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When He, The Holy Spirit, Comes 

In the sixteenth chapter of the gospel of John, Jesus tells His disciples that it is to their advantage that He go away because if He does not, the Helper (Gr. Paracletos, "one called alongside to help," or, "Intercessor"), the Holy Spirit, shall not come. He reveals in these passages that the goal of the Holy Spirit's ministry in the world would be toward both believers and unbelievers.


His Ministry To Believers

"But when He, the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He shall glorify Me; for He shall take of Mine, and shall disclose it to you" (Jo. 16:13-14).

This "Helper," the third Person of the Godhead would: (1) guide them into all truth pertaining to God's purpose in Christ regarding salvation by grace and eternal life in Him; (2) prophetically divulge what is to come and; (3) not draw awareness to Himself but selflessly glorify Jesus Christ.

Of course one way through which He executed this three-fold work is His inspiration (Gr. theopneustos, "God-breathed") of the New Testament Scriptures; written and preserved for the education and edification of subsequent generations of true believers. To the end that through the individual believer's diligent, but prayerful, study of these inspired Scriptures, the Holy Spirit personally discloses to them the spiritual realities of divine truths regarding Christ, salvation and prophetic events to come.

His Ministry To The World

"And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you no longer behold Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged" (Jo. 16:8-11, imphasis mine).

"Concerning Sin - Because they do not believe in Me"

Rejection of Jesus Christ is the ultimate, most fatal sin of all. Merrill C. Tenny calls this sin, "the product of an ingrained distaste for righteousness. It is the deliberate refusal of God's will." And this refusal cannot be attributed simply to ignorance, or misfortune, or fate; but because Christ is self-authenticating, says Dr. Tenney, "those who reject Him do so because they do not want Him."

"Concerning Righteousness - Because I go to the Father"

Jesus Christ is called in Scripture the "Last Adam," and unlike the first Adam through whom came death, condemnation and judgment to all men (Rom. 5:12-21), the "Last Adam is a "life-giving spirit" (1Cor. 15:45). His bodily resurrection and subsequent ascension back to the Father was the ultimate proof that He was/is the perfect pattern for righteousness, accepted by the Father.

"Concerning Judgment - Because the ruler of this world has been judged"

"Now judgment is upon this world (Gr. cosmos, "world system"); now the ruler of this world (cosmos) shall be cast out" (Jo. 12:31).

It was the world's unbelief that sentenced Christ to the cross; but instead it was there that its own pride, envy, hatred and rebellion, along with its ruler, was divinely condemned. The Spirit's function is to apply that condemnation to the world, making it conscious of judgment.

The unique work of the Holy Spirit in the world toward unbelievers is eloquently expressed by Dr. Tenney in his commentary on the Gospel of John:

"To convince any unbeliever of sin, righteousness, and judgment is beyond human ability. It may be possible to fix upon him the guilt of some specific sin if there is sufficient evidence to bring him before a jury; but to make him acknowledge the deeper fact, that he is a sinner, evil at heart, and deserving of punishment because he has not believed in Christ, is quite another matter. To bring a man to some standard of ethics is not too difficult; for almost every person has ideals that coincide with the moral law of some point. To create in him the humiliating consciousness that his self-righteousness is as filthy rags in comparison with the spotless linen of the righteousness of God cannot be effected by ordinary persuasion. Many believe in a general law of retribution; but it is almost impossible to convince them that they already stand condemned. Only the power of the Holy Spirit, working from within, can bring about that profound conviction which leads to repentance. The Spirit anticipates and makes effective the ministry of the disciples in carrying the message to unbelievers" (John, The Gospel of Belief, Merrill C. Tenney, Ph.D).
It has been two thousand years since Christ made purification of sins by His death and shed blood, and His subsequent bodily resurrection being received back into heaven to sit at the right hand of the Majesty on High (Heb. 1:3) as our (believer's) High Priest, Advocate and Intercessor. But while this Church age is waxing old this world system (cosmos diabolicus), our temporary abode, is becoming increasingly corrupt. And rather than our being subtly affected by this world's "values" and degeneration of ethics (which far too often seems to be the case in the Church today), believers must more than ever be diligent to grow in the essential truths regarding the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ in order to be well equipped as witnesses, through the Spirit, to a ripe for judgment, condemned world.

Written by: Gary Nystrom

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