Mistaken About Many Things

The Spirit will come and show the people of this world the truth about sin and God’s justice and the judgment. The Spirit will show them that they are wrong about sin, because they didn’t have faith in me. They are wrong about God’s justice, because I am going to the Father, and you won’t see me again. And they are wrong about the judgment, because God has already judged the ruler of this world.

I have much more to say to you, but right now it would be more than you could understand. The Spirit shows what is true and will come and guide you into the full truth. The Spirit doesn’t speak on his own. He will tell you only what he has heard from me, and he will let you know what is going to happen. The Spirit will bring glory to me by taking my message and telling it to you. Everything that the Father has is mine. That is why I have said that the Spirit takes my message and tells it to you. (John 16:8–15)

Jesus told his disciples that humanity was mistaken about many things.

Human beings are wrong about sin because they lack faith in Jesus. That’s why Adam and Eve sinned: their lack of trust. Rather than believing God, they believed the serpent’s lie that God was trying to keep them from something good. Ever since, humans have doubted that God has their best intentions in mind. Our lack of trust in God is at the core of sin.

Human beings are wrong about justice—or as some translations have it, “righteousness.” “Righteousness” is the opposite of sin. The religious establishment condemned Jesus, a righteous man, to death. Meanwhile, God tells the human race that their righteousness is like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). We are barely capable of genuine righteousness.

Human beings are wrong about judgment because they think of it only in the future tense. But God has already judged Satan, the ruler of the world. Satan is already guilty, already overthrown by Jesus, as demonstrated time and again by his power over the demons. Moreover, our sin has already been judged because Jesus was judged in our place. We stand forgiven and righteous because we died with Christ. We are not righteous in ourselves, but righteous in Christ. Everything has changed for us thanks to Jesus. Today the Holy Spirit helps us realize how things stand between us and God, and between us and one another.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm the interim pastor at Quartz Hill Community Church. I have written several books. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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