letters to surfers
How do you explain the work of the Holy Spirit in John 16:8-11?
by Robert Brow (www.brow.on.ca)
The world has a wrong view of what sin is. Most
people think of individual acts of lying, lust, stealing, anger, etc.
Peter needed the Holy Spirit to reveal to him that Jesus was King among
the nations and the eternal Son of God (Matthew 16:16-17).
Similarly it is only the Spirit who can reveal to us that the root of sin
is failing to look in faith to him as the Son of God. Most people
think that righteousness is a matter of doing good things. A deep
experience of the Spirit reveals to us that the only kind of rightness
is created in us miraculously as a result of the Holy Spirit being poured
out as a result Jesus' death and resurrection (explained more fully in
7:14-8:8). Most people (including many Christians)
think of judgment as standing before God one day in the last judgment.
But we need to grasp that the Messiah's judgment is on Satan and his power
to deceive us by lies. As Paul explains "There is therefore now no
condemnation for those who are in the Messiah Jesus" (Romans 8:1).
It is only the Spirit who can really free our hearts from the fear of condemnation
and the gnawing guilt that the world lives under. It is this threefold
model shift which is involved in being filled with the Holy Spirit.
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