‘Law’ is good at telling us what we mustn’t do. But — and this is what Paul was getting at in Romans — law doesn’t help us in being positively good people. If we are ‘good’ because we’re afraid of getting caught, that’s one thing, the negative. Being ‘good’ because that is who we are is entirely different, it’s ‘the law of the Spirit’. Only possible because of The Cross and Pentecost, ‘goodness’ is not something that comes naturally. If you are a parent you only have to think of the look in your toddler’s eye when you tell them “no”.
The things that Jesus taught, “you have heard it said … but I say to you …”, aren’t things we learn then apply by rote. They are realities of which we become aware, often gradually, when the Spirit dwells in us by grace. Murder is wrong, but if hate leads to murder, I need to learn how to not hate. Welcoming God’s Holy Spirit is the beginning of learning how to live by kingdom values – quite different from ‘the world’s’ …
So, on this Pentecost Sunday – above the horrors and uncertainties that seem to surround us – ‘Welcome! Holy Spirit – teach me, change me, fill me’.
Have a Blessed Day