When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.John 16:8-11
Most of us read this as though the Holy Spirit is going to come into the world and work directly upon the hearts of unbelievers and convict them of sin, righteousness, and judgment. But if you read it in that way, you have not read this verse correctly. Read it again, together with the preceding verse, and emphasize a keyword. And I want to take that same word and insert it in a place in verse 8 where it does not occur but where the context makes clear it belongs. Jesus says,
It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes [to you], he will convict the world... of sin and righteousness and judgment (John 16:7-8).
The Holy Spirit is coming to you, to the church, to the Christian. And when He comes to the Christian, this will convince the world of sin and righteousness and judgment. Therefore He does not come to the world; He comes to us. But when He comes to us and operates in us as He intends, He will have this effect upon the world.
There are three things the world ought to see when it looks at the church. The first thing is that the issue of life is Jesus. It ought to be convicted of sin, because it doesn't believe on Him. If the church had not spoken of Jesus, the world would soon have forgotten Him, for the world desperately wants to forget that Jesus came and lived among us. The church is to bring Jesus consistently before the world.
The second thing the world is to see in the church is righteousness, Jesus says,
because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer. When the world looks at the church, it ought to see a different standard of behavior. What it once saw in Jesus it is now to see in the church. And this is what convinces the world there are absolutes in life. Secular writers and philosophers will tell you that there are no absolutes. And the world will believe that until it sees in the church a standard of behavior that makes it realize that there is clear-cut righteousness and there is absolute evil.
The third thing the world is to see is judgment,
because the ruler of this world is judged. As they look at the church, the world ought to see that a head-on clash is coming between its philosophy and the philosophy of Jesus Christ, and that the one who is going to win is Jesus. A judgment is coming. And the sign of it to the world is that the power of Satan is already broken in the lives they are observing. This is what the world is to see when it looks at the church.
Lord, let me live my life in the power of the Holy Spirit so that the world may see the reality of Jesus.
How does God convince the world of (the one) sin, righteousness and judgment? How do people realize that there is clear-cut righteousness and absolute evil?