June 15, 2021

The Convicting Spirit

John 16:7-11

[The Spirit] will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment. . . .

—  John 16:8

The Holy Spirit speaks to the human conscience and convicts us of sin, wrong life decisions, and potential dangers.

I am a collector of tournament golf balls and varieties of hosta plants. Recently I’ve been convicted that these hobbies can take away from more important pursuits like caring for people and practicing social justice. Even though our hosta collection reminds me of the Garden of Eden, and even if golf is a great game filled with aesthetic beauty, these things can become distractions. And anything that distracts us from serving God faithfully can become an idol.

The Holy Spirit can also work through us to convict the world of righteousness and judgment. In fact, this should happen through the church. The way we live should be so pure, reflecting the righteousness of Christ, and our truth telling should be so pointed that the culture around us will be called to account.

Lies, cheating, and corruption will be exposed by the pursuit of truth and integrity. Systemic racism will be exposed by the teaching that all people are created in God’s image and equally valued by God. Our culture’s flippancy about the value of life and the unborn will be judged. Forgiveness, reconciliation, and cooperation will convict people of the false values of competing against each other for superiority and getting ahead rather than serving others in Jesus’ name.

Spirit, convict us of the changes needed in our lives, and guide us to live with Christ’s righteousness, that the evils in the world will be exposed. Amen.

About the author — Dean Deppe

Dean Deppe has been a pastor in inner-city, suburban, and rural ­churches. Currently he teaches New Testament theology at Calvin Theological Seminary. His courses include one on the parables of Jesus. He and his wife have four grown children.

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