THE SPIRIT GUIDES US INTO "ALL TRUTH"
The sphere of the Spirit’s work
To identify the sphere of the Spirit’s work actually further helps define the perimeter of the truth that we have talked about. The work of the Spirit is well detailed in the many pages of the Bible; the most notable and best passage is in John 16:8-11.
“And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.”
These are the three areas of the work of the Spirit. However, the real meaning of these verses may only be derived when the word “convict” is assigned with accurate meaning based on the original text. It should be taken to mean “bringing to light”.
The first is the sin of unbelief: Gentiles do not believe in God, despite the testimonies to His existence by the existence of the universe (Rm. 1:20-25). Many, despite having seen the works and power, and having heard about the gospel, of Jesus refuse to believe in Him. This amounts to a sin (2 Thess. 1:7-8). Peter, by the power of the Holy Spirit, awoke many to their senses to become aware of their sin of unbelief, which led them to crucify Jesus (Acts 2:22; 3:13-16). Today, the Spirit does just that.
The second is to disclose the righteousness of Jesus. A righteous God is both just and merciful (cf. Rm. 3:26) because He is unchanging, which is demonstrated in His realising of His word on those who believe in Him. The outpour of the Promised Holy Spirit after His ascension, not only on the apostles but also on us today, firmly underlines the righteousness of Jesus (Acts 2:33). Though we have not seen Jesus in person and have not heard His teachings personally, our conviction remains steadfast in His word. The work of the Spirit here is to help us believe in the word of Jesus, which is in the Bible.
The third is of judgment. Here, Jesus specifically talks about the judgment that He has brought upon the ruler of the world. The “ruler” is Satan, who is judged. In respect of power, Jesus is infinitely much more powerful than Satan. Otherwise, Satan cannot be brought to justice for all his evil deeds against God and His people. An overestimation of the power of Satan on our part is unnecessary and clouds our understanding of God’s power. The battle that we wage against Satan is not of the flesh, but of forces in the heavenly places, which we cannot see with our naked eyes (Eph. 6:12). The Holy Spirit confirms that Jesus has overcome Satan by His redemption, which He has freely offered to us (Rev. 12:11). By relying on the Holy Spirit, we can be victorious over the evil forces and see through all Satan’s schemes as exposed in the Bible.
These have been the key focuses of the entire Bible. Our understanding of the truth must not surpass the scope of the Spirit’s work, which has been clearly documented in the Bible. In our pursuit of knowing the truth, our focus should be on what is written in the Bible, and the Bible alone. Trying to search beyond the biblical scope puts us at risk of corrupting the word of God. In doing so, we endanger our spiritual lives for adding, subtracting or misconstruing His word.
[To be continued...]