THE MINISTRY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT TO UNBELIEVERS

Bible Reading: John 16:5-15

But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper [Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor – Counsellor, Strengthener, Standby] will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him (the Holy Spirit) to you [to be in close fellowship with you]. And He, when He comes, will convict the world about [the guilt of] sin [and the need for a Saviour], and about righteousness, and about judgment” [John 16:7-8 Amplified Bible]

In the last days together with His disciples Jesus had been preparing them for His imminent departure. He had talked with them about the coming of the Holy Spirit. He had told them that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth, and that He would be both with them and in them. He also promised not to leave them as orphans [John 14:16-18]. Now, in John chapter sixteen Jesus speaks of three specific aspects of the ministry of the Holy Spirit to unbelievers.

Firstly, He will convict them of sin and call them to repentance. The word convict is a Greek word ‘elencho.’ It is a legal term that means to pronounce a guilty verdict. It therefore defines justice and fixes responsibility. We cannot convict sinners of guilt but the Holy Spirit can. He both works through His presence in our lives and directly into the lives of unbelievers. Billy Graham once spoke of Raymond V. Edman, President of Wheaton College, as a man who was so godly that he would find the move from earth to heaven to be an easy transition! When people met him they sensed God’s holiness and their own sinfulness. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to bring people to a sense of guilt because of sin.

Secondly, He will reveal God’s standard of righteousness. It was expressed in Jesus, but He would return to His Father. Though men see Him no longer, His righteous character would continue to be displayed in the Christ like lives of His children, indwelt and filled with the Holy Spirit. We should, by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, exhibit the gap between sinners and the Lord.

Thirdly, the Holy Spirit, through the lives of believers, will convince the world of judgment to come. Jesus defeated Satan through His death on the cross and His resurrection, and the reality of this should be seen in believers who live in the power of Christ’s resurrection. This will demonstrate to people that Satan and his worldly system is an empty sham. In His book, “The Daily Devotional Commentary,” Lawrence O. Richards says, “There is nothing you and I can do to convict the world we live in. It is our lives, infused by the Spirit’s power, and displaying heaven’s grace, that boldly proclaim the judgment of God.”

A Question:

Does the Holy Spirit so control my life that it convicts those I meet of sin, of God’s righteousness, and of the emptiness of this world? If this is not the case, then what is necessary for me to do, in order to more accurately portray the life of Jesus to those around me?