The third thing is, he will convict you;

‘When (the Spirit) comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment’ John 16:8

It is important to note that none of us would be Christians at all if it were not the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

‘Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit’ – John 3:5

‘He saved is through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.’ Titus 3:5

These verse indicate that we are born again as a result of the Spirit’s work. John 15:26 says that the Holy Spirit would testify to the world about Christ. But now we see another aspect of the Spirit’s ministry: bringing conviction of sin. He reveal man’s sin and that compels man to seek God’s mercy through the work of Christ on the cross.

Therefore, we know that no man will come to Christ until he recognizes his sinfulness. In John 16:8 Jesus told his disciples that when the Spirit came he would convict the world of sin.

Condemning the Heart

The key to understanding verse 8 is the Greek word translated “reprove” (elegch[ma]o). It has two meanings–condemn and convince. In the first sense it speaks of convicting with a view toward judgment or sentencing. It’s a courtroom term. The judge used it to declare guilt and pronounce judgment. The Holy Spirit reproves men by declaring them guilty. Men merit that condemnation because they have rejected Jesus Christ. Although it is the Holy Spirit who makes the declaration, His is not the One who carries out the condemnation. That responsibility belongs to Jesus Christ Himself (John 5:27-29).

Convincing the Heart

Elegch[ma]o can also mean “convince.” The Holy Spirit condemns men and He convinces them that they need Jesus Christ. The convincing ministry of the Holy Spirit precedes the condemning ministry–if we do not respond to convincing we will be condemned. We are convinced by the Holy Spirit when we have a subjective realization of guilt. But why does the Holy Spirit want us to grasp the full realization of our sinfulness? Because an awareness of our sinfulness bring us to an understanding of our need for a Saviour.

Holy Spirit reveals our sin that we see and act upon our need. Through an awareness of our need we are driven to Christ as the answer to that need. So the ministry of convincing is an act of love. Without it, man would continue on a course to hell.

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