Many Christians do not flourish in life because they live under a cloud of condemnation. Many wrongly believe that the Holy Spirit is the one continually pointing out our wrongs and trying to get us to try harder and be better. But the Holy Spirit doesn’t show you how wrong you are.
“Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.”
John 16:7-11 (KJV)
The Holy Spirit convicts (or convinces) us of sin, righteousness, and judgment. This doesn’t mean that He’s pointing out sin and condemning us for it. Jesus came to save the world, not to condemn the world (John 3:17) and the Holy Spirit comes representing Jesus with the same ministry; to save or lift us up. The Holy Spirit convicts (or convinces) us of the sin of unbelief (not trusting in Jesus), of righteousness and of judgement.
“And when he is come, he will reprove (convict) the world of… Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more”
John 16:8, 10 (KJV) – brackets mine
The first way that we can interpret this is that since Jesus is no longer physically present to reveal to us what is righteous by God’s standards, the Holy Spirit reveals it to us. Deep down in your heart, you know what is right and what you should do because the Spirit is guiding you in truth (John 16:13) and showing you the way you should go. Many people don’t experience this conviction because they have repeatedly rejected the Spirit’s ministry to them, and they have allowed their consciousness to become insensitive to the Spirit’s guidance because they have embraced the skewed values of society. God doesn’t force Himself on us; we have to choose to believe, choose to follow and choose to be blessed (Deuteronomy 30:19).
“And when he is come, he will reprove (convict) the world of… Of righteousness…”
John 16:8, 10 (KJV) – brackets mine
Most people read this and default to take it as if it means that the Holy Spirit convicts us of how unrighteous we are, but that is not the case! The Holy Spirit’s ministry is to convince you of how righteous (right) you are in Christ. When you received Jesus and became a Christian, you received the gift of righteousness (Romans 5:17; 2 Corinthians 5:21).
“For with the heart one believes unto righteousness…”
Romans 10:10 (NKJV)
You cannot “do unto righteousness”, you have to “believe unto righteousness.” Righteousness (being right before God) isn’t based on your actions or personal holiness – rather, it is based upon what Jesus has done for you and have you received it.
“He will glorify Me…”
John 16:14 (NKJV)
The Holy Spirit’s ministry in your life is to get you to focus on Jesus and what He did for you – not what you should be doing, haven’t done and are not doing. He doesn’t convict you of how unrighteousness you are, or how unlike Jesus you are; rather He convinces you that because you have believed on Jesus you are now the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21). That’s powerful!
Many believers do not experience this wonderful ministry because of bad religious teaching. When we hold to the traditions (and bad teaching) of men, it nullifies the power of God in our lives (Mark 7:13).
The Holy Spirit wants to show you how righteous you are because you are in Christ! He isn’t pointing out your faults and trying to make you feel bad when you miss it and sin – He is trying to get your focus off of sin and onto Jesus; He is trying to get you to stop focusing on your actions and start focusing on what Jesus has done for you. When you allow this ministry of the Spirit in your life it will radically change you and cause you to flourish in life!