John 16: 4b-15

“I did not say these things to you from the beginning because I was with you. But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

Understanding And Applying the Text

Christ’s disciples were still weak and vulnerable at this point. As long was Christ was with them in the flesh He protected them from persecution. They did not suffer because they could not withstand it. But now Christ is about to return to the Father. He tells them their life is about to change. They are going to face persecution both from within and outside the church.

Christ admonished the disciples for being too attached to His physical presence. Christ then makes a statement which seems unfounded. “none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going’” Thomas has asked earlier “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” (John 14:5) The answer to the perplexity is their concern was Christ’s leaving. They did not consider where Christ was going. They were not concerned about Christ’s purpose in leaving.

Christ told His disciples His leaving is to their advantage. Christ was going to the Father. It was better that Christ go to the Father than they have His physical presence.

Christ said something which is hard to understand. He said, it is better that He goes and the Holy Spirit come than to have His physical presence. Today, most Christians would say they would prefer to be in Christ’s presence than to have things as they are. But Christ tells us it is better for us to have the Holy Spirit. “It is to your advantage that I go away” (v7).

When the Holy Spirit comes He convicts the world. In the term, world, Christ refers to both elect and unelect. The terms include those converted to Christ and pretenders to the faith.

The Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. He is not an impersonal force. Christ speaks of the Spirit as a person. Christ uses a personal pronoun when talking about the Spirit. He is a he not an it.

Christ was not telling His disciples the Spirit would bring secret revelations. Christ spoke of the power of the Spirit. The Spirit Spirit’s power is in the Gospel. The Spirit convicts of sin, righteousness, and judgment. (v8)

The Spirit convicts of sin because the world does not believe in Christ. Christ did not intend that unbelief is the only cause of sin. Men are born in sin. We have nothing in us but sin. Christ mentions unbelief because faith is the instrument God uses to bind us to Him. We receive forgiveness by God’s grace through faith. Christ mentions unbelief because unbelief separates us from Him.

The Spirit convicts of righteousness. We do not hunger and thirst after righteousness on our own. The Spirit must convince us. The gospel is not understood unless the Spirit convinces us of our sin. That is why Christ spoke of the conviction of sin first.

Here we see why it is to our advantage Christ goes to the Father. He rose for our justification (Romans 4:25) He now sits at the right hand of the Father. He exercises all authority given to Him. (Ephesian 4:10) In short, He fills the world with the sweetness of His righteousness.

First, the Spirit convicts us of sin than of righteousness now judgment. Christ’s victory overturned Satan’s authority. Christ changed everything. Christ triumphed over Satan.

Christ told His disciples He had more to tell them but they could not bear it. Many have twisted this to mean that the Spirit would reveal an additional truth. That is, the Spirit reveals extra-biblical revelation. This has led to all sorts of bad teaching, heresies and outright contradiction of scripture.

It is from this the error many have blasphemed God. They claim God has said thing He has not said. As soon as we separate the Spirit from the word of Christ, we open the door to all kinds of delusions and impostures.

Christ is referring to the immediate events about His death and resurrection. The disciples would not understand until after the events. They could not handle the truth of what is about to come.

The Spirit does not reveal new truth. The Spirit reminded the disciples of the truth Christ taught. (John 16:4) The Spirit only glorifies Christ. (v14)

We may ask the question how do we know the apostles taught what Christ taught? The Holy Spirit brought it to their mind. We may trust we have Christ’s teaching because the Spirit guided the apostles.

What joy we find in the final verse, all the Father has is Christ’s. And we share in what is Christ’s. I do not about you but my response is WOOHOO!

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