When Jesus walked the earth, he told his followers that it would be even better for them after he left and returned to heaven. He promised to send the Holy Spirit upon the earth.
At first it is hard to imagine how it is better without Jesus physically on earth. But when you realize that Jesus as a human limited himself to being in one place at one time, you see that it is better with the Holy Spirit because he (the Holy Spirit) can be everywhere at all times.
The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. God the Father, God the Son (Jesus), and God the Spirit are one God. But as three distinct personalities, they have particular functions and display all the ways that God relates to us.
One of the Spirit’s roles is in regards to conviction. And surprisingly that’s a good thing!
“When He comes, He will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment: About sin, because they do not believe in Me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see Me; and about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.” (John 16:8-11 HCSB)
Sin. The Holy Spirit convicts us about our sin — those ways that we fall short of God’s glory. We miss the mark of perfection. We mess up. Nobody is perfect. The surprising thing about Jesus’ words in John 16 is that the Holy Spirit in convicting us of our sins doesn’t do so just because we are sinners (which we are), but rather he convicts us of our sin because on our own we don’t truly believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior. In other words, the conviction by the Holy Spirit of our sin points us to the only One who can forgive us of our sin and set us right with God — Jesus. And that’s a good thing!
Righteousness. The Holy Spirit also convicts us in regards to righteousness, and once again that is a good thing! He shows us that at the cross Jesus paid the penalty for our sins, making it possible for us to be in right standing before God. That is what happens when place our trust in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ and by faith receive his grace. Then the Holy Spirit continues to show us the way to live holy, righteous lives on earth. This is vitally important because Jesus has now returned to the Father. Jesus is no longer on earth to teach us as a human. The Holy Spirit does this by pointing us to the Bible, revealing the way of Christ. And he can do this with everyone everywhere around the world, all at the same time. Wow. That is a real good thing.
Judgment. In John 16, Jesus also says that the Holy Spirit convicts us about judgment. We might expect him to reveal that we deserve judgment (which we do), but rather in John 16 Jesus says that the Holy Spirit convicts us about judgment showing that the ruler of this world (Satan) has been judged. See, God cast Satan out of heaven when Satan rebelled. Jesus defeated Satan at the cross. Jesus crushed Satan through the resurrection. And because Satan is judged eternally, we don’t have to fear God’s wrath or judgment. We have an advocate (Jesus) who stands before God in our defense. That’s a great thing.