John 16:7-11 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; And of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
In the above text, Jesus is listing the job description of the Holy Spirit after the Cross. Something I missed for years in the reading of the passage, is that the Holy Spirit is not convicting believers of their sin.
Three roles of the Holy Spirit
On closer examination, Jesus lists the three roles the Spirit will do to three distinct groups of people.
1. To the unbelievers, the Holy Spirit convicts them of ONE sin, the sin of unbelief in Christ (v 9).
2. To the believer, the Holy Spirit will convict them of their righteousness (v 10).
3. And lastly, to the prince of this world, Satan, the Holy Spirit reminds him of his judgement (v 11).
This goes back to a technique that tutors and teachers used when called upon to mentor young members of a Royal Family. In the dark ages, the teacher knew that if they scolded the child for their mistakes, the child would simply say “Off with their head!”. Then the teacher would be executed.
So instead, when the young Lord made a mistake, the teacher would always point to their identity as royalty, and say something like “That behaviour is beneath a King.”
This method is both encouraging and edifying. The statement suggests that the young Lord is capable of better. It also reminds him of who he really is, and, as such, who he will someday be.
In the same way, God in his wisdom has decided to train his children in the same manner, reminding us that we are His righteousness, sons of God and joint heirs with Christ. That truth doesn’t change, even when we do wrong. In fact, it is when we do wrong, the Holy Spirit will remind us of it.