Torrey - Holyl Spirit - 7.2- The Work of the Holy Spirit in the World

II. THE WORK OF THE SPIRIT IN HUMANS IN GENERAL. John 15:26-27 — "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning." Acts 5:30-32 — "The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him."

First Proposition: The Holy Spirit bears witness to the truth regarding Jesus Christ.

At first sight this testimony seems to be confined to the believer, for John 15:26 says, "Whom I will send unto you" (i.e., of course, believers), but in the next chapter, verses 7-8 ("Nevertheless I tell you the truth.., 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"), where the Holy Spirit's work in the world is distinctly described, it says, "I will send him unto you." The truth seems clearly to be that the Spirit works in the world through the believers to whom He is sent. If we as believers realized the utter dependence of the world upon us for the Spirit's gracious work, we would be more careful to see that the Spirit found in us an unobstructed channel. How slowly the world comes to know Jesus because of the unfaithfulness of the church. John 14:17 — "Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." All truth is from the Spirit — He is "the Spirit of truth" but it is His especial work to bear witness to Him who is the truth — Jesus Christ.

It is only through the testimony of the Spirit that we ever come to a true knowledge of Christ. (See 1 Corinthians 12:3.) If you wish others to get a true view of Jesus Christ — such a view of Him that they may believe and be saved — you must seek for them the testimony of the Holy Spirit.

Neither your own testimony, nor even that of the Word alone, will effect this — though it is your testimony or that of the word which the Holy Spirit uses. But unless your testimony and that of the word is taken up by the Holy Spirit and He Himself testifies, they will not believe.

This explains why it is that one who has been long in darkness concerning Jesus Christ so quickly comes to see the truth when he surrenders his will to God and seeks light from him. (Compare to John 7:17 and Acts 5:32.) It also explains why it is that when you have shown a man the truth about Christ over and over again and he has seen nothing, suddenly it all bursts upon him, and he sees and believes. The Spirit has borne His witness to Christ. It was not merely Peter's words about Christ that convinced the Jews of the truth concerning Christ on the Day of Pentecost. It was the Spirit Himself bearing witness. If you wish men to see the truth about Christ, do not depend upon your own powers of expression and persuasion, but cast yourself upon the Holy Spirit and seek for them His testimony. This is the cure for both ignorance and skepticism concerning Christ. (Compare to John 7:17.)

The testimony of the Holy Spirit to Christ is different from His testimony to our sonship. That we will consider later. John 16:8-11 RV — "And he, when he is come, will convict the world in respect of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they believe not on me; of righteousness, because I go to the Father, and ye behold me no more; of judgment, because the prince of this world hath been judged."

Second Proposition: The Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment.

He convicts (that is, convinces with a convincing that is self-condemning) the world of its sin in not believing on Christ. (Compare to Acts 2:36-37 — "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their hearts, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?") He convicts the world of Christ's righteousness attested by His going to the Father, the coming of the Spirit being in itself a proof that Christ has gone to the Father. (Compare to Acts 2:33 — "Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.") He convicts the world of judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged. He was judged at the cross. (Compare Colossians 2:15 — "And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.") John 12:31 — "Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out." Hebrews 2:14 "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil."

It is our responsibility to preach the word and look to the Holy Spirit to produce conviction. ( Acts 2:4,37). Often the reason we fail to produce conviction is we are trying to do it ourselves. Let us not forget on the other hand that it is through us that the Spirit produces conviction ( John 16:7-8).