Convict the World of Sin
July 14, 2022
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 (John 16:8-11).
The word ‘sin’ is hamartias. It means ‘offence’, ‘missing the mark’, ‘wronging God’. Here the reference is not just to sin in general, as the above meanings indicate, but more specifically to the act of rejecting Jesus as the Christ of God. Together with the word ‘convict’, Jesus said in this phrase, And when He comes (the Holy Spirit), He will prove the world wrong concerning sin. There are so many misinterpretations and misunderstandings concerning what this phrase means.
More than expressing a judicial act of God in condemning humanity for doing what is wrong, this phrase refers to the Holy Spirit’s work in opening the understanding of a person to the reality of sin - what sin really is - and convincing the person of their need for a Savior. (1 Corinthians 14:23-25) Therefore if the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you are out of your mind? But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all. And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you. In other words, if Christians focus on the spiritual gift of languages and interpretation of languages, what good is that to a non-believer? But if the Christians focus on ‘prophecy’ (the speaking of God’s truth) the non-believer is convicted by that truth because Christians speak about Jesus Christ, the one who came to save us from sin and its judgment.
The truth is, everyone has a sense of ‘falling short’, ‘missing the mark’, or the sense of doing what is wrong. But without the work of the Holy Spirit, they don’t understand what wrong is, why they do what is wrong, that there are consequences for doing wrong, what those consequences are, and what the remedy is for the wrong they do and the consequences thereof. These realities are brought out of the shadows of ignorance and confusion and into the light of truth by the Holy Spirit who points the person to Jesus Christ who has defined these realities in His life and teaching.
I once had a Sunday School teacher who believed and taught that sin was relevant - what is sin for me may not necessarily be sin for you. He didn’t believe in absolutes. Jesus defines sin as not believing in the truth of God as ultimately revealed in Him, the Word of God, and the Holy Spirit. It’s not just ‘doing’ what is wrong, but not ‘believing’ what is right as God defines it in Jesus Christ. (John 3:17-18) For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe (in Him) is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. Amen.