The Holy Spirit's Work In Relation to Christ
While everyone will agree that the phrase "Spirit-taught men" expresses the need of all times, and that this is no contradiction to the teaching of Scripture, yet strangely enough, this marks a distinction which issues in the conflict referred to in John 15:18-26; 16:1-3).
It is here made unquestionably clear that persecution has its chief force in those who hold firmly to a traditional position as to their apprehension of Scripture, as against those who, having the same Bible, have had a mighty work of the Spirit of God done in them by which they have been introduced into a realm which, while not contradictory to the Word, yet holds the all-inclusive and overwhelming significance of Christ in God's universe. "These things will they do unto you because they have not known the Father, nor me."
That knowledge of the Father and the Son is a revelation of the Holy Spirit, without which we may be the fiercest protagonists of Biblical tradition and yet like Saul of Tarsus be all wrong. So, when it comes to summing up the meaning of the new dispensation where believers are concerned, it amounts to this: "Have we really, by a definite work of the Holy Spirit withing us, seen the significance and meaning of Christ in God's creational, redemptive, and consummate scheme of things?"If not, then there is an open door to every one of the unhappy conditions in Christendom. If so, we are on higher ground than all that is petty, personal, earthly, and cruel.
2. As to the world (verse 18).
The words of this statement are often quoted, but their inclusive meaning is often overlooked or missed.
Note that it is not in the plural - sins.
The Holy Spirit may convict believers of sins, but He does not do this with the world.
The judgment of the world will not be on the basis of sins, greater or less, these or those. If that were so, it would be unjust. Some are - as General Booth put it - "damned into the world." That is from birth or before the most terrible forms of sin are their heritage. Others inherit and come into much more helpful and propitious conditions, which conduce to a more moral conduct. To condemn the one and be generous to the other would be totally unrighteous. God has His basis of judgment for both, and on it all are brought to a common level. The basis is"
God sent His Son into the world to redeem the world (John 3:17; Gal. 4:4-5).
What have you done with Him?
And: "Because they believe not on me."
The whole sin question is focused in acceptance or non-acceptance of Christ.
The Righteousness question.
"Because I go to the Father."
If Jesus was - while truly God - truly man, taking man's place before God, representative and substitutionary, and eventually - as men - goes to the Father, then, seeing that no unrighteous man will ever be in the presence of the Father, the whole question of righteousness must have been settled in Him as Man for man. This is the vast subject of "Righteousness by faith in Jesus Christ"; but in our passage it is concisely stated that the Holy Spirit's convicting work will be on the basis of Jesus Christ the Righteous, and on no other ground of righteousness, more or less, whether ceremonial, claimed, professed, worked up, or striven after.
(continued with # 67)