Wednesday 28 April 2021

Bible Book:

I am not lying; my conscience confirms it by the Holy Spirit. (v. 1)

Romans 9:1-5 Wednesday 28 April 2021

Psalm 119:113-128


In this part of Paul’s detailed theology on the relationship between the people of Israel and God after Jesus’ life we see another translation task for the Spirit. In verse 1 we see the Spirit translating truth between Paul and God (or between us and God). A translation that again doesn’t rely on words instead here using our conscience. So the Holy Spirit translates our wordless prayers to God, translates God’s love into our words and now God’s truth into our consciences. There is the implication that without this work of the Holy Spirit we should be wary of trusting our conscience.

The outcome is ‘speaking the truth in Christ’ and compassion or empathy for others. That feels an important pairing. All too often, ‘speaking the truth in Christ’ has been used by Christians as code for telling you something you won’t like, something unkind. Here when the Spirit translates God into our consciences the truth that we speak is overwhelming compassion and empathy for others. How different that is to the ways Christians have so often treated Jews. This is compassion that goes beyond the Golden Rule ( Leviticus 19:18 “You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbour as yourself: I am the Lord.”) or Matthew 7:12 (“In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets”). This is because Paul isn’t doing to them what he wants for himself but is wanting something better for them than for himself.

Verses 4 and 5 remind us to be thankful for the Israelites and for all that has come from them.

If we could allow the Spirit to lead us into truth, fill us with compassion and empathy and thankfulness that would be great. Sadly we seem to often be unable to stop here with the Spirit, and instead launch into telling Jews they have everything wrong and they killed Jesus. We could look at a conscience that is guided by the translations of the Spirit as being a conscience that is leading us towards truth expressed in the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23 “By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.“).

To Ponder:

  • How do you experience the Holy Spirit guiding your conscience?
  • What does ‘speaking the truth in Christ’ mean to you?


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