The world’s sin

Today’s Reading: 2 Samuel 12:1-31, John 16:1-33, Psalm 119:65-80, Proverbs 16:4-5

Jesus made a very bold statement about sin in John 16. He was talking about the promise of the Holy Spirit (or Advocate) in this paragraph. He also described the work of the Holy Spirit, to “convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment.”

“But now I am going away to the one who sent me, and not one of you is asking where I am going. Instead, you grieve because of what I’ve told you. But in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment. The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in me. 10 Righteousness is available because I go to the Father, and you will see me no more. 11 Judgment will come because the ruler of this world has already been judged.

In the middle of this paragraph, Jesus said, “The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in me.” I wanted to make use I understood this, so I read it in other translations. John 16:9 in the NIV reads, “about sin, because people do not believe in me;” referring again to the work of the Holy Spirit. The same phrase in the English Standard Version reads, “concerning sin, because they do not believe in me.” The translations in the New Revised Standard Version and New American Standard Bible are very similar to NIV and ESV.

The same phrase in The Message reads, “He’ll show them that their refusal to believe in me is their basic sin.” So the Holy Spirit’s greatest concern is that people do not believe in Jesus. The other sins that Christians sometimes focus on (regrettably we frequently focus more on the sins of others than on our own) are of less concern to God than the sin of unbelief.

I need to wrestle with this for a while. I suppose that if I did not believe that Jesus’ claims are true, then I would have no reason to love Him, follow Him, or keep His commandments. It appears that faith comes first. If I believe in Jesus as Savior and Lord, that is the first and greatest step to following Him. This seems like a good theme for June: believe, follow, obey. I’m looking forward to seeing how this unfolds.

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