True Change

“When he (Holy Spirit) comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment:  in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.” (John 16:8-11, NIV)

At first glance this passage might seem to be harsh or difficult to understand. Quite the opposite is the truth. First the word convict or conviction is directed toward the unbelieving world and simply means they have yet to “become absolutely convinced by irrefutable argument” of the finished redemptive work of Jesus.

And second this function of Holy Spirit’s work in all (unbelievers and believers) is called ‘prevenient grace” or the grace that draws us to saving faith in Jesus. And third, the best news for and of all is that the “prince of this world” is already judged and condemned for all eternity.

Holy Spirit convicts the world of where it is falling short; in “sin,” in needing Christ’s righteousness and God’s total judgment of the prince of this world. Contrary to popular religious thinking, the Holy Spirit “convinces” Believers of truth and reveals lies we have believed. His primary ministry is not to convict us of sin but convince us that Jesus has cleansed us of our sins and that we share in his righteousness. This convincing of truth allows us to “change our minds” (repent) and think differently. Every time we believe the truth it sets us free!

“True convincing (conviction) leads to a change of thinking (repentance), and it happens in an atmosphere of love and acceptance without the presence of condemnation.”(Pg. 107 Pure Grace).

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Rev. Ron Ross is a pastor, author, teacher, and counselor.
As founder of NET Casting Ministries, he equips the church
around the world to care for the wounded and addicted.
Ron is a cofounder of the NET Training Institute.

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