What the Holy Spirit Says About Sin; You May Be Surprised!
If we think it is important to give the gospel to the world, we do well to ask the obvious question: how does the Holy Spirit relate to the world, especially those who do not know Christ.
There’s no higher authority to answer this question than Jesus Christ, who said that the Spirit convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgment, [John 16:7 – 11]. This could mean different things to different people. Fortunately Jesus explained exactly what he meant by these three words: sin, righteousness and judgment.
To convict is to persuade, to bring evidence. While a prosecutor in court accuses a person, the Holy Spirit persuades by providing positive evidence. Since we work with the Holy Spirit, we should never be involved in accusations against individuals or a society. Our task is to positively persuade people about Christ. So, what exactly does it mean to convict or persuade concerning sin, righteousness and judgment?
The Law of Moses convicted people concerning rules that they had broken. To them sin was transgression of the Law – a broken rule. Jesus introduced a whole new definition - sin is a broken relationship. Adam severed relationship with God in the Garden of Eden and the prodigal broke off relationship with his father, in the famous story told by Jesus.
Jesus said that the sin is that “they do not believe in Me”. The Holy Spirit is interested in people believing in Christ. Too many Christians erroneously think that the Holy Spirit is busy trying to expose the sins of individuals or in society. Not at all! The only sin that Jesus exposed was the self-righteousness among religious leaders, who tried to make it difficult for ordinary people to find God’s grace.
Saul of Tarsus was a terrorist, hurting a lot of people, but when he encountered Jesus he heard the words; “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting”. There was not a hint of a suggestion that Saul had broken the 10 Commandments or any other religious rules. Jesus was concerned about their relationship – Saul was persecuting Jesus. There’s hardly anything I’ve ever written about that has brought more criticism than this. Religion has deeply ingrained in people’s psyche that the Holy Spirit convicts people of their individual sins, while Jesus is clear that the Holy Spirit convicts us concerning our relationship with him.
Philip preached in the city of Samaria where witchcraft was prevalent. Still, he didn’t convict or condemn the people concerning the evils of witchcraft - he preached Christ. In Corinth, Paul did not condemn or convict about the sins of the city – idolatry, prostitution, immorality, to mention just a few – but he preached Christ and his work on the cross. Both Philip and Paul were working with the Holy Spirit, and we do well to follow their example. Sadly, we are often known more for what we are against and what we are for. We don’t hammer the sinner regarding his or her sins – we present Jesus Christ.