Conscience, Consciousness, and the Spirit
Romans 9:1-5
I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,…

In order to do justice to the Greek idea it is necessary to cord together mentally the two words "conscience" and "consciousness." In the usage of New Testament and Stoic philosophy the term almost always throws out into relief its moral import. Hence we read of a good and pure, and also of an evil, defiled and seared conscience, of a conscience toward God, and one void of offence. The moral character of the conscience in this acceptation of the term is strikingly represented by the derivation "conscientiousness." In Hebrews 10:2 the psychological idea of conscience is predominant, and is strong in 2 Corinthians 1:12. Here it must not be lost sight of, but the moral idea is predominant. The conscientious principle within the apostle attested the veracity of his utterance when he said, "I am not lying." It is worthy of note that the apostle allows himself the use of a popular representation of the conscience — viz., as if it were distinct from himself — reminding us of Adam Smith's phrase, "the man within the breast." Paul makes his appeal to this "man." He had referred simply to himself when he said "I lie not." That was his own proper testimony concerning himself. But either deliberately or instinctively realising that men often falsify even when they say "We lie not," he turns to the "man within," and listens till he hears him say, "True, thou liest not." Of course the Romans could not look within the apostle's breast and verify the concurrent testimony. There was but one person in the witness box, the apostle himself. But the apostle had not merely to satisfy the Romans; that might or might not be possible. He had to satisfy himself; and that was possible if he was honest. Thus it is that after his outward affirmation he turns in, and receiving inward confirmation, he, as it were, reaffirms. To all who know the man, such a solemn reaffirmation would render "assurance," if that were possible, "doubly sure." Once more, the apostle's conscience bore witness "in the Holy Spirit." Like the rest he "was a man full of the Holy Ghost," so that at every point of his spiritual being he was touched and energised by the heavenly influence. There was still, it is true, the unimpaired principle of moral freedom in the centre of his being, in virtue of which it devolved on himself, as a real self-contained person, to welcome and cherish the hallowing influence. The man's individual manhood was not absorbed into the infinite essence. Neither was his moral accountability merged or superseded. But he in his freedom had made his choice. "To him to live was Christ." And hence all the avenues to the very centre of his being were habitually left open to the ingress of the Holy Spirit whom he neither resisted nor grieved. And when, therefore, his inward conscience bore concurrent testimony with his outward declaration, there was more than itself in the voice of that conscience. There was the echo of the voice of God's Spirit.

(J. Morison, D.D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,

WEB: I tell the truth in Christ. I am not lying, my conscience testifying with me in the Holy Spirit,

Conscience and the Spirit
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