In the night before His crucifixion, in John 16:7-11, Jesus gave His disciples some instructions, telling them the following:
John 16:7–11 (NKJV)
7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It’s to your advantage that I go away; for if I don’t go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.
8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
9 of sin, because they don’t believe in Me;
10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more;
11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
In verse 8, we can see the three-fold ministry of the Holy Spirit: to convict the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. It’s amazing how religion in general has twisted this verse to make it sound condemning, when it’s in fact the exact opposite. The Lord Jesus seems to have known that this passage will be misinterpreted, or that it could be misinterpreted, so He went on in the following verses explaining in detail exactly what He meant. In verse 9, it says “of sin” (singular) and not “sins” (plural). The Holy Spirit convicts the world and not believers, of only one sin: the sin of not believing in Jesus. He doesn’t convict the world of all their individual immoral sins, because the conscience already does that. The Holy Spirit doesn’t convict people that are not born again about whether they are drinking, lying, or stealing; that is the conscience’s job. The primary reason for which people will be going to hell is the sin of rejecting Jesus, not their individual sins. This is the direct cause, because the sins of the entire world have been paid for:
1 John 2:2 (NKJV)
2 And He Himself is the propitiation (the atoning sacrifice) for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.
Jesus didn’t die only for the believers that would accept Him, but He also died for the people that maybe will never accept Him. He has already paid for their sins as well.
After you are born again, the Holy Spirit continues to convince you and tell you the same thing, but on the righteousness side of the payment. He tries to convince you that all your past, present, and future sins have been forgiven and removed for you by Jesus’ payment of blood. The Holy Spirit is not the One going around after you everywhere telling you: “You should not do this,” or “You should not have done that.” Some of you have this thinking sometimes, “Oh, the Holy Spirit has been on my case and He’s been telling me all the time I should not do this or that.” No, this is religion that talks to you that you, not the Holy Spirit. It’s your own conscience condemning you and your intuitive knowledge of good and evil, your knowledge of right and wrong. Religion only amplifies these and makes it worse.
Concerning believers, the Holy Spirit continues to convince them basically of the same sin of unbelief and not of individual sins. However, this time, it is not unbelief in Jesus’ payment for their sins, but unbelief in the continuous eternal result of Jesus’ payment for sins, that is unbelief in righteousness. The Holy Spirit is there to convince believers of righteousness. Why? Because Jesus is no longer with them to assure them of this reality. He went to the Father. So, when you sin as a believer, the Holy Spirit is there to ask you: “Do you really believe in Jesus?” You answer: “Yes, I believe.” And He says: “Then you are still righteous and in right standing with God, even if you sinned. You are not condemned. God is not angry with you and you are still in fellowship with Him. And I, the Holy Spirit, am still here with you to help you and to strengthen you. I am on your side no matter what and I love you.”
The Holy Spirit is the Comforter, the Helper and the Builder, not the Accuser. The devil and your conscience are the accusers. The Bible says:
1 John 3:20 (NKJV)
20 For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.
When your own heart condemns you, God is there through the Holy Spirit to tell you that He is greater than that condemnation and He knows all things. He is aware of your failures and sins, but He is greater than those failures.
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