The last few times, we’ve looked at Jesus’ words that the Holy Spirit will persuade people concerning sin righteousness and judgment [John 16:8 – 11]. The last of those three words is judgment. We don’t have to second guess what Jesus meant, because he added, “the prince of this world is judged”. Jesus didn’t refer to the judgment at the end of the world, or judgment over sin; he was referring to the devil and evil being judged.
Many people, including those in the Western world, live in fear of evil, of demons and devils. Before he went to the cross Jesus exclaimed, “Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out”.
Christ, as the perfect representative of humankind, willingly put himself under Satan’s territory – death. He completely identified with all the evil that hell has to offer, defeated it and triumphed over it once and for all. This is hope for all in a world of despair. When we work with the Holy Spirit, we never talk about how big or powerful the devil is. Instead, our focus is on how Jesus defeated the devil once for all.
Religious fundamentalism is, at the core, intolerant of any contrary opinion. This is true whether we speak of Christian, Muslim or Hindu fundamentalism.
Believers, who work together with the Holy Spirit, are characterized by tolerance towards all people. Notice, I didn’t say tolerance against evil, but tolerance toward people. We’re not offended because people curse or take the name of the Lord in vain. Abortionists, homosexuals, drunkards, drug addicts, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and New Age practitioners do not upset us.
We know that people’s real need is to be persuaded by the Holy Spirit about Jesus Christ, his righteousness and his triumph. We are not so concerned about the symptoms of sin, but the core of the matter – not believing in Jesus Christ.
The quicker we discover how the Holy Spirit works with non-Christians, the quicker we can start to work with the Holy Spirit. That’s how we will realize the spiritual awakening that we so long for.
Suggested Scripture readings: John 16:7–11, John 1:29, 2nd Corinthians 5:18- 19, 1st John 2:1–2, Romans 1:16–17, Romans 5:17, Romans 10:2–4, Colossians 2:13–15.