7 ¶ Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. 12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. 15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
Here, Christ gives an important point about theology. The Holy Ghost’s indwelling of Christ’s followers cannot happen while Christ is still on the earth in a human body.
Here is the sin of not believing on and trusting in Christ. See verse 9. The presence of the Holy Ghost in the believer is a condemnation of the world rejecting Christ. There can be no Biblical righteousness in the world apart from the Christian because Christ is not walking the earth today except in the church. If the church is not righteous then there is no righteousness. It is very important that we, as the body of Christ, represent Him faithfully. If we do not live righteous lives in Christ we cannot condemn a world that is living no worse than we are.
The Holy Ghost in the believer is a constant reminder of the sins of the world, if the believer has not bought into the world’s message. This is a very important point, too. If your conscience is so seared that you are unable to stand against the world’s ways then your testimony will be mixed at best. Here are some of the things that Christ and the New Testament writers wrote about the world.
First, about wealth and the economic system.
Luke 16:13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
Luke 6:24 But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.
James 5:1 ¶ Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. 2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. 3 Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. 4 Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth. 5 Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. 6 Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.
This reflects back on advice given in the Old Testament.
Proverbs 23:4 ¶ Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.
The things that the world system holds as valuable and important the Christian, far too often, embraces as his or her pathway to luxury, leisure, respectability, and success.
Luke 16:15 And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.
The very things which tempted Eve to sin against God afflict the Christian today. Compare the two passages following.
Genesis 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
1John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh [good for food], and the lust of the eyes [pleasant to the eyes], and the pride of life [to make one wise], is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
See Deuteronomy 12:15 for lusting for food.
The trouble is that we will proclaim our contempt for sins like adultery and getting drunk and embrace things like greed and gluttony because they are more socially acceptable.
1Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
For that matter, there are Christian congregations in America that historically have looked the other way when their preachers committed serial adultery. It is a shameful heritage.
It is impossible to reprove the world of sin when you are clinging to sin. It is impossible to pursue righteousness when one is zealously clinging to error.
An example would be the messianic zeal with which the Wilson administration in World War One captured Christian churches in the delusion that if you chose what Christ said over government policy you were not really a good Christian or a good American as they were supposed to be one and the same. One preacher announced that if Christ were here on earth today he would be in the infantry and have a German’s guts on his bayonet.(27) Christians confused patriotism with faith and placed their patriotic feelings above any commitment to Christ. Of course, the Germans also thought that God was on their side. Sometimes a good thing like your country is placed in front of you but that good thing demands that you place it above God. Then, you have to make a decision. Conservative Christians have a difficult time differentiating between love of country and blind obedience to politicians with an agenda.
The liberal Christian denies the supernatural declarations of the Bible and the conservative Christian denies the truth of what God literally said twisting it and taking it out of context, both of them having a hard time reproving the world of anything and rendering the church powerless spiritually in a world gone mad.
The prince of this world, the god of this world (2Corinthians 4:4), the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2) is judged as Christ’s presence by His Spirit in the believers by virtue of the Holy Ghost’s presence convicts Satan, the Adversary (1Peter 5:8). It is now time to simply wait for the sentence to be carried out.
We are to rely on the Holy Ghost for truth and rely on the Spirit of truth through God’s word for what is and what is to come. If what we receive comes from Him then Christ will be glorified as God. So, any cult that denies the divinity of Christ is clearly not founded in the Spirit of truth. Examples would include those Christians which place Christ in an inferior position to God and rely on Bible translations that call Him a begotten God rather than the only begotten Son in John 1:18.
Luke 10:18 And he [Jesus] said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.
The Holy Ghost operating within the believer, within the church, which is the body of Christ on earth, is the most significant and relevant fact of Christian history after Christ’s ascension to Heaven and is usually left out of any history of Christianity or any study of the history of Bible translation as the church organizations that the Holy Ghost has no part in, who are powerful and influential in the world, would then be excluded except as enemies of Christ.
(27) See Ray Abrams, Preachers Present Arms (New York: Round Table Press, 1933).