The Way The Holy Spirit Works

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“. . . I will send him [the Holy Spirit] to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.”

John 16:7-11


I have to admit, for a long time, whenever I read the words “. . . when he comes, he will convict the world . . .” I pictured in my mind the Holy Spirit acting upon the world directly. I thought the Holy Spirit with his capability of being all places at all times would come to the entire world and act upon everybody.

But it turns out that’s not at all how he works. In John 14:17 Jesus says plainly, the world cannot receive the Holy Spirit. And in today’s text Jesus tells us specifically who he is sending the Holy Spirit to, and that person is — you. “. . . I will send him to you,” Jesus says in today’s passage.

So in the next verse we read about what the Holy Spirit is going to accomplish in the world. But the thing is, everything will be accomplished through Jesus’ inwardly transformed-by-the-Holy-Spirit followers.

Because of how the unbeliever sees the belief in Jesus and the love for Jesus in the Christ follower, he or she will experience conviction concerning sin. They learn this as they experience the contrast between the fulfilled believer who lives his life with Christ at the center, and the sin that plays out in their own unfulfilled life with something or someone else at the center.

Because of how the unbeliever sees the Jesus follower’s desire to live in a way that pleases Christ, they’ll be convicted concerning wholeness and righteousness. They learn this as they see the wholeness, holiness, and completeness of the believer. They learn that the way to become whole and complete and right is to receive Jesus and live for Him.

Because of how the unbeliever sees how receiving Jesus frees the believer from the power of the ruler of this world, they’ll recognize God’s good and just judgment of the ruler of this world.

So Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to — you.

And the Holy Spirit accomplishes what’s described by Jesus in our passage, by working through you.

What Convicts The Unbeliever

I used to love to debate. Man, did I ever love to debate. But it wasn’t until I finally looked back on all those debates that I realized, not one person on the other end of a debate changed their mind. Not a single one. It wasn’t until I stopped debating and started asking for the Holy Spirit to change me into a person who loves God and loves people the way Jesus does that I began to influence people for Christ.

I must be a slow learner because of what attracted me to Jesus. One of my first crews was made up of mostly Christians when I first joined the fire department. And what impressed me the most about these guys was their love for Jesus, their love for each other, their wisdom, and their freedom from the darkness in this world. I wasn’t like them. I was a young man with issues. And I felt convicted. But because of what the Holy Spirit was doing in these men, I was attracted to Jesus, and I started a journey toward finding what these guys already had.

I’ve seen this over and over again. The heart changes first, and then the mind. And a person’s heart changes when he or she sees the Holy Spirit in a believer. When a person sees the believer’s love for Jesus, and their desire to live for him by loving others, and their freedom from the power of the ruler of this world, that’s what attracts the unbeliever to Jesus.

That’s what impacts the unbeliever’s heart.

And that’s what changes the unbeliever’s mind.

That’s how the Holy Spirit works.

He works through you.


You might also like Chapter 9: Jesus And The Holy Spirit


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