Conviction by the Spirit


John 16:8-11  And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:  concerning sin, because they do not believe in me;  concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer;  concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

What is the Holy Spirit?  Is it a force?  Something that makes people act crazy in church?  Maybe it’s our conscience?  A ghost? What is the purpose of the Holy Spirit?  What does the Bible say?

First, the point must be made that the Holy Spirit is not an “it”, but a “He”, the third distinct person of the Trinity.  The Holy Spirit is God, just as Jesus is God and the Father is God. His purpose is unique and He moves in the lives of people to make things happen.  Jesus spoke of the Holy Spirit when He was about to ascend back into heaven.  He pointed out that once He was gone we’d still have God with us because we’d be given the Spirit.  But so few of us understand what this means.

If you’re a believer, it’s only because you were first called by the Holy Spirit.  God was working in your life to reconcile you to a right relationship with Him.  You and I don’t have it in us to move towards God without Him initiating.  Our sinful nature makes us want to move away from God, not towards Him.

The Spirit convicts the world of sin (makes us aware of our sinful nature and need for forgiveness), of judgment (to show us the penalty that has to be paid for our sin), and of righteousness (to show us the character of God and all that’s good).  Jesus no longer walks among us as our example for what righteousness and holiness are, so the Holy Spirit’s job is to reveal them to us. It’s also His job to reveal God’s character to other people through us by enabling us to show the Fruit of the Spirit. Lives are changed by the work of the Holy Spirit, who glorifies Jesus.