In the book of John 14-18 we see Jesus Christ withdrawing from public ministry to concentrate on His disciples. In chapter 16 He promises to send them a helper because it is not His intention to leave them as orphans. This helper will also be their counselor. He explains to them the necessity for His departure although they are distressed - that it is the way to His promotion and the way to bring glory to the Father. To them therefore, He promises the comforter, the Holy Spirit, through whom Christ’s work and the believer’s ministry will be effective. It is also through this same Spirit of God that unbelievers will be reached by the Gospel. The Holy Spirit’s work in the world can therefore be seen as that of conviction, righteousness and judgment.
Conviction is the prerequisite for repentance so that the sinner may repent of his inequities; it silences the world’s objection against the Gospel. It is conviction by the Holy Spirit that a sinner becomes guilty and repents and moves to the next level of salvation. However, repentance is a lifelong activity for all as we die daily to the self after salvation. The Holy Spirit’s work is therefore to call sinners to God and He warns against people’s unbelief in Hebrews 3:8, ‘Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert’.
God calls people to Himself all the time. In Revelation 3:19-20 we see how He relentlessly does this, ‘Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him and he with me.’ To us all is a still, small, voice which sometimes calls our attention to things that we are neglecting in our lives; that voice that sometimes keeps us sleepless and tossing at night. All those that fail to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ remain in their sinful nature. . In Acts 2:37 after Peter had explained to the about Christ, they were cut to the heart and inquired of the disciples what they could do. This kind of reaction from the people could only have been made possible by the convicting power of the Holy Spirit.
It is this same Spirit of God who convicts the believer to the righteousness of Jesus Christ. We cannot desire the righteousness of Jesus Christ, it can only be achieved through the Holy Spirit and in this way we identify with Him. We cannot gain righteousness by our works but only through salvation in Jesus Christ and that by faith. We must be able to confess our sins after we are convicted of them so that conversion occurs. There is therefore no conversion without conviction and no conviction apart from the Holy Spirit.
When one is convicted then one stands to be judged. Satan lost victor at the cross because of the blood of Jesus that was shed. The Holy Sprit helps to show the sinner that his unbelief is like that of satan who was defeated at the cross. The unbeliever must therefore leave the company of the defeated one and join the conqueror Jesus Christ and it is the Spirit of God who persuades sinners to confess their sins. He is that small voice that convicts us.
The final judgment of the enemy, satan, will come soon. Revelation 20 talks of how he will be taken into the lake of fire; unfortunately alongside him will be all those that failed to believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of their lives. Satan has already been condemned and nothing will change this.
If non-believers listen to that small voice of the Holy Spirit which convicts them of their sins, then they will be able to see their sins and inequities for what they are and repent. Because it is only the Holy Spirit who makes people see just how lost they are.
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