The Conscience and the Christian
(Titus 1:15) To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted.
No one likes to talk about sin… unless it’s someone else’s. However, the refusal to talk about the subject leads many into the “ditch of misery.” Sin, by its design has the ability, if left unchecked to darken ones understanding of the precepts, plans, and purposes of God. It twists, distorts and woofs ones sense of what’s right and what is righteous, and what is not. God gives man a conscience as part of his spiritual DNA but it is then further formed and sharpened by both life experiences and those beliefs. The conscience forges our thoughts and affections into strategies needed for decision making and then formulates actions based on what one believes to be true. Another way of thinking of the conscience is as the will of man. In our soul it’s that ongoing dialog between our mind –“what we actually think” (our thoughts) and “what we feel “(emotions) about certain things or - our basic convictions.
As thoughts go through our mind and feelings go through our emotions it is sifted through our conscience (personal will) .The conscience functions as a kind of referee or judge in the soul bringing together the thoughts of our minds and the affections of our hearts (our personal desires/will) in a way that is truthful and in harmony with each other. It serves much like a mediator. The conscience judges, it does not guide. A person can be sincere in their beliefs but be sincerely wrong based on what the conscience deems as acceptable. The conscience can be influenced, good or bad as it is being shaped and formed. Because the conscience can be influenced and can become corrupted, it is crucial that all beliefs and convictions must be based on the word of God. The conscience is easily influenced and can become corrupted or defiled as its being formed much like a judge who can be bribed. As such, it would be of great benefit that the conscience be formed correctly.
A conscience that’s been formed correctly requires it being enlightened with Gods truth and Gods plan and not driven by subjective feelings or personal opinions. This would be a conscience that would be denoted as being clear or blameless and in agreement with God’s word and principles. A clear conscience is one without hypocrisy, regret or selfishness. A wounded or weak conscience is one that has been damaged or influenced by the deceitfulness of sin. When there is a disagreement between what we actually “think” (mind) and what we actually “feel” (emotions), our conscience, if it is in good working order, should convict us as judge- pointing out the discrepancy in our thoughts and beliefs. A conscience that is in good working order and not corrupted would rightly produce a guilty conscience in such a case. With that, feelings of shame, guilt, and regret would follow and there would be turmoil in the inner person (human spirit) until both are in agreement. A conscience in good working order bears witness within the soul, both accusing and confirming.
In Acts 24:16 Paul describes the importance of and the state of a good or clear conscience as: 1) one that pleases God (agrees with God) and, 2) serves men (not selfish). Notice that this was Adam and Eves state prior to the fall which was in harmony with God and each other. There was no guilt or shame. They walked freely with God-with a clear conscience. Sin brought the shame and guilt and they hid in the garden and there was then turmoil within. When ones conscience is in agreement with God and serves not its own desires there is no turmoil, regret or anguish. There is peace or the Lords rest and all is quite in the temple.
In His Grip!