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The night Jesus was arrested, one of the things he talked about with his disciples was the Holy Spirit. He referred to the Holy Spirit with a word that was translated into Greek as parakletos, a word that conveyed the sense of "advocate," "friend" or "supporter." Parakletos was the word used for a person who would stand beside you in court to support you and your cause, to speak up for you, to hearten you.
"When he comes," Jesus said in John 16:8-11, "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" (John 16:8-11, The Message).
The godless world is wrong about three things, Jesus said: sin, righteousness, and judgment. But the Holy Spirit would expose those errors.
So how is the godless world wrong about sin? The world thinks sinners can atone for their own sins by doing works of goodness. But now that Jesus has come to forgive all sin and reconcile all things to God, the only kind of sin that can remain is the sin of not trusting in him who takes away all sin. There is no sin Jesus hasn’t forgiven. But if we don’t believe that, we’ll keep carrying the burden of guilt even though we don’t need to.
And how is the world wrong about righteousness? The world thinks righteousness is human virtue and goodness. But now that the Son of God has lived a perfect, obedient life in our place and as one of us, human righteousness can only be defined as the gift of God through Jesus Christ. Jesus himself is our righteousness, not our good works.
How is the world wrong about judgment? The world thinks that people who suffer in this world are sinners under God’s curse, and that people who are healthy and wealthy are the only ones under God’s favor. But now that the Son of God has destroyed the works of the devil, judgment can only be defined only as condemnation of the evil god of this world, not as condemnation of those Jesus came to save.
Jesus told the disciples that the Holy Spirit would bring the truth about sin, righteousness and judgment. To be forgiven of sin, to be judged righteous, and to be freed from condemnation are all gifts of the Father through Jesus Christ. They are not something we earn, or something we deserve. We experience them only by trusting the One who gives them to us.
In Jesus Christ and only in Jesus Christ, we are reconciled to the Father and share in Christ’s righteousness and Christ’s relationship with the Father. In Jesus, we are the Father’s beloved children. The gospel is indeed good news.
I’m Joseph Tkach, speaking of LIFE.