Sin, Righteousness & Judgment

 
Jesus’ discourse in John 16:7-11 describes something very important about the Holy Spirit’s work:  “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 depart, I will send Him to you.  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.”

According to this passage, three important tasks of the Holy Spirit include: Convincing the world of its sin and calling it to repentance, showing the standard of God’s righteousness to anyone who believes because Jesus would no longer be present on earth, and demonstrating Christ’s judgment over Satan.

A good word to use instead of “convict” is “convince.”  To summarize these verses we can accurately say, “When we confess our sin, God declares us righteous and delivers us from judgment for our sins.”  To further lend understanding, let’s look at it this way:

1.           The Holy Spirit initially draws us to Christ by convincing us we are sinners who need salvation.  I was drawn to Christ when I was convicted of my sinful condition before God, and was wonderfully converted at the age of 14.

 
2.           THEN, the same Holy Spirit Who convicted me about my sins, put upon me the righteousness of Jesus!  Now the Spirit convicts (convinces) me continually; He reminds me when I sin and when I don’t sin that I AM HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS.

To answer this question, the Holy Spirit, in the initial experience of conversion, convicts us of sin.  He then immediately places upon us Jesus’ robe of righteousness.  Subsequently, we no longer are what sin says we are, but who God says we are.  The Spirit works continually to convince us of our righteous standing.  In other words, sin no longer has dominion over us, but now we walk in His righteousness.  At salvation, we are cleansed by the blood.  Afterwards, we must see ourselves as saved, washed, cleansed, delivered, healed, etc.

Do you know what I often hear from already saved people?  They say things like, “I’m bad,” “I’m not worth anything,” “I don’t deserve God’s goodness,” or “I’m bound by (whatever)…” Usually, these people admit they’ve been saved, but they experience difficulty walking in the righteousness of Christ.  So, the Holy Spirit works tirelessly to show them (convince them) of God’s better way.  Before we receive salvation, we can rightfully say, “I am a sinner.”  The Holy Spirit then convinces us of our need for salvation.  Afterwards, however, we should learn to say, “I’m righteousness.   Not perfect–but righteousness!”   Many believers continue to sow into their already forgiven sins after they come to Christ!  Their walk is characterized by shame, unhealthy guilt, condemnation and fear.  They live in a perpetual state of unfounded rejection.

When we receive and understand this revelation, the same Holy Spirit who initially exposed our sinful condition, now teaches us how to live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world” (Titus 2:17).  The Spirit is a teacher, Who works continuously to convince us of the dynamics of the imputed righteousness of Christ which was placed upon us at conversion.

To summarize, the Holy Spirit both convicts of sin and righteousness!

  

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