Fifth Sunday of Easter (1883

)
John 16:5-15

God was in Christ and reconciled the world to Himself
1
- the entire world.
2
Grace,
righteousness and salvation is thus acquired for all men. But God has also given the office
through which the world should be made partakers of the acquired salvation.
3
The apostles have
been made into infallible teachers by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
4
Their word, as we have
it in the Holy Scriptures, is the Holy Spirit's word. The community of believers confesses this
word and lets it be preached. Thus the preaching of the Holy Spirit resounds in the world until
the end of days. At the core of today's Gospel are the words in which the Lord Christ makes
known the chief point the preaching of the Holy Spirit in the world. Let us consider this
preaching. It concerns us in two respects. We can at one point learn from it what we have to say
to the world, for Christianity is Christ's preacher to the world; after that, what we ourselves also
constantly have to say, for in the sinful flesh we do not have a piece of the world for ourselves.

The threefold preaching of the Holy Spirit to the world;

1. preaching concerning sin;
a. what sin is meant here. It is only called a sin, of which the Holy Spirit should
punitively convict the world: the sin that the world does not believe in Christ
5
;
b. why the Holy Spirit must convict the world of this sin; α. the entire world is stuck in
this sin
6
; β. the world does not have the slightest knowledge of this sin.
7
Reference to the daily
experience; γ. the world is inevitably condemned for the sake of this sin.
8
Why for the sake of
this sin, all sins in themselves still deserve condemnation? Application: Warning and
exhortation on the basis of 2 Corinthians 13:5;

2. preaching concerning righteousness;
a. what kind of a righteousness is meant here. The righteousness that consists in Christ's
going away to the Father.
9
Wonderful speaking! The words of our text are taken from the words
that the Lord Christ taught to His disciples shortly before His suffering and death. The words here
are therefore not from a going home, as it usually takes place at the death of a pious Christian,

1
2 Corinthians 5:19.
2
1 John 2:2.
3
2 Corinthians 5:18ff.
4
John 16:12-15.
5
John 16:9.
6
John 1:10; 1 Corinthians 1:23.
7
1 Corinthians 2:7ff, 14.
8
John 3:18.
9
John 16:10.
but from an incarnate Son of God going to the Father through Golgotha. It is not simply a going
away through death, but a going away by the vicarious atoning death through which Christ paid the
ransom for the sins of the whole world. The righteousness here is therefore the righteousness
which Christ has purchased for mankind through His vicarious action and suffering, which
mankind should apprehend in faith in the Word of promise, with which alone they are able to
stand before God
10
;
b. why the Holy Spirit must convict the world of this righteousness, α. the world knows
nothing of this righteousness. Wherein the world, if it still bothers with religious things, seeks
its righteousness before God, namely in its own action and inaction. The world itself cannot feel
superior about itself from these thoughts. Reason can find it only foolish that we should be
reckoned righteous for the sake of an alien righteousness, for the sake of a righteousness that
lies outside us. Cf. the classic words of Luther for our text.
11
β. a man is justified and saved only
through this righteousness that is in Christ's going away to the Father, and because God wills
the salvation of the world the Holy Spirit should transfer them to this righteousness. This
includes that they recognize one's own righteousness as nothing but injustice before God, and
on the other hand establishes confidence before God solely on Christ's accomplished
righteousness. Application: Invitation to self-examination, how the heart stands before Christ.
Even Christians are still trying evermore by their flesh to put their confidence before God in
anything other than the righteousness of Christ;

3. preaching concerning judgment;
a. what kind of judgment is meant here. Judgment that has been issued over the prince
of this world.
12
It is issued over him by Christ's death and resurrection.
13
The devil exercised
tyranny over mankind through sin. If mankind's sin is eradicated through Christ's going away,
then the scepter of the kingdom of the devil is broken and the judgment of condemnation
pronounced over him as the author of sin. He is expelled to the place of torment. he execution of
the judgment happens at the last day, which can break in any day. Cf. Luther, ibid, page 68;
b. why should the Holy Spirit convict the world of this judgment? They should
recognize that they serve an already conquered master and would be pulled down with him
into hell if they further remain in unbelief. They should therefore write off the prince of this
world and surrender themselves to the One Who has purchased them and won them from all
sin, from death, and from the power of the devil. Admonition even to Christians, do not
intertwine themselves again in the ways of the world and thus eventually let themselves be
overcome by the conquered prince.
Franz Pieper

10
2 Corinthians 5:21.
11
Erlangen Ausgabe 50:61-62.
12
John 16:11.
13
John 12:31.

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