John 15, 26 to 27 and 16, 4b to 15
The Spirit of truth and conscience.
It’s a long time since I’ve read any Dom Camilo books, but the abiding image in my mind, rightly or wrongly, is of a priest with two small people, one on each shoulder, whispering in his ear, good thoughts from one side, temptations from the other. It echos Paul’s writings about his inner battles between what he wants and what God wants of him.
Some call that inner voice that makes us feel uncomfortable when we act in selfish and unloving ways our ‘conscience’. Jesus makes clear that this is the Holy Spirit at work. I suggest that the Spirit is at work in people in this way whether one is a believer or not. What do you think?
Jesus describes the Holy Spirit as ‘the Helper’. He also calls him (I use the convention of ‘he/him’ though the Bible gives no gender as God is all genders) as the ‘Advocate’ (also translated as ‘helper’ or ‘Councellor’) and the ‘Spirit of truth’ (15:26, 16:13) who will guide us into all truth – he can’t do anything else because he is speaks only Gods words. That’s why he’s also been described as ‘the go-between God’ (I think by bishop Taylor),
Can you think of other ways the Spirit is described in the Bible?
Jesus says that he will ‘prove the world wrong’ (or ‘convict’, ‘convince’) about sin and righteousness and judgement. What do you think Jesus means?
The word Jesus uses to describe the actions of the Holy Spirit is ‘elegchein’ in Greek, for which there is no exact English translation. The word is sometimes used to describe the actions of a persons conscience. It can also mean to cross examine a person until they see and admit their errors and acknowledge the force of the argument against them. He’ll act in this way not just to believers but to everyone, ‘the world’.
If he didn’t whisper in everyone’s ear it’s likely that none of us would have come to faith! That’s what Jesus was meant when he said the Spirit would ‘convict the world of sin’ because sin is ultimately denying who Jesus is and refusing to follow him. (Sadly we’ve got into the habit of thinking of sins as specific unloving/selfish actions/words/thoughts when it’s really about failure to act as Jesus demonstrated and thus denying him)
Jesus says that the Spirit will ‘convict the world of righteousness’, meaning that the truth of Jesus complete righteousness is revealed by Gods ‘seal of approval’ – his resurrection and his ascension back to his father. The Spirit reveals that Jesus was not a criminal but the teacher of all truth.
And finally Jesus says the Spirit will ‘convict (the world) of judgement’ because the ruler of the world is judged. The Spirit reveals that by Jesus death and resurrection evil is condemned and defeated, that all will face judgement, and that those who refuse to turn away from evil to Jesus will not be rewarded with eternal life (I don’t believe a loving God would make them regret their wrong choice for eternity!)
Here’s a list of the Spirits roles as compiled by Nick Page (the Bible Book, HarperCollins 2002) (you might think of others).
Redirector – pointing people to Jesus (the way, the truth, the life) (Jn 16:13-15)
Motivator – guides the Church in mission (Acts 13:2)
Empowerer – gives us the power to love one another (Gal. 5:22-23)
Giver – bringing gifts to those who follow Jesus (1 Cor. 12:28). What are your gifts?
Training – bringing wisdom and insight, allowing us to learn more about God and one another (1 Cor. 2:12 – 13)
Security – the more of the Spirit we have the less likely we are to stray (Rom. 8:5 – 11)
Communicator – the ‘go between’, bringing messages from God (Rev.2:7) and translating our prayers so God can receive them ( can you find the reference?).
This week you might like to look these references up and also find others to compile a ‘dossier’ on the work of the Holy Spirit, God’s amazing gift to each of us.