The ROLE of the HOLY SPIRIT in this WORLD: "Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged." (John 16:7-11)
The above scriptural passage contains the final discourse of Jesus Christ in this earth describing the ministry of the Holy Spirit in this world (among both believers and unbelievers alike) after He ascended to heaven. It was necessary for Jesus to go so that the Holy Spirit would come (14:16) in order to minister to the redeemed and to convict the world. The Holy Spirit would undertake a dual role through a convincing ministry among believers and a convicting ministry among unbelievers!
The Holy Spirit’s convincing ministry will operate in four different aspects: (1) He will communicate truth to the believers (vv. 12–15); (2) He will infuse joy in the believers (vv. 16–24); (3) He will distill knowledge of Christ to the believers (vv. 25–28); and (4) He will impart peace in the heart of the believers (vv. 29–33). The coming of the Holy Spirit would be more profitable to believers than even the physical presence of Christ, since the Holy Spirit could dwell in all believers at the same time.
On the other hand, the Holy Spirit’s convicting ministry will operate in three different aspects: (1) He will convict the world of sin in its ultimate form arising from the failure to place their faith in the redeeming work of Christ (v. 9); (2) He will convict the world of righteousness in that the ‘Righteous One’ has gone back to heaven having conquered sin and death through His resurrection having paid the ultimate redemption price (v. 10); and (3) He will convict the world of the coming judgment (v. 11) in which Satan will be finally judged according to the prophecy in Genesis 3:15. The Holy Spirit will be in this world in place of the rejected Christ, thereby demonstrating the world’s guilt. The Holy Spirit will convict the world of committed sin, forfeited righteousness, and the coming judgment of God!
Thus, the Holy Spirit would demonstrate the truth of Christ beyond the fear of contradiction. The Holy Spirit will convict unbelievers through believers who witness about Christ. Believers are designated as the mouthpiece for God’s voice, and witnesses of Jesus before an unbelieving world: "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." (Acts 1:8)
The ministry of the Holy Spirit to unbelievers through empowered believers is that of conviction. Specifically, He uses their unbelief to prove the gravity of sin, the triumphant work of Christ to prove the availability of righteousness, and the defeat of Satan to prove the solemn certainty of judgment. Satan, the ruler of this world, rules in the hearts of unregenerate people and blinds their minds (see 1 Cor. 2:6–8). Satan was judged at the cross of Calvary, and the Holy Spirit would convince people of the judgment to come.
There is no room for neutrality now. You can be either a child of God or a child of the devil. Understand the role of the Holy Spirit in this world, and be a witness of the accomplished work of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. This is what God expects from you today!