A Work of Conviction

Jesus explains the work of the Spirit in our lives.

The Gospel of John: John 16.1-15

Read and meditate on John 16.8-11.
The work of the Spirit in our lives is first a work of conviction.

       8“When the Helper finally comes to you,
then He will judge the world because of sin,
make known the righteous way they should walk in,
and warn the world of judgment: 9sin, because
they do not trust Me; 10righteousness, because
I go unto My Father, and you do
not see Me any more; 11and judgment, too,
because the ruler of the world is due
for judgment.”

- John 16.8-11

Reflect
1.  We will not benefit from the work of God’s Spirit unless we understand and submit to that work. Jesus said the Spirit’s work is to convict the world. What does the word convict imply? What is it like, to be convicted? Complete the following prayer: Lord, I know that when You are convicting me, I…

2.  First, the Holy Spirit convicts of sin. How does He do that (cf. Ezek. 36.26, 27; Rom. 7.7)? What is the foundation for all conviction of sin? How can you know when the Spirit is convicting you of sin in your life? Where else would we expect the Spirit to convict the world of sin? Lord, You are working to bring sin to light, but the world doesn’t seem to want to talk about sin. Help me to…

3.  Second, the Spirit convicts the world of righteousness. He doesn’t just point out what’s wrong, but He points us in the direction of what is right and true. Why does this make it important that we abide in Jesus’ Word, as He commands us? What does it mean to let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly (Col. 3.16)? How does the Spirit use our fellow believers in this work of conviction? Show me the way I must walk, Lord, and let Your Spirit…

4.  Finally, the Spirit convicts the world of judgment. That is, in the light of sin and righteousness, we must either repent or be found opposing the Lord. Judgment implies warning. How does the Spirit warn us of judgment to come? How does He warn the lost and unbelieving people in our lives? Help me always to hear Your words of judgment, Lord, so that I…

5.  How many different ways does the Spirit work to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment? What is your role in this work? Bring together your prayers from questions 1-4 into one prayer.

Summary
“By what means, then, is the world to be reproved of righteousness, if not by the righteousness of believers? Accordingly, it is convinced of sin because it does not believe on Christ, and it is convinced of the righteousness of those who do believe. For the very comparison with believers is itself a reproving of unbelievers.” Augustine (354-430 AD)

The Holy Spirit works within us to do His work of conviction, but He also works through us. Explain.

Closing Prayer
Show me Your ways, O LORD;
Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
On You I wait all the day.
Remember, O LORD, Your tender mercies and Your lovingkindnesses,
For they are from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions;
According to Your mercy remember me,
For Your goodness’ sake, O LORD.
Good and upright is the LORD;
Therefore He teaches sinners in the way.
The humble He guides in justice,
And the humble He teaches His way.
All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth,
To such as keep His covenant and His testimonies.

Psalm 25.4-10

Psalm 25.4-10 (Festal Song: Revive Thy Work, O Lord)
Make me to know Your ways, teach me Your paths, O Lord!
My Savior, all day long I wait and seek You in Your Word.

Remember mercy, Lord, and steadfast love to me!
And all my sins before You let them not remembered be!

My sins have been of old, Your love is new each day;
According to Your goodness, Lord, regard my sinful way.

Upright and good are You, You lead us in Your way;
The humble You instruct in truth and guide him day by day.

The paths of God are all of love and faithfulness;
All they who keep His covenant the Lord will surely bless.

T. M. Moore

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series IV a and b: John, edited by Joel C. Elowsky, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006. Verse translation of John by T. M. Moore.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT. 

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