“When He comes He will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment." (John 16: 8-11)
Make a pilgrimage one day to the open stretches of Blackheath in South-East London! In the very centre of the heath you will come to a small cordoned-off hillock, left in its natural state, where – 250 years ago - the blazing evangelist George Whitefield would address as many as thirty thousand people at a time, with his cavernous voice. Today that small rise in the ground is still known as “Whitefield’s Mount.”
It was a time of widespread revival in England, under John and Charles Wesley and their preaching contemporaries - of whom Whitefield was one. The Wesley brothers would write that the effect of the preaching was such that men and women would sometimes fall face-down in deep repentance under the conviction of their sins and their need of Jesus. Indeed, Charles Wesley’s great hymn Love Divine – sung today worldwide - includes a line inspired directly from his observation of those shaking under conviction. It runs, ‘Enter every trembling heart.’
This Spirit-given conviction of sin was foretold by Jesus, in his prediction of the coming of the unseen ‘Comforter’ – the ‘Helper’ who would represent His very own Presence in the lives of His disciples.
The conviction of SIN is part of becoming a Christian! It is conviction 'sin’ – said Jesus – ‘because men do not believe in Me.’ THE sin – across the centuries - is the sin of keeping Christ out of our lives!
Further, the Spirit’s conviction of ‘righteousness’ is the compelling realisation that the Lord’s ‘going to the Father’ (v. 10) was the defining seal of His acceptance above as the perfect and righteous God-Man, following the completion of His saving work among us.
And the conviction regarding ‘judgment’? Reason; because (v.11) all those finally found with Satan (‘the prince of the world’) will have their days numbered with