Unseen, unheard and often unnoticed by us, the Holy Spirit is actively revealing truth about Jesus to the people of this world. Jesus told us the Holy Spirit would do this by convincing people of sin, righteousness and judgement.
The Holy Spirit would prove them wrong, convincing and convicting people of the truth by shining the light of truth into their darkness. He comes to convince, convict, prove – but not to condemn. The Holy Spirit sheds light on these things, not to crush us under a burden of guilt, but to help us see clearly so we can respond to God’s love. Of Jesus’ ministry we read, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:17)
Similarly, the Holy Spirit does not condemn people as if there was no hope and no way forward for them. Rather he convicts, proves and convinces people of the truth so they can be saved.
Jesus said they are wrong … about sin, because people do not believe in me. They would not believe Jesus came from God and thought Jesus was the great sinner who needed to be punished. They wrongly saw sin in Jesus but were blind to their own sinfulness.
Jesus said they are wrong … about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer. Righteousness is basically rightness in the eyes of God. The spiritual leaders thought themselves to be right and Jesus to be wrong. Their worship revealed how wrong they were. Jesus looked at how they worshipped and became angry saying, My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of robbers. (Matthew 21:13) They had denigrated worship at the temple. He saw their hypocrisy and called them whitewashed tombs, looking good on the outside but inwardly full of decay. They were wrong about righteousness and this led to their rejection of Jesus.
Jesus said they are wrong – about judgement, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. Having a topsy-turvy view of right and wrong, their judgement was misaligned. If you can’t see straight, then your judgement is impaired. They sat in judgement of Jesus and got it all wrong.
From Jesus’ perspective it was not he who was on trial, but Satan, the prince of this world. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. (Colossians 2:15) The cross of Jesus is an historical peg in the ground marking the beginning of judgement. Satan who had lied, deceived and blinded the people of the world to the truth about sin and righteousness is the first to be judged and condemned. Satan is the first to be judged, but not the last.
We are living in a time of grace where we have a brief moment to respond to the teaching of the Holy Spirit about sin, righteousness and judgement. We need to listen to the Holy Spirit and do something about our spiritual situation. We can accept that God has nailed our sin to the cross and offers us the righteousness of Jesus or we can continue to live in sin and face the consequent judgement for that sin.
For reflection: Pray that the Holy Spirit will help us and others to have a right understanding about sin, righteousness and judgement.
Rev John Malcolm