And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
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.
Verse eight says that when the Spirit is come, He will reprove the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment.
The word reprove is also correctly translated as rebuke, convict, convince.
Have you ever had what Dr. Charles Stanley describes as a check in the spirit? I certainly have, on many occasions! It is the work of the Holy Spirit that guides us to think carefully, and if we choose to sin, it is the Spirit’s work to convict us and bring us to repentance. As I grow older, I am learning to wait for that check in the Spirit before moving forward. For example, as I was writing a post the other day, the flesh took over and I typed some words that were inappropriately controversial. I paused, read over what I had written, and deleted it. That’s a fairly easy to do in this computer age. I wish it were that easy to erase words that coming tumbling out of my mouth before I pause to get the approval of the Spirit. We can’t unsay those words. We can only apologize, where and when it is necessary, and pray for guidance to do better the next time.
So. The work of the Spirit is to convict the world in the three ways Jesus named: Sin, righteousness, and judgment.
Sin is the truth about man, righteousness is the truth about God, judgment is the inevitable combination of these two truths.Gizik, Blue Letter Bible
The Spirit shows us truth. To convict is also to undeceive. It is a serious thing to ignore the whisper of what we like to call the conscience. Disney trivialized the conscience in the form of Jiminy Cricket, in the story of Pinocchio. Still, when the puppet boy ignored Jiminy, it landed him in a world of hurt. Just so, when we ignore that check in the spirit, we end up in places we never intended to go. My pastor, years ago, used to say that sin always takes you farther than you intended to go. It can start as a small thing, but before you know it, you are tangled in a very sticky web, indeed.
The truth about man is that we are sinful, and we deceive ourselves. We ignore the check in the spirit that would lead us to the next point.
The Spirit shows us the truth about God: He is righteousness. It is very sad that even believers have mocked those who try to live godly in Christ Jesus. “Too pious! So spiritually minded, he’s no earthly good!” But God’s Word tells us that we are to daily become more and more like Christ. Piety has come to be a somewhat derisive term, but was never meant so in its beginning. To be pious was to be good, honest, true, upstanding, godly, having good character. To be like Jesus. Our pastor preached such a good message yesterday, describing how Jesus, in His first advent, didn’t return derision with derision, revilement with revilement. He never behaved in a way that would bring shame to the Father. Neither should we.
The truth about the world? Because of the constant struggle between sin and godliness, there will be judgment. The essence of sin is unbelief. It is unbelief that condemns a soul to eternal damnation. Unbelief involves non-acknowledgment of the sinful condition of all mankind. It involves the erroneous belief that we can somehow deserve heaven. And it involves refusal of Jesus Christ as the Son of God; refusal to accept His death and resurrection as the only path to salvation.
Satan, the prince of this world, will be finally and utterly judged for his unceasing efforts to defeat the Son of. God.