The conviction ministry of the Holy Spirit was explicitly declared by Jesus in John 16:5-15.
In Jesus’ declaration to His disciples, He revealed a threefold conviction ministry of the Holy Spirit which is conviction of sin, conviction of righteousness and conviction of judgment.
For the purposes of this essay, I will be referring to an instance in the book of Acts where the Holy Spirit’s conviction ministry was manifested.
The promise of the Holy Spirit as seen in John 16, was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2:1-4. After the Pentecost, the bible tells us that Peter boldly declared the Word of God to the crowd who were confused by the different tongues that the disciples spoke in as the Spirit gave them utterance.
At the end of Peter’s sermon in chapter 2, the bible shows a very different response from the people who doubted Jesus’s ministry a while back.
Verse 37 of Acts 2 states that when the people heard the Word, they were “pricked in their heart” and their response was “what shall we do?”. We see right here a vivid example of the Holy Spirit’s work of conviction. The word translated “pricked,” in the Greek is “katenugēsan”, and is not used elsewhere in the New Testament. It properly denotes “to pierce or penetrate with a needle, lancet, or sharp instrument”. Such is the impact of the conviction the Holy Spirit.
According to commentaries by Barnes on Acts 2:37, their response shows how the Spirit operates in producing conviction of sin. It is not in an arbitrary manner; it is in accordance with truth, and by the truth. The response of the people showed “a readiness to sacrifice all to the will of God; to surrender the governing purpose of the mind, and to do what he requires. In this state the soul is prepared to receive the offers of eternal life; and when the sinner comes to this, the offers of mercy meet his case, and he yields himself to the Lord Jesus, and finds peace”.
The Conviction ministry of the Holy Spirit according to John 16: 5- 15, proves the following to the world:
1. The reality of sin: It is important to note that Jesus said the Holy Spirit shall convict the world of “sin” not “sins”. This is in reference to the sin nature inherited by all men which brings them to a state of spiritual death. The Holy Spirit convicts the world by revealing their falling state. The sin nature is then responsible for the sinful conduct that follows.
2. The availability of the gift of righteousness: The Holy Spirit reveals the gift of righteousness that is available to all in Christ and by reason of the finished work in Christ. As a gift, this righteousness is free and not earned.
3. Judgement of the enemy.