1 tn There are two questions that need to be answered: (1) what is the meaning of δικαιοσύνη (dikaiosunh) in this context, and (2) to whom does it pertain – to the world, or to someone else? (1) The word δικαιοσύνη occurs in the Gospel of John only here and in v. 8. It is often assumed that it refers to forensic justification, as it does so often in Paul’s writings. Thus the answer to question (2) would be that it refers to the world. L. Morris states, “The Spirit shows men (and no-one else can do this) that their righteousness before God depends not on their own efforts but on Christ’s atoning work for them” (John [NICNT], 699). Since the word occurs so infrequently in the Fourth Gospel, however, the context must be examined very carefully. The ὅτι (Joti) clause which follows provides an important clue: The righteousness in view here has to do with Jesus’ return to the Father and his absence from the disciples. It is true that in the Fourth Gospel part of what is involved in Jesus’ return to the Father is the cross, and it is through his substitutionary death that people are justified, so that Morris’ understanding of righteousness here is possible. But more basic than this is the idea that Jesus’ return to the Father constitutes his own δικαιοσύνη in the sense of vindication rather than forensic justification. Jesus had repeatedly claimed oneness with the Father, and his opponents had repeatedly rejected this and labeled him a deceiver, a sinner, and a blasphemer (John 5:18, 7:12, 9:24, 10:33, etc.). But Jesus, by his glorification through his return to the Father, is vindicated in his claims in spite of his opponents. In his vindication his followers are also vindicated as well, but their vindication derives from his. Thus one would answer question (1) by saying that in context δικαιοσύνης (dikaiosunh") refers not to forensic justification but vindication, and question (2) by referring this justification/vindication not to the world or even to Christians directly, but to Jesus himself. Finally, how does Jesus’ last statement in v. 10, that the disciples will see him no more, contribute to this? It is probably best taken as a reference to the presence of the Spirit-Paraclete, who cannot come until Jesus has departed (16:7). The meaning of v. 10 is thus: When the Spirit-Paraclete comes he will prove the world wrong concerning the subject of righteousness, namely, Jesus’ righteousness which is demonstrated when he is glorified in his return to the Father and the disciples see him no more (but they will have instead the presence of the Spirit-Paraclete, whom the world is not able to receive).
2 tn Or “that.”
3 sn The world is proven wrong concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged. Jesus’ righteousness before the Father, as proven by his return to the Father, his glorification, constitutes a judgment against Satan. This is parallel to the judgment of the world which Jesus provokes in 3:19-21: Jesus’ presence in the world as the Light of the world provokes the judgment of those in the world, because as they respond to the light (either coming to Jesus or rejecting him) so are they judged. That judgment is in a sense already realized. So it is here, where the judgment of Satan is already realized in Jesus’ glorification. This does not mean that Satan does not continue to be active in the world, and to exercise some power over it, just as in 3:19-21 the people in the world who have rejected Jesus and thus incurred judgment continue on in their opposition to Jesus for a time. In both cases the judgment is not immediately executed. But it is certain.
4 tn Or “that.”
5 sn The ruler of this world is a reference to Satan.
6 tn Or “judged.”