What is our conscience? Our conscience is the “light that lighteth every man” (John 1:9)….
…it is the impress of the brilliant light of the Holy Spirit when we were first created (Genesis 2:7)….
….the Holy Spirit left Adam when he sinned….but left the impress of the knowledge of God,…..and man’s responsibility to obey Him.
It is our moral compass….a gift from our Creator….
….it is a inward knowledge of what is good and what is evil,…showing that man is responsible to God’s will…….which either approves of what is done….or reproves what is done.
Romans 2:13-15 “(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:
Which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another;)”
Our conscience can become contaminated, darkened,….by the choices we make….
….or they can hear the Lord’s voice, and convict us….to lead us toward or away from Him,….
….they can be cleansed…..through Christ….
….and we can have a “good conscience, void of offense.”
There are several types of consciences in scripture:
There is the defiled conscience…
Titus 1:15 “Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.”
Defiled means to taint or to contaminate.
Simply speaking, those with a defiled conscience see good in nothing…..they expect everyone to have the same greedy, lustful, or malicious motives as they do….
Example: Judas when he saw Mary pour a very expensive box of ointment on Jesus….
John 12:3-6 “Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus….
Then saith….Judas Iscariot….which should betray Him,
Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?
This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief….”
Now what he said, sounded good…..maybe even charitable…..but behind it was his defiled conscience….which thought Jesus not worthy of anything…..and him worthy of getting all he could get (for he wanted to steal part of the money).
(The sad thing is……what people suggest often effects others….for when Judas says this…..even the other disciples were…..for a moment…thinking that way….
Mark 14:4 says, “And there were some that had indignation…”
Matthew 26:6 says, “But when His disciples saw it, they had indignation…”
But in both of these places, it shows the real attitude of the other disciples….for when Jesus corrects them, that settles it.)
But Judas immediately goes to the chief priests to “sell” Jesus to them [Matthew 26:14-16]
And to his defiled conscience, it was perfectly alright to do so.
Matthew 15:18-20 “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.
For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:
These are the things which defile a man:…”
Then there is the convicted conscience:
John 8:9 “And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.”
This was the woman taken in adultery….quite guilty….and according to the law…should be stoned (so should the man that had been with her, though the Pharisee’s did not bring him)…
…..yet Jesus’s statement brought everyone of them to their senses…..to the moral right.
They had not brought the man….only her….not for God’s glory, but to lay a trap for Jesus.
When Jesus said, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” (Verse 7)
That brought their minds back to God….sin….their sin….
And their moral compass turned to right thoughts….and they left.
(We could also mention Peter’s convicted conscience…….when he heard the cock crow….which Jesus had told him would happen……and went out weeping.)
There is the weak conscience:
1 Corinthians 8:12 “But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.”
Some Christians are strong in the faith….some are not. The weak are easily fearful, without the confidence in God’s Word to them.
What Christians do, has a great deal of influence on others. Some could eat the meat, that had been formerly offered to idols…..because they were just idols…
….while others thought that it would be sacrilege, because the meat had been part of the offering to what they came out of….idol worship.
We are not to offend a brother or sister with a weak conscience…..for Christ shed HIs blood to save them, just like He did for us.
We are to “bend over backward” so that they will not be offended…
…..or worse,…..we are not to encourage them to do, what would be sin to them.
Matthew 18:6-7 “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in Me, it were better for him that a millstone where hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
Woe unto the world because of offenses! For it must needs be that offenses come; but woe to the man by whom the offenses cometh!”
We are not to dishearten or discourage the weaker children of God…..but strengthen and encourage them to keep following Christ.
There is a cleansed conscience:
Hebrews 9:14 “How much more shall the blood of Christ, Who through the Eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
Christ’s blood cleanses us from all sin…..and cleanses our conscience, that we may come boldly to God.
Hebrews 10:19, 22 “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the Holiest by the blood of Jesus,
Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.”
We come to Christ….just as we are…and then He washes us by His blood, His Word, and His Spirit….
…..making us clean….in spirit, mind, and heart….right down to our consciences….making us pure, in wanting God’s Will
1 John 3:20-21 “For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.
Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.”
And then there is the “good conscience”….
1 Timothy 1:5 “Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:”
Notice that a good conscience has to do with a pure heart (which sees God Matthew 5:8)…..and faith.
Acts 23:1 “And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.”
And how did he do this?
Acts 24:16 “And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offense toward God, and toward men.”
It wasn’t that Paul was especially good….rather it was that he lived not to do anything that would dishonor his God, or injure another person…..
….and if he did, he wanted to know….and to get it taken care of.
Our conscience is our moral compass…..which shows us that we have a responsibility to God, and our fellowman.
When we are born again…..our conscience is enlightened by His Word, and cleansed by His blood……so that it is not an enemy to us, but a helper.
It does not lead us…..the Holy Spirit does that…..but it lends it’s inward voice within us….saying “Amen”….to what the Holy Spirit does.
Our enlightened conscience helps to unite all the voices within (the voice of reason, the voice of emotion, the voice of others we hear) to Christ.