One of the things that the Holy Spirit does is to convict. What do you think He convicts us of? All the things we are doing that are wrong? All the mistakes that we make?
John 16:8 tells us what the Holy Spirit convicts of. It says that He will convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. John 16:9-11 explains further just what this means. These verses paint a very different picture of the Holy Spirit’s role of convicting than we sometimes imagine!
John 16:9 says that He convicts the world of sin because they don’t believe in Jesus. The Holy Spirit convicting of sin doesn’t mean that He points out to us every sin we ever commit. Rather, it means that He convicts those who haven’t accepted Christ of the one sin that will keep them from spending eternity with Him – the sin of not believing in Him.
John 16:10 says that Holy Spirit convicts of righteousness, because Jesus was going to the Father, and therefore we would no longer see Him. Under the new covenant of God’s grace that Christ came to establish, how do we become righteous? Not by always doing the right thing and never messing up, but rather through faith in Jesus (Rom 3:22)! When Jesus returned to the Father, the Holy Spirit was sent to be our Helper (Jn 14:16). Today, Christ is at the Father’s right hand, representing us, and our Helper, the Holy Spirit, convicts of the fact that in Him, we have been made righteous (2 Cor 5:21)!
John 16:11 says that the Holy Spirit convicts of judgment, because the ruler of the world has been judged. Our Savior has disarmed principalities and powers. He triumphed over them at the cross (Col 2:15). In other words, the devil is a defeated foe, and the Holy Spirit reminds us of that!
This is how the Holy Spirit convicts! He points people towards faith in Christ, He helps us to understand that we have been made righteous, and He reminds us that the enemy has been defeated! How wonderful God is to have sent us such a Helper!