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"But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. When He comes, He will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment; about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment because the prince of this world is judged.'" John 16:7-11 NIV.
"...Good that I am going away?" How could it be good for the disciples that Jesus was leaving them? When someone dear and close leaves through relocation or death, there is a sense of loss and abandonment that no other person can fill. The passage of time may ease the pain but the emptiness the person leaves does not go away.
What was Jesus talking about? An Advocate, a Helper, another person just like Him who was being sent to fill the gap He was leaving? How could that be? Could anyone replace Him in their lives and in their affection?
At that moment a plan, put in place before the foundation of the world, was being played out in history, which involved all three persons of the Trinity. In perfect unity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit had their part to play in the unfolding drama of redemption. It was the Father's role to set up the intricate details of the plan, the Son's to carry it out and the Holy Spirit's to administer the benefits of redemption in the lives of those who believe.
If Jesus did not leave and make way for the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers, His work on the cross would remain theory and there would be no one to release the power for it to become reality in anyone. Therefore Jesus had to say, 'It is good that I am going away...' After the cross there was nothing more for Him to do on earth. He had other roles to fulfil from the realm of heaven. He would return to the Father to take up His role as Mediator at the right hand of God (1 Timothy 2:5). He must reign until He had put all His enemies under His feet (1 Corinthians 15:25).
From the moment of His advent on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit would be in the world and live in the believer. Jesus took the opportunity in the final hours before His death to explain the place the Holy Spirit would have in their lives and in the world after He had gone.
1. He has an important task in the unbelieving world -- to convince the world of sin and to point people to the only one who has removed sin and opened the way for reconciliation with the Father. It is never the Holy Spirit's nature or task to accuse. Conviction is not about accusation -- it is about revelation --opening up the mind and conscience of the unbeliever to his state before God and convincing him that Jesus Christ is God's solution to the alienation sin has brought about between man and God.
2. To the believer, the Holy Spirit is the Paracletos -- the one called alongside to lift the tottering child of God when he is weighed down by burdens or smarting from the devil's accusations. Once again, it is not the Holy Spirit's nature to accuse. He convinces the mind and heart of God's people that we are righteous, not sinners, so that we can become what we already are. There is no motivation to change in accusation or condemnation.
"...There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus because, through Christ Jesus, the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death" Romans 8:1 NIV.
In God's eyes we have no past -- all our sin has been forgiven, past, present and future and we are free to become what we already are -- beloved sons and daughters of the Father.
3. The Holy Spirit has only one word for "the prince of this world," judgment! It is the only word he ever hears and the only word he can pass on to us -- hence he is the accuser, but his accusation only reflects back on him, not on us because we are the righteousness of God in Christ.
How important that we identify the internal voices we hear and respond in the appropriate way. The accuser resist by submitting to God (James 4:7); the Holy Spirit respond by submitting to Him. He is urging you on to become what you are, righteous, beloved children of God.
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