You and Your Conscience Part 2
Have you ever heard people use that cute little phrase made popular by Jimmy Cricket. “Always let your conscience be your Guide” remember it now? That sounds right on the surface doesn’t it? Some are lead around by the conscience but is our Conscience an infallible guide? That word infallible; you might have heard me say that a time or two. It means without fault, incapable of making mistakes or being wrong, never failing; always effective. Example of something being infallible is the word of God. I personally believe that the KVJ is infallible.
But when it comes to your conscience it however is not infallible. Your conscience is a guide alright; but because it is apart of your fallen human nature, it is like many things about us, it is not what we need by itself.
Last time we looked at conscience as it is found in the bible. But tonight we want to get a better understanding just how conscience works; or I should say, how it should work in us.
I. Three Descriptions of Conscience
The Apostle Paul gave us one of them in Romans 2:14,15, and the Lord Jesus gave us another in Matthew 6:22,23. Paul compared conscience to an inner witness, an inner judge.
A. Paul's Description
Read (Rom. 2:14,15)
The Gentiles were never given the Law. The Law was given to the Jews. But the Gentiles have the work of the Law written in their hearts. Notice that Paul did not say they have the Law written in their hearts. That doesn't happen until you're saved. When you're saved, then the Holy Spirit begins to write God's law in your heart and you know right from wrong. But even unsaved people can know right from wrong because their conscience bears witness.
In the inner man is a courtroom. A judge sits at the bench, and that judge is also the witness and the jury! That whole "group" in the courtroom is known as conscience. The judge does not make the law, he applies the law. When you and I do something right, then our conscience says, "That's good! That's good!" It does not accuse, it approves. When we do something wrong, that inner judge, that inner witness, says to us, "You are wrong! You are wrong!" And it hurts.
Conscience, you see, is judicial. Conscience does not pass the law. Conscience does not make the law. Conscience bears witness to the law.
You and I can remember when we were little children, even before we understood all that was involved in ethics and morals, that when we did something wrong, something would bother us down inside. That was conscience.
Paul told us that conscience is an inner witness that indicates whether we have done right or wrong. Their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another (v. 15). Paul told us that everyone has this faculty. This is not something we have to develop. It is there. God has given every person a conscience.
Let me remind you once again, conscience is not the law. Conscience functions according to the law that we have. If we are given a standard and if that standard is not right, conscience will still work according to that standard. The important thing is to have the right standard so that our conscience can work the way God wants it to work.
B. Jesus' Description
This leads us to what our Lord Jesus said in Matthew 6:22, 23.
Paul compared conscience to a witness; Jesus compared conscience to a window. The window does not manufacture the light—the window lets the light in. You and I have this inner window through which God wants to shine His light. If that window gets dirty, less light can come in. Imagine the judge sitting in the courtroom at his desk. On this desk is the Law of God. Through the window comes the light, and that light shines upon the Law.
Now, as that window gets dirtier, less light shines upon that Law, and that Law is less visible. If the window gets completely covered with dirt, it's impossible to see the Law. This is how conscience functions. That's why we say conscience witnesses to the highest standard we have. The highest standard, of course, is the Word of God.
Jesus said conscience is like your eye. The eye does not manufacture light—the eye lets light in. When the light comes into our lives, it gives us guidance. But suppose that every time we do something wrong, the window gets dirtier until finally we have sinned so much that the window is completely covered with dirt. The light cannot come through, and so we are left in the darkness!
It's a terrible thing when light turns into darkness. Our Lord did not say that the light disappears but that the light turns into darkness! What should lead us in the right path leads us in the wrong path. The Bible calls this an evil conscience.
C. My Description of Conscience
Have you ever seen a ancient sun dial? Before there where watches and clocks; for hundreds and thousands of years there was something called a sundial. A sundial was a flat surface, round with the right markings of time, with a piece of metal in the center at a 45 degrees. The sun would strike the metal piece and cast a shadow on the surface, displaying the right hour of the day according to the sun. When the sun was out, it worked like a charm! It worked for thousands of years.
