This month, in thinking about the role of the Holy Spirit as pointed out by Christ when He termed the Spirit as the Paraclete, we have considered three ideas.
First, we need to live in the daily awareness of His presence and enjoy the fellowship of the Spirit. Second, we need the Spirit’s illumination to understand revealed truth and to be reminded of revealed truth when we need it, as well as to share it with others. Third, we need to know that as Christian witnesses we live in a divine-human partnership in which the Spirit is also bearing witness alongside us and through our witness.
This last of the Paraclete passages, found in John 16:5–11, puts the focus on the necessity for people to experience the Spirit’s conviction concerning their need and God’s provision.
Jesus clearly warned His disciples that their loyalty to Him would put them at risk of experiencing hostility from the world of unbelievers as they bore witness to Him and His truth. Even so, the coming of the Spirit would give them the advantage in the midst of that hostility.
Among the advantages, Jesus pointed to the fact that the Spirit could be everywhere simultaneously since He would not be limited by a physical body. He also pointed out the added benefit of the Spirit being in them, while He had been with them.
In addition, unlike His own incarnate mission of redemption that was accomplished during His earthly presence, the Spirit would abide with them forever. Furthermore, the Spirit would internalize their religious experience, making it a matter of the heart, not of external law-keeping.
To top it all, He explained that as God-designed temples of the Spirit, they would become conduits through whom God would touch the world.
Their influence in the world would be enhanced by the Spirit’s work of convicting the world of the condemning sin of unbelief (v. 9). The convicting work of the Spirit would also cause people to recognize that Christ has the only righteousness that puts sinners in right standing before God and that He alone possesses a righteousness that God would accept into His heaven (v. 10). Finally, Jesus explained that the Spirit would convict the world of judgment as demonstrated by the judgment that was passed upon Satan, the ruler of this unbelieving world (v. 11).
Being sinners, every person needs to ask three questions: Have I dealt with my unbelief? Have I acted on the conviction that only the righteousness of Christ gains admittance into heaven? Have I abandoned the devil and his ways, knowing his cause is already doomed?
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