“Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.”
Having established the rebuke and conviction of the world, Jesus now describes the work of the Holy Spirit with regard to three strongholds set in opposition to its salvation.
The ultimate sin is unbelief. Doubting God caused Eve to eat the forbidden fruit. Refusing to take God at His Word resulted in the 40 years Israel spent wandering in the wilderness. Unbelief characterizes the life of those who have made a profession of faith in Christ but lack a day-to-day relationship with the Lord, whereas complete trust in the Providence of God is the mark of a mature believer.
There is a difference between righteousness and being righteous, just as there is a difference between perfection and being perfect. No fallen man is righteous before a Holy God apart from the atoning blood of Christ. However, the nature of Christ's sacrifice provides that unrighteous men can lay hold of righteousness through the humility of “falling forward” when dragged down by the old nature. Righteousness is also a natural outgrowth of establishing a life of seeking after God. “So Jotham became mighty, because he prepared his ways before the LORD his God.” (2 Chron. 27:6)
Josiah Blocki is an ’06 Journalism graduate from Minnesota.
Last but not least, the reproof of this world includes the judgement of Satan, usurper of genuine authority and accuser of the brethren. Christ’s sacrifice on the cross destroyed the Devil’s ability to effectively operate on earth when confronted with the truth of redemption. The Holy Spirit now has free reign to draw men to the knowledge of God, as those Christians with hearts prepared to listen to His voice meet with ever increasing success in the building of the kingdom. It is of further comfort to know that while the future most certainly holds unforseen trials—probably containing more than their fair share of fire and pain—the Master knows what dangers lie ahead and will give the necessary grace to overcome at the right time (verse 12).