Now, let’s back up to verse 7 and examine what the work of the Holy Spirit will be in regard to dealing with the world.
But 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 go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.
John 16:7–11 NASB
We have not been left to fight this battle alone. The Holy Spirit is the one who convicts the world and all those in the world. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to convict. Our part is to bring the message, but it is by His power that results follow.
The Holy Spirit first convicts of sin. The Bible declares, “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 KJV). “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1 NASB). Unfortunately, in today’s presentation of the goodness of Christ’s forgiveness to unbelievers, the major area of conviction of sin is neglected. Many are invited to receive Christ for the forgiveness of sin, but they are never brought to a conviction of sin. People come to an altar for many reasons, but only one reason matters: that is, we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We are judged guilty with no hope of our own. The awareness of our sinful condition and how desperately lost we are without Christ is what should be our reason for repentance and asking for God’s forgiveness.
Next, the Holy Spirit convicts of righteousness. The goal of salvation is to receive the righteousness of Christ into our life. It is His righteousness that saves and transforms us into His perfect image. We cannot be righteous in our own power or works. Our works, no matter how noble in and of themselves are simply dead works. The only work that matters is the work of Christ through His death on the cross and through the power of His resurrection life. The conviction of righteousness is seeing our need for His righteousness to be established in our life. It is His grace that produces a life lived in the power He has given to those walking in faith.
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesu for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them (
Ephesians 2:8–10 NKJV