I. CONVICTING SINNERS
TO REPENT AND BELIEVE IN CHRIST
The first function of the all-inclusive Spirit is to convict sinners to repent and believe in Christ. This is according to John 16:7-11. This is a wonderful portion of the Word. Before going to Russia last year for the spread of the Lord’s recovery, the brothers came to me and we had some fellowship concerning what truths we should bring to the people of Russia. I proposed that we bring them the seven wonders of the Bible. John 16:7-11 is included in the wonders of the Bible.
When the Lord Jesus spoke this in John 16, the Spirit of reality had not yet come. The Lord said that when the Spirit would come, He would convict the world concerning sin, concerning righteousness, and concerning judgment. When the Lord Jesus said this, He had not yet gone to the cross to accomplish redemption. He told His disciples that if He did not go away, the Comforter, the Spirit of reality, would not come to them (v. 7). The Son’s going was for the coming of the wonderful Spirit. After dying on the cross, the Son entered into resurrection. The Spirit of reality came on the day of His resurrection. This Spirit was breathed by the resurrected Christ into His disciples to be the reality of whatever Christ is and whatever Christ has accomplished (John 20:22). After forty days Christ ascended to the heavens, and ten days later, on the day of Pentecost, the fulfillment of fifty days, the Spirit came down as power upon the disciples (Acts 1:8). Such a Spirit came to convict the world, including all tribes, tongues, peoples, and nations (Rev. 5:9). This is the third step of God’s economy.
In the economy of God, the first step is the Father’s planning, the second step is the Son’s accomplishing, and the third step is the Spirit’s application of Christ’s redemption. The third step is the coming of the Spirit to gain the people whom God intended to gain. Now in the Spirit’s application, the first step is the convicting of the Spirit. Today our preaching of the gospel is to carry out the conviction of the Spirit. In preaching the gospel, we first have to learn to convict people. We should not merely say good things to people. We have to carry out the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
When people listen to us, they should be convicted first concerning righteousness, second concerning sin, and third concerning judgment. Righteousness is related to Christ, sin is related to Adam, and judgment is related to Satan. If people do not repent of the sin that is in Adam and believe into Christ as righteousness, they will remain in sin and share the judgment of Satan for eternity (Matt. 25:41). Christ, Adam, and Satan are the three persons which must be involved in our gospel preaching. The function of the all-inclusive Spirit is to convict the fallen people on this earth. Our commission is to convict people. The first step of the Spirit’s application is to convict people.
(The Christian Life, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)