"And He (The Comforter), when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged."
John 16: 8—11.
The word "judgment" means the decision between two parties
at variance to decide which is right or wrong. It embraces two
elements, aid and punishment, that the innocent party be acquitted
and helped to his rights; that the guilty be condemned
and punished. The word, however, is generally used for the
punishing element, the legal sentence of condemnation and its consequence.
In this sense Christ uses it here and he intends to indicate
that when the Holy Spirit shall pursue the two themes
of his preaching and shall convict the world of sin and righteousness,
it will not receive it, nor be willing to be convicted, nor be
moved to allow the righteousness of Christ to be offered to it.
It will set itself against this teaching and convicting of the Holy
Spirit, and condemn and persecute it. Then arises the conflict,
and one judgment runs contrary to the other.
But Christ says that the Holy Spirit shall retain the superior
judgment and shall prevail in his convicting of the world until
the last day. In consequence of this Christians get into difficulties,
the cross and persecution begin. Because the kingdom of Christ
is not of this world, but spiritual and invisible, the power and
might which the world has are directed against the Church by
condemning, persecuting and torturing with sword and fire' and
other means. The world is also incited by the bitter hatred of
the devil against Christ, who seeks to blot out and exterminate
the Church. Against this hatred of judgment Christ gives comfort.
The devil is already judged and the sentence of condemnation
has already been pronounced upon him; the only thing
wanting is its execution, that the punishment be inflicted upon
him in eternal fire.
This judgment proceeds by power and might of the Lord
Christ, sitting at the right hand of the Father; it is publicly
proclaimed by the office of preaching, that the prince of the
world with all his adherents is already under final condemnation
and shall accomplish nothing against Christ. He must let
him remain the Lord, under whose feet he shall eternally lie
and suffer his head to be trodden upon. Christ makes his
enemies his footstool. No one believes this except Christians, who
take the Lord's Word for truth and know his power and kingdom.