There remains one last great conviction that is part of the work of the Spirit: the conviction about judgment. Here is where much of our preaching on this passage seems to go in a wrong and harmful direction.
Often a discussion of sin and righteousness seems to lead many professed Christians to pronounce a warning about the judgment on those who reject Christ. In doing so, they want to warn sinners, often with fearful overtones, of the future judgment that awaits them.
And though that judgment is a reality, this is not what Jesus talks about in John 16:11. The language indicates that the Lord is not talking about future judgment, as He did in John 12:48. Instead, the aspect of the judgment that Jesus now refers to is the good news that Satan would soon be judged at Calvary. The devil, the great enemy of truth, is now living on borrowed time. Judgment will come, but the focus here is on an awareness that the prince of this world now already stands condemned (John 12:31).
Read 1 Peter 5:8-9. How is Satan described by Peter? How can we resist Him?
The devil, knowing that his time is short and that he has been fatally defeated at Calvary, is nevertheless still alive. And he is furious, trying to devour as many as he can. But he is a defeated enemy. Jesus has won the victory. The blood of Jesus makes us free.
When, during World War II, the Nazi troops had received the decisive blow with the successful Allied invasion of France on June 6, 1944, it was clear that Hitler was defeated. Yet the eleven months between D-Day (when the attack was initiated) and VE-Day (May 8, 1945 when the war ended in Europe) were the bloodiest of all. Similarly Satan knows that he was decisively defeated at the cross. Yet, he stubbornly fights and tries to devour as many as he can. In these challenging times we are called to be sober and alert and to cast all our anxiety upon Jesus, because He cares for us (1 Pet. 5:7-8).
|Why is judgment good news? Who is our surety in the judgment? How can we preach about the judgment in such a way that we instill hope rather than fear?|