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Jesus’ Decisive Explanation of the Holy Spirit’s Work

What exactly is the Holy Spirit going to accomplish in the lives of his disciples? Jesus answers this question in John 16:5-15. Jesus has promised the eleven in John 14 that he is going to send the Advocate to them so that they are not left alone even though he must leave. But Jesus’ leaving is for their benefit. The Advocate will come which will benefit these disciples and the whole world. Jesus comes back to the discussion concerning the Advocate in John 16. So what is the Holy Spirit going to do? What is the work of the Holy Spirit?

The Work of the Spirit: Convict (16:8-11)

Jesus says that the work of the Holy Spirit is to convict. The Holy Spirit is going to show that all people are guilty. This is a critically necessary work. No one is going to look for salvation from sins until they are convicted. Jesus says that the Advocate will come and convict the world concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment.

First, the Spirit will convict the world as guilty in regard to sin. God has to teach us what sin is. Without the revelation of God we would never know what God’s law is or that we have violated God’s law. But do not merely think of sin as simply lawbreaking. Jesus adds to what sin looks like in our lives. Sin comes from unbelief (16:9). This is the picture Jesus gives: God has sent Jesus into the darkness, calling for reconciliation to the Father and declaring the cost of reconciliation. But Jesus finds humans unwilling to respond to God’s love. The problem was clearly stated in John 3:19 where the verdict was decreed: “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19 NIV) This is the convicting work of the Holy Spirit. Show the world that they are in the darkness and guilty regarding their actions. People have rejected Jesus, loving the darkness rather than believe in Jesus.

We will continue to look at the convicting work of the Holy Spirit and the other works Jesus says the Spirit will accomplish in the next posts.

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