Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Sin, Righteousness & Judgment
John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.
John 16:8 And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment:
John 16:9 about sin, because they do not believe in me;
John 16:10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer;
John 16:11 about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.
Jesus knew that he had to complete the work that his father had given him and should this not be accomplished then the Advocate would not be able to come and be present among his followers. Although the disciples did not understand, Jesus knew that this was better for them. The Holy Spirit would be present and active and moving throughout the whole earth and would be able to "prove the world wrong about sing and righteousness and judgment."
Jesus went on to explain those three terms, and most importantly, the realization that people would be convicted by their ignorance, and the real nature of sin, righteousness and judgement. All three are relational terms when juxtaposed with Jesus Christ.
What is sin? Sin is turning our backs on God and no longer living in a relationship with him -- therefore it is the refusal of a relationship with Jesus Christ. The world did not believe in Jesus!
But what is righteousness? Humanity can only be made right before God because of what Jesus -- the Messiah -- would do for them. Jesus was from God; God was his Father. The One who could set all things right would be seated forever at the right hand of the Father.
And finally, about judgment, the "ruler of this world has been condemned." Humanity has to make a choice. Whom will they serve? Will they serve the ruler of this world who is already condemned, or will they return to a relationship with God? A side must be chosen, and this is judgment. The role of the Holy Spirit, or the Advocate, in the midst of all of of this is that he will shine a light on these truths, and humanity will be forced to respond.
We read these words, "Sin, Righteousness, and Judgment" and we may simply tune them out. Why? Because we may not like the terms, or because we may not feel like we understand them, or they simply make us uncomfortable. Too often these days we don't want to talk about the negatives of the spiritual life, instead focusing on the good. While it's good to focus on those, what about the conviction that comes to us through the working of the Holy Spirit? Could it be that we have become insensitive to the working of the Spirit in our lives and in the world today, for it seems that not much of our world is concerned about sin, righteousness and/or judgment. Why would that be true?
There were those in the first century of Christianity who also ignored the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Yes, it was great on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was poured out and while many believed, there were many more who did not. Didn't all of the Apostles, except for John, end up being martyred for their faith? The same is true today. There are many in our world who are tuning out the working of the Holy Spirit and don't want to have anything to do with sin, righteousness and judgement. At the same time, we cannot allow the "peer pressure" of the world to influence the actions of those who are in a relationship with Jesus Christ.
The call and the prompting of the Holy Spirit is to a personal relationship with Jesus. The action on our part requires faith and belief in who he is. He is the Messiah; he is the Son of God. As such he has come to convict of us the lives that we were living. Humanity has turned their back on God and yet Jesus wants to draw us back into that deeply personal and intimate relationship with him. We can be made right again before God because of the work of Jesus Christ and yes, there will ultimately be a day of judgement for you and for me. These words are Truth -- and Jesus knew the Advocate would need to come to speak this truth.
Are we tuning out Truth these days? Are we allowing the voices of the world to so fill our heads that we no longer believe in sin, righteousness and judgment? It is only through the power and the presence of the Holy Spirit that we can seek the face of God. In this our relationship with him is restored and we become clear in our understanding of sin, righteousness and judgment.
It is through prayer that we participate together with God in the working of the Holy Spirit. Can I explain this? No -- but there is something about God's prevenient grace working in the lives of those for whom we pray. Could it be that the world doesn't understand sin, righteousness and judgment because God's people have failed to pray for the lost of the world? Jesus knew he would have to leave his disciples so that they could receive the Advocate. He knew that this was best for them. The working and the convicting of the Holy Spirit is what our world needs today. Maybe those who are in a personal relationship with him need to be praying for the Advocate to be revealed to a world that so desperately needs to be healed of their sin!
Jesus did everything for us. Are we willing to participate with him in his salvific work in the world?
Lord, thank you for the convicting work of the Holy Spirit in my life, but please, help me to be a woman of prayer for my world. Amen.