John 16:8-11 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.
Something that I love to do when I’m out in public with large crowds of people is to take a moment, pray and see if Jesus will allow me to see or feel something for a stranger. This is easy to do in the mall, Sporting Events, Movie Theater’s or any other location. I have a hunger to tell people about Jesus. But in my passion for evangelism I also know that it’s important to allow the Holy Spirit to lead me, as the fruit from my labors will be much greater if I do it with Him instead without.
But something I have realized lately is that the Holy Spirit is already working overtime on the hearts of nonbelievers before I ever get to them. In fact, because He neither sleeps nor slumbers, He is speaking to them day and night. This means He’s eternally awake and willing to help. The Holy Spirit longs to reach these people far more than I do and I am passionate about it. Understanding God’s unceasing activity and His deep love for lost people has helped me greatly as I share the gospel with people I don’t know. As I talk with them, I remind myself that God wants to reach them more than I do and has been working on them since their birth.
Jesus said three powerful things in the verse above. He mentioned that when the Holy Spirit comes He will convict the earth of its sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. Jesus goes on into a short commentary on each of those three areas. First, He says the Holy Spirit will convict people of sin because they don’t believe in Him. Without Jesus there is no hope to make it off planet Earth alive in Christ. To live apart from Christ is to die so the Holy Spirit is convicting all of humanity, nobody excluded, of sin. Secondly, He says He will convict them of righteousness because He (Jesus) goes to the Father. Jesus was making it clear that much of their righteousness was based upon His proximity to them and soon He was to be taken away from them. They needed to move beyond their righteousness being in Someone because of proximity only. It’s like a child who changes their behavior when a parent or adult is near and then immediately returns to their negative behavior when the parent/adult leaves the room. Jesus wouldn’t be there in person, which meant that they would have to become strong and strengthen themselves in the Word of God.
And lastly, Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would convict humanity of judgment because the ruler of this world is already judged. Jesus isn’t getting into boasting here (though He surly could), but rather just sharing truth with those standing near Him. The idea is that Satan is already judged, though he hasn’t experienced the full implications of it yet. This is why in the book of Revelation Satan is working so hard to deceive/kill Christians, persecute the Jews and destroy Jerusalem. He knows his time is short and he wants to stay out of prison. The judgment of the devil is a done deal; it’s already been paid in full, it just hasn’t been manifested publicly. It’s the now and not yet Kingdom of God. His judgment has been inaugurated but it hasn’t been consummated. Jesus is alerting non-believers that if they continue to participate with Satan and life in this age, they will be judged right along with it.
You might be thinking, why is this important in relationship to the Holy Spirit. The reason it’s critical is because when we share the Gospel with people, the Holy Spirit is driving these three realities into their hearts long before we get there. Based on these words from Jesus, we can also ascertain that when we fail to talk about sin, righteousness and judgment with non-believers we become irrelevant to the Holy Spirit. This is the Holy Spirit’s primary strategy in reaching the lost and reconciling them with the Father through the death of His Son. We must agree with the Holy Spirit, say what He’s saying and go where He’s going.
Don’t shrink back from understanding the will of God when you’re in these meetings with people. Beloved, God has devised a deliberate plan to reach the nations.
Holy Spirit, help me to be led by You as I encounter the people of my culture. I thank You for those in my life that don’t know You yet, because You are relentless in Your pursuit of them. I agree with You and I ask that You would convict them of sin, righteousness and of judgment. Give me grace to not shrink back from telling others the truth about sin, righteousness and judgment. I believe that as I share what You are already sharing and I go where You are going, that you will bring about the results in Your power. In Jesus Name, help me be a faithful witness.