THE PROMISE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
John 16:7-11 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: of sin, because they believe not on Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father, and ye see Me no more; of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. (Also See Vss. 5-6; 12-15)
In the two verses preceding the lesson text, Jesus tells His apostles that now I go My way to Him that sent Me. Jesus was returning to His Heavenly Father. And we know the events leading to this would take Jesus to His death on the cross of Calvary, followed by entombment in a sepulcher. Being crucified and entombed, Jesus, would then, breaking the bonds of death by His resurrection. Afterwards, He would return to life, walk on earth once again, be witnesses by many, and finally He would ascend back into heaven to rule His kingdom while seated at the right hand of God. Although they had questioned Him before about the future death that He was to experience, it seems that, because of the grief and sorrow they were going through at this time, they had not recently questioned it - they had not asked Him whither goest thou?
Regardless of the sorrow He may have brought them by revealing the truth about His future sacrificial death, the truth to them was be told. However this sorrow of death and separation from them was to result in a true blessing for each of them, as well as the entire world. It is expedient, that is, it was necessary that Jesus suffer death and depart (go away), in order to accomplish the earthly mission His Heavenly Father had sent Him to do. Without His departure, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you. As noted in previous texts, "the Comforter" is the third part of the Holy Trinity, the same referred to as the Holy Ghost and the Holy Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit of God was not to come to the world through the apostles until Jesus' mission on earth was completed. His atoning death on the cross was necessary in order to reconcile sinful mankind to God. After this was accomplished, Jesus work on earth would be completed, He would depart, and finally He would send Him (the Comforter) unto you.
Jesus tells us, in the next few verses, the mission of the Comforter, also noted here as the Spirit of truth (Vs. 13). First, Jesus tells His apostles that, when the Holy Spirit comes, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. To reprove, means that He will convince them with infallible proofs, and His message of eternal salvation would be preached by Christ's apostles to all people of the world. And as they taught God's word, they would spread this same Holy Spirit reproof throughout the world. Men and women, having receptive hearts will have the ability to identify that which is sinful, that which is righteous, and will also be given the ability to judge for themselves, and choose the path they desire to travel during their journey through life.
People will be convicted of sin because they believe not on Me. Sin is any violation of God's law. God identified Jesus Christ as His Son, and then added this commandment: hear ye Him (Matt. 17:5). To reject Jesus as the promised Messiah, the Savior of the world, is a direct violation of the will of God - it is sin. Some Jews, when the Holy Spirit-inspired gospel of Christ was preached by the apostles on the Day of Pentecost, recognized their rejection, persecution, and consenting to the crucifixion of Jesus as sin. And being convicted by the apostles' teaching, they repented and were baptized for the remission of their sins, and were rewarded with the hope of eternal salvation by being added, by God, to the body of Christ, His church. Through the Holy Spirit, unbelief was destroyed.
People will be convinced of righteousness, because I go to My Father, and ye see Me no more. The vast majority of the Jewish nation rejected Jesus. He was looked upon, by the Jewish leadership, and those that followed them, as a religious imposter, who was possessed with the spirit of devils and performed mystical acts to deceived men and women into following Him. Jesus was falsely accused of being a blasphemer of God and, at their incessant demand, was put to death. When, through the Holy Spirit of God, the true, righteous reason for His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension into heaven was preached on the Day of Pentecost, many were convinced that He was, indeed, the Son of God, and the promised Messiah. By many miracles, the apostles, as directed by the Holy Spirit of God, testified of Jesus' righteousness.
People will be convicted of their erring judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. Many of those that judged Jesus to be an emissary of Satan will learn, from the Holy Spirit-inspired gospel preached by the apostles, that it was the Son of God that was victorious. It was Satan, the prince of this world, that lost his power and dominion over mankind. It was by the judgment of Jesus Christ that Satan was condemned, lost his death-gripping dominion over mankind, and established the hope of a resurrected, eternal life in heaven. All universal power, in heaven and on earth, is now in the hands of Christ Jesus. He subdued Satan and gave His faithful apostles the same power to overcome his evil influence on mankind.
There remained many things that Jesus could have revealed to His apostles about the Holy Spirit, but at this present time, Jesus said that ye cannot bear them now. The indication was that the entire gospel message of salvation would be completely revealed to them when He, the Spirit of truth, is come. It is easily understood in these verses that the revelation of the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ would take place at a time that would be established by God, Himself - in due time and in accordance with His will. And when that time comes, He (the Holy Spirit of God) will guide you (the apostles) into all truth. These truths that shall establish Christ's kingdom will not come from the mind of the Holy Spirit, but they will be sent through Him to the apostles from God and His Son, Jesus Christ (See Vss. 12-13).
Beginning with the 14th verse, following the lesson text, Jesus tells His apostles things that will be revealed to them through the Holy Spirit, which will glorify Me. The gospel truths that He will show them will come directly from Jesus. The mission of Jesus will be completed by instructions from the Holy Spirit. When He comes, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment, and in doing so, He will lead us to accept and believe God's plan of salvation, repent of our past sinful life, confess Jesus to be the Son of God and our Savior, and be baptized by water for the remission of our sins.
In verse 15, the unity of the Godhead is revealed. The omniscient wisdom of God is given to the world in His Son, Jesus Christ, and is revealed, first to His apostles, by the Holy Spirit, and by their teaching, it was given to the world, beginning on the Day of Pentecost following the ascension of our Lord back into heaven where God gave Him complete rule over His kingdom. And after His ascension, Jesus would send the Comforter to His apostles to direct their actions and the message they were to teach to the world. We know this member of the Godhead to be the Holy Spirit of God, who was sent by Jesus and who miraculously descended on His apostles. It was by His inspiration that the apostles were able to preach the gospel of salvation to the world. Today, we also have access to the Holy Spirit. He guides our lives, but not in the miraculous manner He led the apostles. He lives in us through our knowledge of the New Testament scriptures that were written through His inspiration. The Holy Spirit was promised and sent by Jesus Christ to His apostles. The same comfort He gave them flows down to us in the form of God's Holy Word, which was first given to the apostles and then to the world.