4. The Holy Spirit reveals history's most significant developments (John 16:4-15)
4 But I have told you these things, so that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you about them. I didn’t tell you these things from the beginning, because I was with you. 5 But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 But because I have told you these things, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth: It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I don’t go away, the Counselor won’t come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.
Initially, Jesus did not discuss the hardships, suffering and persecution with his disciples, rather he informed them of the heavens opening, and the angels ascending and descending on the Son of Man. They were joyfully aware of God’s power working in the Son to perform miracles. Gradually, the bigots hardened their attitudes against him and the crowds deserted him for fear of the Jews. None were left with him except his disciples, whom he was about to leave on his way to the heavenly Father. Then he spoke of persecution and death at which more sorrow gripped them. They could not perceive an aim or sense that would be a future encouragement. But they noticed that he did not say anything about his own pain, torture and death; he only spoke about his departure to his Father in positive terms. They asked, "Where are you going?" They had no wish to see him ascend to heaven, preferring him to stay with them. Jesus responded clearly that it was necessary to leave them, because without the cross the Spirit would not be given. Only by the reconciliation of God with man, and the atonement of sin by the death of the Lamb of God vicariously, the reservoir of God’s power would open up and come upon his followers. Jesus had fulfilled all righteousness so God’s life and love could be poured on them. The death of Jesus is the basis of the New Covenant, and gives you the right to fellowship with God. The Holy Spirit achieves this result and comforts you, assuring you that God is with you and in you.
8 When he has come, he will convict the world about sin, about righteousness, and about judgment; 9 about sin, because they don’t believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to my Father, and you won’t see me any more; 11 about judgment, because the prince of this world has been judged.
The Spirit can comfort the disciples, for he opens the eyes of believers and judges the hearts of unbelievers on the basis of these principles.
The Spirit teaches us the meaning of sin and its extent. Prior to Christ’s coming, sin was a transgressing of the Law’s commandments and a failure to carry out God’s will. This is regarded as rebellion and a lack of trust and love – life without God and opposed to him. All sins be they moral, social or spiritual were regarded as violating God’s majesty. After the cross, this meaning was included in one as the sin that man does commit, that is the rejection of Jesus Christ as a personal Savior, or in other words, rejecting God’s free grace. Whoever neglects the free pardon of Jesus, blasphemes against the Holy One, and he who will not believe in God as Father and Jesus His Son is an enemy of the Holy Trinity. God is love, and whoever rejects that love portrayed in Christ commits the mortal sin that separates him from salvation.
On the cross Christ completed the salvation of the world. He does not need to die again, for he forgave all men all their sins in every age. All are justified by grace in Christ’s blood. He resembles the high priest; his ministry comprises three stages: First, the slaying of the victim. Secondly, the offering of the blood in the Holy of Holies, standing for carrying out of the atonement before God. Thirdly, placing the blessing on the multitudes of believers waiting for it. All this Jesus did. By this offering he pours out the blessing of the Holy Spirit for him to assure us that we are righteous. The resurrection and ascension of Christ complete our justification initiated at the cross.
Jesus did not see the aim of the world’s judgment as merely the casting of unbelievers into the fires of hell, but also sees the finalizing of that judgment in the destruction of Satan and his slavery. He is the one who draws away mankind from the fellowship of God’s love. He bound them in the chains of hate, making them the devil’s children filled with diabolical schemes. Jesus in his earthly existence and walk in meekness condemned the pride of the deceitful one. The Son’s love disarmed the Evil One. When Jesus committed his spirit into his Father’s hands he overcame the gloom that Satan spreads. Jesus is the Conqueror, despite his apparent weakness. His faithfulness unto death was a judgment on Satan and vanquished him. We live at a time when this victory is in effect. We pray the Father, "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil", as we experience the results of Christ’s victory in protection and assurance.
PRAYER: Thank you, Lord Jesus, because you have fought the good fight, and remained faithful in humility, love and hope. We thank you also that you approached the Father and completed our justification. We exult and praise you with Hallelujahs, because you placed the blessings of your sacrifice in us by the Holy Spirit. Keep us in the love of your righteousness, so that the enemy may not find mastery over us. Rescue us from Satan, that your kingdom may come, and the name of the Father be sanctified all over the world.
- What does the Holy Spirit work in the world?