The last several days it has been laid upon my heart that whenever I judge someone or try to convict anyone they may not be seeing something clearly, I’m trying to step into shoes I cannot fill! To be clear, God is God, and I am not! As the Reverend Billy Graham says,
“It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge and my job to love.”–Billy Graham
It’s the Holy Spirit’s Job to Convict: In the following Scripture, we see a three-fold ministry the Holy Spirit will perform in relation to the unsaved world. He will “convict” the world; that is, He will reprove it or show it to be wrong. This reproof will target three areas in which the world needs admonishing: sin, righteousness, and judgment. “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send Him to you. And when He comes, He will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.” (John 16:7-11) No amount of preaching, pleading, or pointing of fingers will bring about the conviction of sin, unless the Holy Spirit is at work in the sinner’s heart. It is the Spirit’s job to convict.
It’s God’s Place to Judge: Scripture makes it very clear that there is one supreme Judge of all—the Lord God—and that He alone has the authority to determine right and wrong motives and behaviors. “The heavens declare his righteousness, for God himself is judge!” (Psalm 50:6) The Old Testament is rife with passages that establish God as the ultimate Judge. When we come to the New Testament, we find that the Father has committed authority and judgment to the Son. Jesus spoke of this authority before He ascended to heaven after the Resurrection. “And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.'” (Matthew 28:18). Jesus also said, “I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the Word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.” (John 12:46-18)
It’s My Job to Love: As we’ve been talking about for a while, loving our Lord God and each other are the greatest commandments. (Matthew 22:36-40) We commonly think of neighbors as the people who live near us, but Jesus meant it to include all mankind – even our enemies! Jesus told His famous parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) to make it clear that “love your neighbor” means to love all persons, everywhere – not just our friends, allies, countrymen, etc. And specifically to Christ followers, Jesus said: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)
The world won’t know us (His disciples) by our perfection, but by our love for one another. “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23) Even when we aren’t aware of it, we commit sin by the things we do (or fail to do), or by the way we think. This is why we need Christ, for only He can forgive us all our sins, and only He can help us live the way we should, walking in the steps He directs us in love. We can’t forgive ourselves, nor can we change our hearts and make ourselves better in God’s eyes. The Bible’s statement, “For the wages of sin is death …” (Romans 6:23), applies to all sin, whether in thought, word, or deed. Whether our sins are relatively small or great, they will place us in hell apart from God’s grace. The good news is that Jesus paid the penalty for our sins and the sins of the whole world at the Cross. If we will repent and turn to Jesus in faith, our sins will be forgiven, and we will receive the gift of eternal life. So with love, we are to share His gospel, and leave convicting to the Holy Spirit and the judgment to God.
- NIV Study Bible
- Bible Gateway
- The Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment
- Does the Bible tell Christians not to judge?
- Love Your Neighbor As Yourself
- What is Sin?