UNBELIEVERS CONVICTED BY THE OLY SPIRIT
In John 16: 7-11 Jesus said, 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.” Most of our study on the Holy Spirit has been on His relationship to Christians, but in this passage we are informed of His relationship to the world of unbelievers. The text informs us that the chief thing the Holy Spirit was to do for people who were not Christians was reprove or convict them. The word convict is the better translation, for the word reprove means to convict or refute and carries the idea of the shame of the person convicted. It involves authoritative examination, unquestionable proof, and decisive judgment. To convict another person is to place the truth of the case in dispute in a clear light before him so that it must be seen and acknowledged as truth. He then who then rejects the conclusion rejects it with his eyes open and at his own peril. In effect, Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would come and counter-attack those in the world who are not Christians. What would He convict them of? There are three points concerning which all who are not Christians are to be
~. He would convict the world of sin, of righteousness and judgment. In other words He would come to this world and set things straight about Christ.
One thing He was to convict the world of was sin, their sin, and Jesus explained what he meant by the word sin by saying, “because they do not believe in Me.” This word does not refer to the ten commandment sins or any sins of immorality. It refers to one sin people commit against Christ. The sin condemned here is not believing in Christ, and the Holy Spirit visited this earth to convict nonchristians of their guilt for rejecting Christ. The apostle John said that Jesus was in the world, and the world was made y Him, and the world knew Him not and for the most part outright rejected Him. . Ca n you think of any more atrocious treatment than to reject the One who created the world and all things in it? The Holy Spirit was sent to convict the world of their guilt for doing such a thing. The primary reference was to His own nation Israel, but the Gentiles gave Him the same treatment. One of the greatest sins committed by all people who are not Christians is to refuse to believe in Jesus Christ, God's only begotten Son. The supreme sin of mankind, the acme, the greatest sin, the top of the heap, is none other than the rejection of Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world. Jesus said that He would send the Holy Spirit to the earth, and He would show an nbelieving world how guilty they were.If the human race has no other sin to answer for, this single sin will be enough to destroy them. The gentile world. with all their respective religions, philosophies and idealogies do not know that the God of heaven and earth charges them all with being great sinners simply because they did not believe in Jesus and obey Him. By not believing in Christ, the Gentile world has taken the truth away from high school and college students by teacing God did not create the world and human beings are n ot the offspring of God but the offspring of animals. Christ taught the Genesis story of creation is historical truth. The Holy Spirit was sent from heaven as a Prosecutor and Defender of the Christian religion. Unbelieving scientists and other critics of the Bible are no match for the Holy Spirit, for He is the third person in the Godhead.. The murder of Christ stands out as the most appalling blot in human history. The last time the world saw Jesus was on the cross, and God so loved the human race that He sent Jesus to die for the sins of the human race in order that a reconciliation could take place between God and mankind. But ever since His death on the cross, many in the world have been left with the impression that Jesus was either a religious fanatic or an imposter because of the claims He made. If anyone does not believe in Jesus Christ today, he is no better than His own nation and the Roman government who nailed Him to the cross. Heaven sent the Holy Spirit to bring this world to justice for the way they have treated God's Son.
Another thing the Holy Spirit was to convict an unbelieving world with was righteousness. As the first matter of sin against Jesus, so the second matter is about the righteousness of Christ. In addition to refusing to believe Him, they also questioned His righteousness. The Holy Spirit would come to this world and convince the world that Jesus was innocent of all charged made against Him by the Jewish nation and the Roman rulers. He would prove to the world that Jesus was not a blasphemer or false Messiah as charged by the Sanhedren of Israel. He would prove that Jesus did not make claims that were untrue. Rather the Spirit would prove to the world that Jesus was a holy person with a spotless character and that He was the only persons who ever lived that never once violated the will of God. He was the one and only member of the human race who lived a sinless life. He was not a sinner like the world charged Him to be. The Holy Spirit has proved that the world was wrong. He proved to the world that God raised Jesus from the dead and that His resurrection canceled the shameful death of the cross and vindicated the righteousness of Christ. One of the greatest evidences of the holy and righteous character of Christ is that God exalted Him to His own right hand in heaven. He proved to the unbelieving world that the shameful death on the cross was not a discredit to Christ but a crown of glory and that He nailed the sins of the whole world to the cross with Him and made it possible for the entire human race to go to heaven.
The third thing the Holy Spirit would convict the world of was judgment, that is , the judgment to come at the end of the world. He will prove to the world that God has appointed Christ to judge all mankind in righteousness. Christ will determine the destiny of every human being who has ever lived in this world. In Act 17:24-31 Paul was preaching to the philosophers in Athens, Greece and said, “God who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands, nor is He worshiped with men's hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all , life breath and all things. And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth... for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, `We are His offspring....Truly these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from he dead.” The Holy Spirit leaves this thought with an unbelieving world that Christ will determine the destiny of every human being who has ever lived in the world. The Holy Spirit, in this life, has convicted those in the world who have rejected Christ, and at the final judgment Christ will deliver the sentence.
