Cantate—Easter 5 (Jn 16:5–15)

Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed! Allelluia!


If you’re in Christ, then you have the Spirit. If you have the Spirit, you’re in Christ Jesus. Jesus puts these two things ideas together in our text. You can’t separate the Spirit from Jesus, and you can’t separate them from the Father. All this comes together in Jesus. He’s the hinge of it all, and He says that if you have the Spirit, you have Him. You’re in Him, and so you then trust Him—trust Jesus.

The result of this being in Jesus is that there is no condemnation—none, zero, zilch. That’s what Paul says. Jesus puts it another way in our text. Paul says the negative: no condemnation for those in Christ. Jesus says the positive: there is condemnation, or “conviction” as Jesus says, for those outside of Him. But no matter how its said (positive or negative), no matter who says it (Paul or Jesus), the result is the same, dear saints of God. The result is comfort for you.


((I. There is conviction for the world.))

That’s sort of a problem for the world. There is conviction for the world. The Spirit “will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness,” Jesus says. But why? It’s easy for us to get hung up on behavior. What the world does is the problem. I could stand up here with a great big laundry list of stuff that’s wrong out there in the world. But those things are secondary. You can’t forget Jesus’ “why.” Why is the world convicted of sin? Because they do bad stuff out there? Because it’s full of sinners? Because they’re worse people than we are? No! Why is the world convicted because of righteousness? Is it because of all the same bad stuff? No! That’s not what Jesus says, at all!

We always run the risk of half-listening to Jesus. A sentence here. A half sentence there. Then we miss Jesus’ point. As if Jesus’ point here is about some better morality than out in the world. So what is Jesus’ point? Why is there “conviction concerning sin”? “Because they don’t believe in me!” Why is there “conviction concerning righteousness”? “Because I am going to the Father.”

You see, there’s lots of moral people out in the world, but they don’t have the Spirit, they aren’t in Christ, and so they don’t trust Him. “Sins” are a symptom of a greater problem—unbelief. To talk about them as the bigger problem is like thinking that the pain from a broken leg is a bigger problem than the broken leg! They’ve rejected Christ, turned from Him. They’ve sought their own righteousness, their own being a nice person over Jesus the Righteous One who stands now before the Father having died and risen for the sins of the whole world.

There is conviction for the world. They do not have the Spirit. They are not in Christ. They do not trust Him. There is conviction for those who go their own way away from Christ and His Gifts. Hence the need for telling of the cross of Jesus, His Gifts, and not just finger wagging at the world, those who’ve separated themselves from Christ Jesus.

((II. There is no conviction for those in Christ.))

So, is there conviction for you? To look at what you do isn’t the answer. It’s not about that at all, says Jesus. It’s not that you’re a nice person. It’s not that you’re better than so-and-so. It’s not that your good tends to out weigh your bad. That’s barking up the wrong tree. To go that way is the way of the world. The way of no Jesus, of just yourself. That’s the no-Spirit way. That’s to move outside of Christ. To trust ourselves and not Him.

Christ is yours. He died and rose. And you’re in on that. You’re in Him. The Spirit, the Holy Spirit, is your Helper. He was given you as the down-payment of your salvation. All this in your Baptism. Being baptized according to Jesus’ Word means that you receive the Gift of the Spirit, as Peter says. Baptism is the new birth of the Holy Spirit, as Paul says. Both Christ and the Spirit were gifted you in Holy Baptism.

Because of those great gifts, we trust Jesus. Of course we do! So we receive more and more of Him, at His bidding and command. The Spirit continues to work within us. More and more of Him, too. Only in Jesus is there no conviction. Only with the Spirit is there no conviction.

This is why the Word and Gifts of Jesus are so important. The terms of our relationship are defined by Him. He defines us, actually. That’s Baptism. He continually defines us as being in Him, and He in us. That’s the Lord’s Supper. “Whoever eats my flesh and blood abides in Me, and I in Him.” Apart from that there is no abiding in Jesus, no matter what people say or think. It’s what Jesus says. Him alone. He’s the Righteous One, the Perfect One, who stands before Your Father for you. He delivers His righteousness, His perfection, His being the Son of the Father to you. So, in Christ and through His Gifts, you are those things righteous, perfect, child of the Father. The Spirit is your Helper, gifted to you. Because of all this, we trust Jesus.

There’s no looking at ourselves here. All Jesus. In Him there’s no condemnation. No conviction. No guilty verdict. He was guilty, He was convicted, He was condemned—dead! For you. For all. For the world. The Spirit is for you. He’s yours, too. You could go your own way. Probably live a decent life. That’s the scary thing. But to do that there’s conviction from the Spirit.

But perish the thought of doing that! You’re in Christ. The Spirit is yours. All given you in your Baptism. Christ continues to dwell within you. You dwell in Christ. That’s body and blood stuff. Here you commune with Christ by eating and drinking His body and blood. No conviction there. No conviction when you have the Spirit. When you trust Christ, His Word, and Gifts.


Not now. Not ever.

Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed! Allelluia!


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