“Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. 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 16:7-11 NKJV)
In modern terms, Jesus might have been accused of “vaguebooking” as He dealt with the disciples. Even though He’d talked about His upcoming crucifixion and resurrection openly before, He talked about going away and then coming back and going back to the Father and I’m pretty sure that the disciples were confused. Then, Jesus taught about the coming of the Holy Spirit, and this part is clear: when the Holy Spirit comes, He will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment. The conviction of sin focuses on the separation from God caused by unbelief. The conviction of righteousness deals with the relationship we have with the Father. In judgment, the ruler of this world will be judged.
In short, things aren’t right with the world. As the Holy Spirit works in our lives, we begin to recognize what’s wrong. We see sins in our own lives, and recognize that the main reason we sin is our lack of belief. We see sin in the world and realize that people are separated from God, at their own choice, because they refuse to believe in Jesus. Righteousness deals with our relationship with God, and just as sin is a result of a lack of belief, our relationship with God isn’t what it should be because of that lack. The closer we are to God, the better our relationship grows and the more righteousness we exhibit. That righteousness, though, shouldn’t display itself pridefully. Instead, the more righteous we are, the more humility we show, knowing that God alone is in control of all things. Judgment is reserved for the Prince of Darkness – the (temporary) ruler of this world. As the Holy Spirit works in and through us, we’ll see that people recognize their own sin and their own need for God in their lives. Some will rebel and act in hatred, trying to suppress anyone or anything that reminds them of their sin. Others will recognize God’s presence and turn to God for His help. Our job is to get out of the way and let the Holy Spirit do His work.
Lord, the world needs Your presence today. Thank You for sending Your Holy Spirit to bring conviction to people who need a relationship with You. Use me to show them Your love and grace and keep me from interfering with Your work.