Let us next pass another very important aspect of the Holy Spirit's work. I am sure the question arises, if the Holy Spirit has vindicated the Lord Jesus Christ to an unbelieving world, how did He do it? How was the Spirit to do this work of rebuking, convicting and convincing the world of Christ's true character? Did the Spirit do this work personally and directly by working on the hearts of unbelieving people? No, for no one has ever seen the Holy Spirit. He is an invisible Being. He did all this wonderful work through human agents and in no other way. He convicted the world and verified the true character of Christ through the apostles of Christ. He used the mouth of the apostles to declare the wonderful works of God and the truth about Jesus throughout the first century A.D. During the first century the Holy Spirit supernaturally communicated with the apostles, brought to their memory all Jesus taught them while on the earth, and then guided them into all additional truth that Jesus did not cover during His earthly ministry. The Holy Spirit imparted this divine knowledge only to the apostles, and even gave them them miraculous power to bestow miraculous gifts on certain Christians such as gifts of healing, prophecy, speaking languages they had never learned etc(I Corinthians 12:7-11). These gifts were restricted to the first century A.D. to assist the apostles in vindicating Jesus to an unbelieving world. and to give powerful evidence that the Christian religion is the Kingdom of God on this
earth. All miracles and all miraculous gifts among selected Christians ceased when the last apostle died, for such gifts could be received only by the laying on the hands of an apostle. All those revealed truths and all those miracles in the first century have proven to the world that Jesus was the divine Son of God and that the Christian religion was appointed by God to be the one and only religion for the entire human race. The gift of healing was but one of many miracles used by the Holy Spirit to help vindicate Christ and prove validity of the Christina religion.. The Holy Spirit in the first century vindicated Christ and proved the Christian religion to be God's true religion . He proved these truths one time for all time, and no more miracles are necessary. The Holy Spirit showed to all the world of the first century the righteous and true character of Christ, and those same miracles show to the world in all future times that Christ is God's Son and the Savior of mankind. I have said all of this to answer the question, “How did the Holy Spirit convicted the world for rejecting Christ. I is clear that He used miracles and wonders to convince an unbelieving world. It was successful in spreading the Christian among all nations in the first century and even became the state religion of the Roman Empire about 300 A.D. Those same miracles have s convinced about one-third of the human race in the 21st to believe in Christ and the Christian religion.
Before the apostles died, all knowledge they revealed to the first century world was committed to writing under the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit. All this divinely revealed knowledge is recorded in the 27 books of the New Testament. Today, the Holy Spirit uses the books of the New Testament to show to the world the true character of Christ and the validity of the Christian religion. In order that unbelievers could question or misconstrue anything about the birth, life, death and resurrection of C hrist, the Holy Spirit had four separate biographies of Christ written. All can study those four biographies and make up their own mind.. The way the Holy Spirit convicted the world for rejecting Christ and for charging Him to be a blasphemer and false Messiah, was to allow Christians to perform such great wonders and miracles in the first that none in in their right minds could deny that God was with them.. After the first century ended and miracles ceased, He used this wonderful book we call the New Testament which contains all the wonders and miracles that Christians performed in the first century. All in the world today who have rejected Christ would do well to give careful consideration to the writings in the New Testament Jesus said that He would send the Holy Spirit to them as their helper and comforter. The original Greek word for comforter is who pleads for someone in a court of law. Thus He is a kind of Prosecutor for God and Christ; we may speak of Him as a kind of a Defense Attorney for Christians. He is truly the Defender of the Christian faith. In that sens is our comforter and our helper and pleads the case of Christians against unbelievers who hate Christ and bitterly oppose the kind of life that Christian stand for. What a comforter Christians have to plead their cause to an unbelieving world!
We have two great evidences that the Holy Spirit does not convince people, separate and apart from the word of God as revealed in the Bible. The first is that no person has ever known a single fact about Christ where the Bible or some tradition of it has not gone. If the Spirit works miraculously on the mind separate and apart from the Bible, why doesn't He do so among such nations as Russia, China and the Arabic world? There is no greater need for the direct operation of the Spirit than in lands where the Bible is not believed and has not gone. Moreover, the church Christ established never flourishes where the Bible has not gone. Secondly, no person has ever expressed a single right idea on conversion or salvation that is not already found in the Bible. When people learn from the Bib;le, the Holy Spirit teaches them, and when we follow the teachings of the Bible, the Holy Spirit guides us.