“And when [the Holy Spirit] comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and about righteousness and about judgement.” (John 16:8)
When Jesus returned to the Father, he sent a Comforter and Advocate to us—the Holy Spirit.
The Spirit’s mission is to show us our mistakes concerning morality—about what is wrong, about what is right, and about how to tell the difference—sin, righteousness, and judgement.
The Comforter upends conventional morality.
Why? Because conventional morality is often not moral at all. For those harmed in the name of conventional morality, it is a comfort to have an advocate in God.
Conventional morality is sometimes right, of course. But when it is wrong, it is terribly wrong.
Slavery is one example of what the Holy Spirit has proven the world wrong about. In ancient times slavery was almost everywhere considered a perfectly respectable practice. Now it stands condemned.
And morality has improved in many other ways.
The work of the Holy Spirit is slow, but it is thorough.
We've all been wrong. We all have work to do. The Holy Spirit is working in all of us, bringing clarity and generosity to the extent we are willing to receive it.
Whether we are left or right, religious or secular, moderate or radical—there is almost always something in our moral code worth holding onto and something else worth scrutinizing carefully and rejecting.
Because, beyond our opinions and the opinions of all the world's moral authorities, there is righteousness that is genuinely lovely, and there is sin that is genuinely lamentable, and there is judgement that genuinely brings justice and mercy to all.
Holy Spirit, please help us to seek true righteousness.