They will say of me, ‘In the LORD alone are righteousness and strength.” Isaiah 45:24
It wasn’t one of my better days. It began as a delightful treat—an unexpected outing with my husband to check out a piece of furniture. It ended with me telling him I felt like throwing my phone at him.
I remember walking out of the store thinking, “What just happened?” And I really had no idea. Anger erupted out of me like someone had flipped a switch. And over what . . . a phone call? A tone of voice?
Let’s face it; the flesh is just plain ugly. In our unguarded moments, we can be capable of just about anything. And unfortunately, the selfish tirades of our flesh often end up directed at those we love the most. Oh, how we need a Savior!
Ah, but we have One. Jesus. And through Him, God did something wonderful.
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21
Jesus bled and died so that we could become righteousness. Did you get that? Maybe you should read it again. In Christ, we have been given a divine capacity for righteousness. He doesn’t ask us to imitate His righteousness; He asks us to exchange our old nature for His own (Ephesians 4:22-24). He promises to release us from the destructive nature of our flesh, and He sent us His Spirit to do the work. Celebrate 2 Corinthians 3:18,
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
It’s a great plan. Trouble is, we have a hard time seeing it come to light in us. We’d like to be different, but those old habits are difficult to break. The power of that sin nature seems so strong at times—too strong to overcome. So we reason that everyone slips up sometimes and resign ourselves to remaining unchanged.
Thank God for sending the Counselor, the Spirit of Truth, who “convict[s] the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:8).
We’re very familiar with the Spirit’s role in convicting us of our guilt over sin. It was He who whispered into my heart in that furniture store, “What would people think of Me if they were watching you right now, beloved?” His words pierced my heart and resulted in confession to both God and my husband.
But what about His role in convicting—or convincing—us of our guilt in regard to righteousness and judgment? Verses 10-11 reveal some powerful truths that can help us to walk in victory and live as overcomers. Let’s begin with John 16:10:
“in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer.”
What is Jesus doing right now before the Father? He’s interceding for us (Romans 8:34). Remember, Jesus bore our sin so we could bear His righteousness. Now when the Father looks at us, He no longer sees our sin ravaged flesh. He sees His Son.
I wish I could say the same about us. We still tend to see ourselves as we were— unrighteous sinners— rather than the pure and holy vessels we have become. And so we act like it. “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7, NKJV).
But Jesus sent us the Holy Spirit to change our view. We are already righteous! Our thoughts just need to catch up with our reality. So the Spirit of Truth works within our hearts to convince us of our righteousness in Christ.
Verse 11 gets me even more excited.
“11 and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.”
Look at the target of the judgment described. It’s not you, dear one. This judgment is against the prince of this world. And notice something else. Jesus isn’t describing a judgment to come; this judgment has already taken place: the prince of this world now stands condemned.
Rejoice over Colossians 2:13, 15:
When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins . . . And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
The enemy of your soul has been judged. He has been disarmed, beloved, and any power he exercises over you is nothing but a lie. Your sin isn’t stronger than Jesus; Jesus has already conquered your sin. What remains now is for you to believe it.
And that’s where the Spirit becomes strength in your weakness. He convinces you of your righteous standing before God and of the victory you’ve already been given. Then He provides you with the power to live like the righteousness you are.
No wonder Jesus told us He was sending the Counselor for our good. Perhaps it’s time we believed Him.