesus was not a criminal like he was, saying in Luke 23:41,
“And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.”
The centurion observing the crucifixion exclaimed “Truly this was the Son of God!” The Holy Spirit is the one who convinces men of the righteousness of Christ. The Apostle Paul, who had a similar experience on the Damascus Road in Acts 9, utilized the description “in Christ” or “in Him”, more than 100 times in his letters as defining the relationship of the believer to Christ. In 2Corinthians 5:21, he states, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him”. Although Jesus was no longer here, His righteousness would be experienced within the spiritual connection to Christ.
The Jews had a problem with this since they thought they could derive their own righteousness by keeping the Law. Paul exposes the shortcoming of this thinking in Romans 10:2-4,
“For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes”.
Paul further explains in Romans 4:4-6 that righteousness cannot be earned, but must be a gift, a by-product of faith in God. Isaiah spoke of this righteousness in Isaiah 45:24-25,
“They will say of Me, ‘Only in the Lord are righteousness and strength.’ Men will come to Him, and all who were angry at Him will be put to shame. In the Lord all the offspring of Israel will be justified and will glory.”
Convince of judgment
The basic meaning of krisis is a legal judgment resulting in punishment, In John’s Gospel, the meaning and intention of judgment shifts to God’s interest in setting things in their proper place. In John 3:17,
“For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him”. The work of Jesus on the cross was intended to “destroy the works of the devil” [1John 3:8].
For the rest of us, He wishes to put things in their proper order. This responsibility to judge belongs to Jesus alone (James 4:12) and the warning is sent forth throughout the New Testament not to become a judge of others. In verse 11,
“Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it”.
In 1 John 5:19, we are told, “We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one”. The impact of that power is the continued corruption and disruption of things from their proper place. As a result, the Holy Spirit’s work of conviction is an ongoing work and the Lord wishes to rescue His loved ones from the effects of sin in the world. In John 12:31,
“Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out”.
Paul tells us that,
“the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law”.
The discipline of the Lord is necessary to bring the believer not being led by the Holy Spirit.
“5 and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, “MY SON, DO NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD, NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM; 6 FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES” [Prov 3:11-12]. 7 It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline [paideuo – to train children]?
8 But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. 11 All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness”. Hebrews 12:5-11
The writer of Hebrews introduces this principle by quoting Proverbs 3:11-12, indicating that this work addresses “My son” and “those whom the Lord loves”. When believers are taught that the Lord is a hard taskmaster, then any conversation about the Lord’s discipline produces real fear. In fact, the Lord ties discipline or training to sonship since no discipline suggests illegitimate children.
This passage also tells us that a father’s discipline produces respect while our heavenly Father’s training brings us into life, zao which is referencing the benefits of eternal life. One of those benefits is that “we may share in His holiness” and ultimately, “the peaceful fruit of righteousness”. It is a partnership with the Lord in cleansing ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, thus perfecting His holiness as the believer fears the Lord (2Corinthians 7:1).
Highway of Holiness
“8 A highway will be there, a roadway, and it will be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean will not travel on it, but it will be for him who walks that way, and fools will not wander on it. 9 No lion will be there, nor will any vicious beast go up on it; these will not be found there. But the redeemed will walk there, 10 And the ransomed of the Lord will return and come with joyful shouting to Zion, with everlasting joy upon their heads. They will find gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.” Isaiah 35:8-10
The above passage is a prophesy of the coming Kingdom age, but it also defines for each new covenant believer the value of allowing the Lord to bring him into a depth in the relationship as defined by “the Highway of Holiness”. This believer finds gladness and joy where sorrow and sighing flee away. It happens when he recognizes that the Lord’s discipline is “for our good”.
Ordained in 1994, planted a church in Northeast Ohio in 1998, spent 12 years as its pastor, have had a ministry to nursing homes for 15 years until Covid hit in March 2020, spent 3 years ministering to recovering men at Salvation Army. With all the Covid restrictions, God has led me to write blogs, a brand new way to communicate the messages He gives me.