Archive for September, 2021
“I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them at the present time” (John 16:12).
Because of their present grief, and the lack of contextual experience regarding a messianic death, resurrection, and the coming of the Spirit, the disciples are too emotionally overwhelmed to understand the things for which Jesus is trying to prepare them. It’s not unlike our own deafness to the things being said at the funeral of a loved one. How often it seemingly is that, after having emerged from the other side of the difficult experience, our eyes are opened, and our minds illuminated by the Holy Spirit to an awareness of what had been God’s faithful provision through it all; deepening our confidence in God’s providential purposes, and strengthening us all the more for the future struggles waiting upon the horizon.
“And when He comes, will convict the world regarding sin, and righteousness, and judgment…and regarding judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged” (John 16:8,11).
Within the providence of God’s purposes and his salvation history, Jesus is convinced, and the Spirit of the resurrected Christ will convict us of the same truth, that the forthcoming weekend events, from crucifixion to resurrection, stand as the decisive battle between good and evil; justice and injustice. The resurrection would become a triumphal declaration of God’s victory, with resounding implications for all people for all eternity.
“And when He comes, will convict the world regarding sin, and righteousness,…and regarding righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you no longer are going to see Me” (John 16:8,10).
If the role of the Holy Spirit is to convict, reveal, and make known to us the greatest wrong in the world, the sin of unbelief (v.9), He no less convicts us of the greatest right made known to the universe—the reconciliation of humanity accomplished through the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. If allowed, the wrongs of the past will hold you hostage. The righteousness of Christ, however, has provided an escape. Of this, I have no greater conviction.
“And when He comes, will convict the world regarding sin,…regarding sin, because they do not believe in Me (John 16:8,9).
The role of the Holy Spirit is to convict. That is, to convince, expose, or reveal the person and work of the resurrected Christ, and the redemptive purposes of God fulfilled through his life and ministry. While all sin is an affront to God, the greatest wrong in the world is the rejection of the only begotten Son of God. The internal urge to follow Jesus results not from the compulsion of the human conscience but the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
“I said to the Lord, ’You are my Lord; I have no good besides You’” (Psalm 16:2).
When one declares Jesus as Lord, and he is given the place of preeminence, the impact is pervasive. His reign alters the way we look at everything else. All the things once considered important; worthy of our pursuit and attainment are now, not just diminished in value, but of no good whatsoever. Nothing else compares when Jesus is Lord.
“Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, for I delight in it” (Psalm 119:35).
The life of faith is all the more enriching when obedience to God’s word emerges from a heart that “wants to” instead of a legalism that “has to”. Obedience originates in the heart and when our heart’s delight is to please the Father, we discover the motivation, energy, and power of his Spirit to bring its accomplishment.
“But now I am going to Him who sent Me; and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’” (John 16:5).
In fairness, Peter did ask where Jesus was going (13:36), and Thomas inquired as to the way he was going (14:5), but their questions emerged from a place of selfish concern, not for Jesus and the unfolding intentions of God. While they mourn the passing of what has been, their preferences and expectations regarding the Messiah, and the seeming bleakness of an uncertain future, Jesus desires for them a more curious faith for the present tense. Curiosity keeps one grounded in the moment, regardless of circumstances, with an anticipation of what’s next in the providential purposes of God.
“If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin: but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well” (John 15:24).
The great tragedy of many modern American pulpits is the abandonment of the historical/grammatical understanding of the biblical text, and to embrace other sources of authority, so as to accommodate as many lifestyles as possible—and all in the name of love. What could be more unloving, and self-damning, than the withholding of truth; to affirm what scripture has deemed sin? The one thing that makes God’s grace amazing is the reality of sin. The attempt to eliminate all the lines and boundaries defining sin, is but an expressed hatred for the Boundary Maker.
“If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin” (John 15:22).
“They would not have sin” is a strange statement, but one Jesus twice makes (See also v.24). It means that if the life and ministry of Jesus had not broken into the world, humanity could have continued on in its self-destructive path without guilt, shame, or indictment. With the in-breaking of the gospel, however, and the proclamation of deliverance from sin, the world is now under conviction. As the church, the living presence of Christ in the world, we are an indicting presence to all having no regard for the things of God; present reminders of what could and should be. Convicting because we do not offer assent, or change the definition of sin, to accommodate activities and lifestyles scripture has deemed outside God’s design.
“If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you” (John 15:19).
Besides our association with Jesus, whom the world hates, what is most problematic for the world, and its enmity for all his true followers, is that “you are not of the world.” That is, you have rejected their system, structure, game, and rat race for living. It is the refusal to “dumb down” life, settling for lower and temporal things; aspiring, instead, for higher and eternal things, fitting to the call of God upon our lives. Like the proverbial crab trap, the masses always seek to pull down, and keep among them, anyone trying to escape a mundane existence.