Studies in John's Gospel -- Part 20
The Divine Visitor
By: A.J. Higgins, M.D.
Passage: John 16
On July 20, 1969 Neil Armstrong and Ed Aldrin from Apollo 11 touched down on the moon. Mankind had finally visited one of those barren globes that circle our world. The president of the U.S.A. labeled it the "greatest week in the history of the world since the creation." A more perceptive although less publicized voice on earth representing the minorities questioned "why such an enterprise could not liberate the poor on earth".
Far surpassing the wonder and the importance of man visiting outer space is the wonder of God visiting our earth. Our Old Testament records show that in an outwardly unattractive Tabernacle amid the wandering children of Israel. God took up
Far surpassing the wonder... man visiting... space is the wonder of God visiting our earth.
residence. The four gospel writers who introduce our New Testament tell us of the momentous occasion when the Son of God, Immanuel, dwelt amongst us. The present age however is characterized by the residency of the Spirit of God. This is the subject of John 16 which is before us. The chapter contains truth for all. It shows the Persecution of the Saved (vs. 1-6), The Purpose of the Spirit (vs. 7-15), the Period of Sorrow (vs. 16-22), Prayer that Succeeds (vs. 23-27), and Peace that Stabilizes (vs. 28-33).
Our purposes will be satisfied by looking just at the section dealing with the Purpose of the Spirit of God (vs. 7-15). A careful reading of these verses reveals that His presence on earth today is for three important functions: He is the Convictor of the world, the Companion of believers and the Communicator of Truth.
The Lord Jesus revealed these truths to His disciples in the upper room, as He spoke to prepare them for His absence. The conversion of the world was not a task they could or would accomplish on their own. A Divine visitor would be sent to work
He (The Spirit) is the Convictor of the world, the Companion of believers and the Communicator of Truth
with them. Now mark well that His first task would not be to comfort the world or unify the world. His first and great work would be to convict the world. The Lord Jesus further revealed that His work would all be in the realm of man’s conscience. He would convict of sin, righteousness and judgment. I doubt if there are any three subjects that are less attractive to men to consider, yet this is very sphere of the Spirit’s work.
Sin has fallen out of fashion with modern man. We have replaced the word with softer, more acceptable phrases such as "social ill", "lapses", "peer pressure" and a myriad of others. The Bible does not deny that such things exist. It does however see them as only the symptom, not the disease. The great problem at the heart of all is what the Bible calls sin. It is painted in humbling, sobering tones. It began in Eden’s garden and will culminate in the great Man of Sin who will one day burst upon the world stage. In between these two great events it has infected and permeated every heart and life. It is what now blinds man to God, blights man’s life and peace; it will one day banish man from God and bury him forever beneath the judgment of God. This is why the Spirit of God has come. He is here to warn men and convict him of sin so that he might find God’s remedy.
It is recorded in vs. 10 that He convicts of righteousness because Christ has ascended to heaven. Now at first there might seem little connection between these two statements. But the resurrection and ascension of Christ have established that there is an ultimate standard of righteousness. Man put Christ upon a cross. While God used this occasion to work out His purposes of redemption through the shed blood of Christ, from a human standpoint wrong was triumphing and justice was overridden. The resurrection proved that God had not abandoned the universe; moral order still exists as attested to by the resurrection. Man may believe in relative moral values, but God’s absolute standard remains.
Our verse also tells us that the Spirit of God convicts of judgment. Nothing is so foreign to our ears as to hear that we as men accountable to God must face Divine judgment. To think that we are on a collision course with God is unthinkable. The Bible however makes clear that this is the course of every man by nature.
In light of man’s sin, God’s unalterable righteous standard, and the judgment that must of necessity overtake us, God has sent His Son into the world "not to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved" John 3.17. The sin that would condemn us God has made provision for through the death of His Son. The judgment that we face in our sin can be avoided because of Calvary.
"Verily, verily I say unto you, He that heareth My word and believeth God that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment but is passed from death unto life." John 5:24.