I once heard a quote – Choose Your Words Wisely because you may have to eat them later! There are many other similar quotes that relate to the power of our words. Today, however, we are going to look at the type of words that come out of our mouths and how that relates to our conscience and a pledge we made that we may not have even known about.
Our Scripture for today is 1 Peter 3:21 NIV: (Full Chapter)
“and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God.”
The Pledge of a Clear Conscience
The water Peter is referring to goes back to Noah and the water which was salvation for him and his family. Here is the verse in context:
“For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. After being made alive, he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits—to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built.
In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.” 1 Peter 3:17-22
Scriptures on the Pledge
The word used here for ‘pledge’ is eperótéma, and is also translated as an appeal, the answer, or a demand toward God. Here is 1 Peter 3:21 in other translations:
“This was a prophetic picture of the immersion that now saves you—not a bathing of the physical body but rather the response of a good conscience before Go through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,” TPT
“The water through which the ark safely passed symbolizes now the ceremonial washing through baptism that initiates you into salvation. You are saved not because it cleanses your body of filth but because of your appeal to God from a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King.” The Voice
Whether it is a pledge, response, an appeal from a clear conscience, or an appeal for a good conscience, it is obvious that a good, clean conscience is required. When we come to God and are baptized into the death and resurrection of Christ, God cleansed our conscience.
The Dynamic Duo
We have discussed how the Holy Spirit and the conscience work together. So our pledge, or appeal from a clean conscience, involves the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We do this by being aware of Him, not grieving Him, and allowing Him to work freely in our lives. He then uses our conscience as an alarm to let us know when we are saying, doing, thinking or acting in a way that violates our own moral code and God’s. Our words are an important part of that equation.
In fact, in the verses preceding verse 21, Peter addresses our speech – our words:
“Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” 1 Peter 3:8-12 NIV
Increasing Our Awareness of the Holy Spirit
As we talked about in Day 6, the Holy Spirit plays a key role in changing and maintaining a clear and Godly conscience. Our increased awareness of our conscience also requires an increased awareness of the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives each day. Since God is never dormant, neither is the Holy Spirit. He is constantly creating and working. He is willing to constantly be creating and working in us, but we need to be sure we do not grieve Him.
“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
Ephesians 4:30 NIV
The word grieve means to “afflict with sorrow; to make sad or sorrowful. It is rendered to make sorry, or sorrowful,”
Some commentators said that they did not believe the Holy Spirit actually had feelings, rather that He would be pushed away. I’m not sure I agree. God has emotions and they are expressed throughout the Bible. Jesus had emotions. We have emotions. So, perhaps the sorrow or sadness of the Holy Spirit is somewhat different than ours, but it still exists. Why would He be emotionless?
The context here in Ephesians has to do with our speech.
Here is the verse in context:
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:29-32 NIV
Paul is telling us how we should speak.
Matthew Henry’s Commentary says this:
“Filthy words proceed from corruption in the speaker, and they corrupt the minds and manners of those who hear them: Christians should beware of all such discourse. It is the duty of Christians to seek, by the blessing of God, to bring persons to think seriously, and to encourage and warn believers by their conversation. Be ye kind one to another. This sets forth the principle of love in the heart, and the outward expression of it, in a humble, courteous behaviour. Mark how God’s forgiveness causes us to forgive.
God forgives us, though we had no cause to sin against him. We must forgive, as he has forgiven us. All lying, and corrupt communications, that stir up evil desires and lusts, grieve the Spirit of God. Corrupt passions of bitterness, wrath, anger, clamour, evil-speaking, and malice, grieve the Holy Spirit. Provoke not the holy, blessed Spirit of God to withdraw his presence and his gracious influences. The body will be redeemed from the power of the grave at the resurrection day. Wherever that blessed Spirit dwells as a Sanctifier, he is the earnest of all the joys and glories of that redemption day; and we should be undone, should God take away his Holy Spirit from us.”
The Holy Spirit and Choosing Your Words Wisely
Since the Holy Spirit is part of the entire process of our lives once we accept Christ as our Savior, it is important that we do not grieve Him or hinder His work in our lives. One of the things we need to do is choose our words wisely. There are many, many scriptures on the power of the tongue which involve the words we speak. We speak rashly, from anger, from sorrow, from bitterness, from peace. We speak from every emotion we have and about everything going on in our lives and the lives of others.
The average person speaks anywhere from 7,000 to 15,000 words per day and, according to several studies I read, men talk as much or more than women! Of course, the amount of actual beneficial content in those words is less because we add things like – you know, umm, and, uh – and more. But do we choose our words wisely?
If we understood the power of our thoughts, we would guard them more closely. If we understood the awesome power of our words, we would prefer silence to almost anything negative. In our thoughts and words, we create our own… Click To Tweet
Not always. When you realize how connected your words, conscience, and the Holy Spirit are, it might help you to be more discerning about your words. This doesn’t mean you have to go silent and be afraid to enjoy life, share your feelings, and speak openly. What it does mean is that you need to be careful not to hurt others or yourselves with your careless, unwholesome or ungodly speech. That can include being negative, sarcastic, hopeless, hateful, bitter and opposite of the Word.
I think it might be good for us to consider ourselves as having made a pledge when we were baptized. A pledge to God to maintain a clean conscience. God washed it clean at salvation and baptism is symbolic of that. Then, it’s up to us to keep it that way! Don’t let your words defile your own conscience.
Choose your words wisely, Speak in a way that conforms to the Word. You can laugh, be funny, be the life of the party without violating the standards of the Word. Keep the pledge!
Bonus today – click on the picture to download and/or print a copy of Quotes About Our Words!
Click Here to download and or print the Devotional Pages for today.
**We use verses from different Bible translations.
To see more information about the copyright for each one, please visit our Scripture Citations.
1 – 24 Day Challenge – Renewing Your Mind and Conscience
2 – Living By the Golden Rule
3 – Being Falsely Accused
4 – A Personal Testimony of Salvation
5 – Knowing Right From Wrong
6 – What is the Power of the Holy Spirit?
7 – Submitting to Authority
8 – What is a Weak Conscience?
9 – Living a Life Worthy of the Gospel
10 – Speaking The Truth at All Times
11 – Purity of Heart and Mind
12 – 12 Steps to Overcoming Guilt and Shame
13 – Living With Integrity
14 – The Goal of Unselfish Love
15 – The Shield of Faith
16 – Leading By Example
17 – Being A Good Enough Christian
18 – Standing Firm in Your Faith
19 – How to Encourage Yourself
20 – Do Well by Doing Good
21 – Give a Reason for the Hope