"THE PECULIAR WORK OF THE COMFORTER"
"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. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment"-John 16:7-8
The scene we have before us is a dear one. Jesus is giving his apostles their last instruction before He will be crucified. He is reminding them that His departure is "expedient", necessary, for the furtherance of His kingdom. And when He departs He will send them another teacher, the third person of the Holy trinity, the Holy Ghost: the "Comforter".
Just as Christ had His work concerning the salvation of His people, so the Holy Ghost has his peculiar work. This work was magnified on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Ghost was poured out in great measure. But His work continues today in the hearts and lives of God's people, "For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call"- Acts 2:39. Jesus said the Comforter will do three things: (1) Reprove the world of sin; (2) Reprove the world of righteousness; and (3) Reprove the world of judgement.
REPROVE THE WORLD OF SIN
To understand Jesus' words, we must first get our "world" in order. This world that Christ makes reference to must be identified. It is not the world at large, or all would call upon His name. It is not the world that Caesar Augustus taxed(Luke 2:1). It is not the world that John told us not to love(1 John 2:15). It is not the physical globe, or, terra firma. But rather, a special world, an identifiable world described with such terms as, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world"-John 1:29. To this world the Comforter is sent.
This world, and this world alone, the Comforter will "reprove" of sin. The word reprove means "to convince". Only the Holy Ghost can accomplish this work upon the soul. Mom and dad can't do it; the preacher can't do it; the church can't do it. But the Holy Ghost can do it with a power equal to that of a demonstration. Soul trouble, conviction of heart, is the first sign of the Comforter's visit. Sins are brought to remembrance and we are made to cry, "For thou writest bitter things against me, and makest me to possess the iniquities of my youth"-Job 13:26. Many times, the greatest sin of one's life is brought to remembrance, followed by other sins as well and the first wonder is, "Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" To this experience many will "mock" as some did at Pentecost. But be comforted, there have been countless others, loved and chosen of God, who share this "kindred" experience.
REPROVE THE WORLD OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
But the Comforter does not leave us there. It then convinces us of "righteousness". Not our own, for the Comforter has convinced us that we have none. But by this Jesus means "imputed righteousness". It is only by the peculiar work of the Comforter that we are able, by faith, to look away from self and lay hold upon another for our own justification. That other is Christ. We see Him as the "end of the law". When He is found, there is a peace that passeth understanding. Oh, how lovely Christ becomes. He is the "chiefest among ten thousand", He is "THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS"-Jeremiah 23:6.
Now we understand why Jesus speaks of the Holy Ghost as the "Comforter. He has led us away from self righteousness, to Christ and His righteousness. We sing a "new song" as we are comforted in God's 'amazing grace' and 'redeeming love'. Now we have known the "Comforter".
REPROVE THE WORLD OF JUDDEMENT
Finally, the Comforter convinces this same world of "judgement". By judgement, we mean that well grounded peace, that settled judgement that the soul makes of itself since Christ has died for it. We are made to see that our accuser is defeated and "cast down"; his power is diminished; Christ has bruised his head and we are we learn that "we are more than conquerors through him that loved us"-Romans 8:37. Lord, we thank thee for our Comforter!
Come to worship with us at HARMONY PRIMITIVE BAPTIST CHURCH, at Donaldson, where God is sovereign and salvation is by His abundant and amazing grace. Services begin at 10:30 a.m. each Sunday morning. Phone 501-337-1115.
by His Grace,
Neil Phelan, Jr., Pastor.