And he ( the Holy Spirit) will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness and Judgement, concerning sin because they did not believe in me, concerning righteousness because I go to the Father and you will see me no longer, concerning Judgement because the ruler of this world is already judged (John 16:8-11).
Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as the Advocate (counsellor). When someone has a court case, they go to an advocate (a legal expert otherwise known as a lawyer). You expect that that advocate will understand your problem better than you do, apply the relevant law(s) to your case and on your behalf plead your case before the judge. An advocate is allowed by law to stand in-front a judge to plead your case. You can plead your case for yourself, but you cannot plead your case better than an expert advocate.
In the Jewish culture, an advocate was someone who knew you for a very long time, and he was someone that was taken by his word. He might be a long childhood friend, a relative who’s integrity was not questioned. Such a person was the best to plead your case for you. He would vow to utter only the truth about you, and you will be sure that he would not bend his word. Such is the description of the Holy Spirit when Jesus is saying that he will send us a paráklētos- Advocate in John 14:16. The idea here is that the Holy Spirit, who is the longest companion of Jesus, is the best person to be Jesus’ Advocate to us. He would tell us all that we need to know about Jesus Christ.
He The Same As Christ.
In the same verse, Jesus is saying that he will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate (John 14:16). Notice that the word ‘another’ beings to our attention that there must have been an initial advocate. This Advocate was Jesus, his mission was to tell the good news to the poor while he was on earth. He was sent to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind and to set at liberty those who are oppressed (Luke 4:18; Isaiah 61:1). And this he did. Now he was leaving and was asking the Father for another (one of the same kind)- one who is as he is. Trustworthy one, faithful, kind, a wonder of a counsellor, holy- set apart from everything, untainted with sin and perfect in all his ways.
The word conviction has two meaning. Firstly, it is holding to a belief or opinion firmly. The word comes from the verb convict. This is when you are convinced beyond a wit of doubt, and then you form an opinion or belief based on the evidence presented and arguments tendered before you over a subject. Secondly, it comes from the noun convict. It is a formal declaration by the court of law that someone is guilty of a criminal offence and so he should be convected (held captive). A guilty person is also called a convict.
A fully convinced man of an idea is taken captive with that idea that he serves no other purpose than what that idea compels him to. He lives for it, and sure enough, he is more than willing to die for it. He cares-less of what other people think and say about him, and about his opinions- This is so true that the German Philosopher and thinker who is considered as one of the greatest modern-day thinkers Friedrich Nietzche said: “convictions are prisons.”
Conviction Concerning Sin, Righteousness and Judgement.
Therefore, the Holy Spirit seeks to convict us on the three most essential things about ourselves He will bring evidence and arguments that don’t have any loophole whatsoever that:
1. We are sinners.
2. Christ is the only righteous one of God.
3. The Holy Spirit will convict us concerning the judgement of the ruler of this world. That God has already condemned him and so we do not want to be part of his damnation.
The Holy Spirit will present these ideas about us, Jesus and the devil using the unchangeable, immortal, holy and forever true word of God as arguments in us. No one is convicted of man’s sinfulness, Christ’s holiness and God’s judgment of the devil than the Holy Spirit. You can never present a case to win that the merits do not convince you first. The Holy Spirit is convinced of all these by word, evidence and experience; that’s why he is the best to convince us.
The heart of man without the Holy Spirit will never know how sinful and deceptive it is. He will never come to call Jesus Lord, and he will never come to believe in Christ’s righteousness and God’s judgment of the devil (Romans 8:7; 1 Corinthians 12:3). The life of a Christian begins with convictions and continues in convictions. A Christian without convictions is a man or a woman without any motivation.
Conviction Precedes Faith.
Convictions are the basis of our faith, and faith is the cause of our righteous living. Paul asks a series of rhetorical questions in Romans 10:9-16 to show that people cannot believe what they haven’t heard. People cannot believe in someone they are not convinced of, let alone live for him and preach about him.
Show me your way of life, and I will tell you your convictions. It is a contradiction if you are a liberal and yet live like a fundamentalist. It is one thing to say; it is another to live out what you say. Without convictions, you have nothing to stand on, and so you will stand on everything and be part of anything. GK Chesterton is famously quoted for saying that tolerance is the virtue of a man without convictions. This is not to mean that intolerance is violence.
Conviction and Bigotry.
Such sentiments are had to hold in a world of religious and political tolerance and so much relativism. People of convictions have been rendered as bigotry. Yet G.K Chesterton remarked, “A common hesitation in our day touching the use of extreme convictions is a sort of notion that extreme convictions…have been responsible in the past for the thing which is called bigotry. But a very small amount of direct experience will dissipate this view. In real life the people who are most bigoted are the people who have no convictions at all.”
Charles Horton Cooley the American Sociologist (1864-1929) stated: “A man may lack everything but tact and conviction and still be a forcible speaker; but without these nothing will avail.. fluency, grace, logical order, and the like, are mere decorative surface of oratory.” To these men, conviction is an important part and parcel of defining a human being.
Christians are never short of convictions. Ours is a life of convictions. Christianity can be in its simplest definition defines as the life of convictions by the Holy Spirit, since he is with us forever (John 14:16).
Take heed, therefore of warnings in the scripture against blaspheming the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12:31). You cannot deny the one who will convince you of your helpless state and the way out of it yet hope to be saved, how can that be? Take heed of the sin we are all guilty of, the sin of grieving the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). He is our only hope for salvation and sanctification (1 Peter 1:2).
Are you a man or woman of convictions? The main question you should ask yourself isn’t merely whether you have convictions but whence you got them. Dear Christians are your convictions ripped from the holy word of God and wrought in your hearts by the Holy Spirit? Is your life reflecting the conviction that Jesus is your Lord? Or is it reflecting that you are your lord?
I pray that the Holy Spirit will convict you to have these convictions. He will convince you that you are a sinner. That you are so helpless in your current state, and that Jesus is the only righteous one; thus, your only hope for salvation and the only one worth following. May the Holy Spirit convict you That The ruler of this world is already condemned. Therefore, there is no need to follow him regardless of how enticing he might present this world to be.