What do you think of when you hear the word “conviction?” Merriam-Webster defines conviction as the act or process of finding a person guilty of a crime, especially in a court of law.

In John 16:8-11 We read about Jesus sharing with the disciples the role of the Holy Spirit when Jesus leaves to go be with the Father. In these verses, we see words like convict, guilty, sin, righteousness, and judgment.

Who is convicted and how?
What is sin and why?
Who is righteous and why?
And who is receiving judgment?

I battle guilt and can carry false guilt so conviction seemed like an incarceration with no hope. Could it be that the biblical word for conviction was different than the dictionary or was I missing something?

Verse-by-verse commentary shares the following threefold role of the Holy Spirit and explanation below.

-He would indict those who reject Christ as Savior
-He would convince people of the standard for acceptance before God
-He would condemn Satan’s belief system

We need to understand that conviction does not simply show sin as sinful. Moses revealed that. The singular point of the world’s guilt is that they do not “believe” in Jesus. The Spirit’s role is to validate the credentials of Christ. Another nuance of the word “convict” is the act of convincing, not only condemnation. Conviction is not the same as conversion. However, conviction is necessary for conversion to happen. Conviction exposes facts and the truth. The Holy Spirit will bring the world to the point where they fully understand that the issue of belief in Christ is the only way of salvation.

The “conviction” is the eye-opening gift to unbelievers pointing them to the truth. The commentary shared the word phrase “to illumine” which offers the breaking of chains-not an incarceration.

Our righteousness comes from the work of Jesus Christ on the cross and not anything we can do. He is now with the Father interceding on our behalf. How thankful we believers are for this gift!

Lastly, judgment is not ours but the prince of this world who stands condemned. Satan is defeated!

I want to share The Message version of John 16:8-11 that will offer a clear understanding of the “gift” of conviction.

John 8:11, “When he comes, he’ll expose the error of the godless world’s view of sin, righteousness, and judgment: He’ll show them that their refusal to believe in me is their basic sin; that righteousness comes from above, where I am with the Father, out of their sight and control; that judgment takes place as the ruler of this godless world is brought to trial and convicted.”

Tammy De Armas
EFCC Member

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