May 23rd 2010

Sin, Judgment And Righteousness

“When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

John 16:8-11 (NIV UK) 

In the last few chapters of John, Jesus takes time with his disciples to tell them about the Holy Spirit, who is especially associated with Pentecost time. The Spirit is a Counsellor, Jesus tells them, who will guide them into all truth. 

The first thing the world is wrong about is sin. The world says sin is about breaking rules. Isn’t that what you’ve always been told? But the Spirit says sin is about unbelief, about refusing to believe in Jesus. 

The second thing the world is wrong about is righteousness. The world says righteousness is about trying to get back to God. But the Holy Spirit says righteousness is about Jesus going to the Father. Notice Romans 3:21-24: “But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” 

The third thing the world is wrong about is Judgment. The world says that judgment spells doom for us. But the Holy Spirit says that judgment spells doom for evil. Romans 8:31-35 reveals, “…If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?…” 

Just as Jesus said, the Holy Spirit exposes the world’s lies and leads us into all truth: Sin is rooted in unbelief, not in rules. Righteousness comes from Jesus on our behalf, not from our own efforts. And judgment is a condemnation of evil, not of those Jesus died and was raised for. As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 3:6, the letter of the law kills, but the Spirit gives life. 


Heavenly Father, thank you for the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit given to us. Truly you promised that we would not be left alone (verse 18), and knowing we have the continuing support of the Comforter gives us courage and peace to live the Christian life to the full.


Study by Joseph Tkach

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