“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God”. (1 Cor. 2:12)
Some Christians – especially self-proclaimed so called “prophetic voices” – believe that the Holy Spirit is “Mr. Faultfinder” in our lives; constantly pointing out our sins and shortcomings, and always trying to correct what’s wrong with us. Since they want to “co-operate” with the Holy Spirit, they – based on this misunderstanding about the Holy Spirit’s ministry and character – end up always focusing on the negative in other people.
But the Holy Spirit is not a faultfinder – He has a positive ministry. He has come to show us Jesus; who He is, who we are in Him, and what we by grace already have in Him.
A famous book by Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) back in the days. He was wrong. God is not mad. He is glad.
Think about it: If the ministry of the Holy Spirit were to always correct our shortcomings or mistakes, He would have a very frustrating and hard assignment. At least so unless we are more sanctified than the Apostle Paul, who said, ”there is nothing good in me, that is, in my flesh”. (Rom. 7:18)
The Holy Spirit has not come to reveal what’s wrong with us, but what’s right with us because of Jesus, for “as He is, so are we in this world” (1 Jn. 4:17).
“Wait a minute”, someone says. Isn’t the Bible saying that the mission of the Holy Spirit is to convict the world about sin? I am glad you raised the question. Let us read the verse in question:
”And when He [the Holy Spirit] has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” (Jn. 16:8)
Unfortunately, many people come up with incorrect conclusions based on this verse, because they don’t read it in the light of the context. A normal exposition could sound something like this:
The Holy Spirit convicts us of:
Sin: ”There is too much sin in this place. That’s why we don’t have revival. Stop sinning!…”
Righteousness: ”We don’t have enough righteousness here today, and because of that we don’t have revival…”
Judgment: ”Because of all the sin, and because of the lack of righteousness, God’s judgment is going to fall upon this place…”
Thank God, that Jesus Himself explained what he meant in the following verses:
”Of sin, because they do not believe in Me”. (Jn. 16:9)
Note that it says sin” (singular) and not sins (plural) and the same goes for the original Greek. What sin did Jesus refer to? The sin of not believing in Him.
“The ministry of the Holy Spirit is not to convict the world of its sins (plural), but of the sin (singular) of not believing in Jesus.”
All over the word (especially when the Gospel is proclaimed) the Holy Spirit is knocking on people’s hearts, revealing to them that they need to believe in Jesus. That’s the one sin the Holy Spirit convicts the world of! Not every single mistake in our lives!
“Of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more”. (Jn 16:10)
Jesus is no longer on earth. He is seated at the right hand of God the Father in heaven. But the Holy Spirit is here. He lives in us (if we have received Jesus) and constantly reminds us that we are righteous by grace, through faith, in Jesus Christ.
Sometimes we don’t feel righteous. We might feel condemned or even as if God has left us, especially when we have failed or sinned. But when that occurs, we need to hold on to the fact that we are righteous by grace, through faith, and not by our own performance! Whenever we feel like “failures”, the Holy Spirit is there and points us to Jesus and who we are in Him. He says: “My child, I see you through the finished work of My Son. You are righteous, not because of what you have done, but because of your trust in what Jesus has done.”
“The Holy Spirit convicts us of our righteousness in Christ, not only when our performance is good, but also in times of temptation and failure.”
“Of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged”. (Jn. 16:11)
Who is the ruler of this world? The devil. Unfortunately, many Christians have greater faith in the destructive power of the devil, than in the supreme power of God. Whenever we tend to think that the devil is powerful, the Holy Spirit is there and convicts us that the devil is defeated, under our feet, because Jesus triumphed and made a public spectacle of him at the cross! (Col. 2:15).
Jesus has ”all might” in heaven and earth (Mt. 28:18). This means that the devil has no power! Believe that so is the case, because this is what the Holy Spirit is trying to convict the world, including you and me, of.
Can the Holy Spirit correct us? Yes, but He is not “Mr. Faultfinder” in our lives. He has a positive ministry. He is our helper, reminding us about what Jesus has accomplished, and what has freely been given to us in Him! He does not constantly correct us (Ps. 103:9). Instead He constantly reminds us about what’s right with us, because of Jesus.