That sun dial did what a conscience does! When the light of God word’s is shining on your conscience, it becomes very useful. The word of God gives light on every situation Psa. 119:130 The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.
The sundial does not create the light, it just registered the light! And gave a clear reading. But what if we came at night to a sundial, with a flash light and shined it on the sundial? It would read it right, yes it would. But it be the wrong time; because of a wrong light! We could make it say any time we wanted, the sundial would be reading however we shined the light on it.
When some other light is shining on your conscience, it will read it right; i.e. you feel sincere, passionate about this or that, but when compared to the blaze of God’s word it just might be wrong.
(1) Think about the issue of Abortion in relation to Conscience. Unfortunately Abortion is still legal in America just like many things are legal. Imagine a girl who never was reared up in a church, a Christian home; or had no influence for God whatsoever, none. She becomes pregnant and decides to have an abortion because she sees nothing wrong in it, after all she thinks just like the world thinks, its her body, its her decision, her conscience as her guide tells her its ok have the abortion.
That scenario is lived out thousands and thousands of times a day in America. Those girls have no problems about it because the world’s thinking, their world’s philosophy of life is shining on thier conscience! They are following their conscience.
(2) Think about the issue of gambling. Again gambling is legal in this state but that doesn’t make it right? Well, if that’s all that is shining on your conscience, so to speak; the law of man then you will eventually end up in the casino or buying lottery tickets. People that do that, see nothing wrong because they are following their conscience.
But if you have the law of God shining on your conscience you will know; like me that gambling whether it is legal in the state or not is not right with God. Why? Because specify; the bible teaches that the money that you have is not really yours anyway; it belongs to God! Your only a steward. When Christians buy lottery tickets and out right gamble; they are wasting God’s money not theirs. They are following a conscience that is be shined on by just the laws of man!
(3) Think about the terrorists that attacked us and those that blow themselves up just about everyday.
Do you really think for one minute that terrorists like that are not sincere and passionate about their cause? Yes, they are more passionate about their cause that we are will ours. When you have corrupt writings like the Koran, Book of Mormon, The Watch Tower, the NIV, and every other so-called holy writings shining on your conscience; you too will think that Christians and Jews deserve to die.
These suicide bombers have had the Koran shining on their conscience for so long; they think that are really doing a great work for their god; Allah. They are following a conscience that is being shined on by the Koran! Their conscience is their guide; they don’t blow themselves being torn between what they think is right to what the feel is right, No. They are following their conscience!
By the way, the only way that area is going to change; is by sending missionaries in there with the word of God; bring those folks out of darkness into the real light!
That’s how folks get lead astray, because they are sincere; but they are sincerely wrong when whatever it is; is replacing the word of God!
Letting your conscience be your guide isn’t good enough in this world; because if the word of God isn’t shining on it; it will led you wrong every time!
Their real guide for your life isn’t your conscience per se. Your real guide for life should be the word of God shining on your conscience.
What happens when folks don’t allow the word of God to shine on their conscience?
Things like this happen:
A wife whose saved becomes burdened about her kids knowing God. Her conscience; being lead by the word of God; moves her, pushes her, drives her that her kids be raised up in church.
But her husband doesn’t think so, because he’s not in the word of God like she is. So instead of working together; she has to be the spiritual leader that the man should be for his family! She has no help, no support, no cooperative mate. All because he doesn’t see the big deal about if the kids know God are not. He’s following his conscience which doesn’t have the word of God shining on it!
There have been times that pastors have taken a stand against something because their conscience was being lead by the word of God! There are always members that are not in their bibles like they should, and because of that they don’t see the need for all the fuss. They don’t see why the church should take a stand for something or against something because something else beside the word is shining on their conscience!
Who should be the conscience for the Home? The parents should as they are lead by the word of God! Who should be the conscience for the House of God? Should be the pastor as he is lead by the word of God!
Your conscience and mine is not an good enough guide if they are not being shined on by the Word of God.