We heard a great sermon yesterday on the human conscience, or more precisely, the conscience of a Christian, not of an unsaved person. For the conscience of an unsaved person does not have the benefit of the presence of the Holy Spirit, no matter how nice, good, kind or honest that person is.
We all have heard the old adage, “let your conscience be your guide”, and that sounds good until you consider the condition of the human conscience.
Like everyone else, my own conscience was formed as I grew from a small child into an adult, with all of the influences that affect everyone else. With my parents first and foremost involved with forming my conscience, I had them as role models. And I can honestly say that my parents were exceedingly honest, kind and forthright in their dealings with others. So I had a pretty good beginning. But then life happened . . . . .
My conscience began to evolve out and away from the pattern that my parents had set, being influenced by others. Friends who possibly did not have the same parental programming that I did, employers and society in general began to change my conscience. And this did not happen without my awareness, without my perception of the change. I was fully aware of what was happening. No one can say that their conscience was changed without their knowledge or permission.
In Romans 1:18-20, the Apostle Paul said, “For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth, For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth,”
I knew of God’s wrath, what would bring it on and I also knew how to avoid it. But for the most part, my life choices ignored the truth “For though (they) I knew God, (they) I did not glorify Him as God or show gratitude.” (Vs. 21)
I knew about God, knew about His salvation, had accepted it as a child but never walked in it, grew in it or hungered for it.
In 1 Timothy 4:1-2, the Apostle Paul wrote, “Now the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will depart from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and the teachings of demons, through the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared.”
Thus I had departed from the faith. And though I never quit believing in God, never quit believing that He had sent His only Son to die for me, my conscience became so callused that I no longer heard the warning bell or saw that red flag.
Contrary to what many think, the human conscience is not there to guide us. It is there to sound the alarm. But like the clock alarm that can be muted by simple pushing a button or moving a lever, the human conscience can be silenced by continually ignoring it, by continual sin and by the continual influence of others whose consciences have been seared.
Just like one of those ear-piercing smoke alarms that save people from fires every day, our conscience is designed to warn us when we are treading on thin ice, walking near disaster, getting too close to the fire. But how trustworthy a conscience is depends on a lot of factors.
First of all there is the matter of being truly born again. To have a good and reliable conscience one must be born again.
I once read a silly story about a very oil rich Oklahoma Indian who bought a beautiful Cadillac convertible. And though he knew that it had a gas tank, had even filled the tank with the best gasoline, he used his beautiful horse to pull the car. Some people are like that Indian. They know about Christ but rather than rely on Him for their life and salvation, they use their own power instead.
I want my conscience to scream out loud and clear if I get too close to danger. In fact, I want my conscience to give the most ear-piercing scream if I stray even a wee bit from His Way. And in order for that to happen, I must fill myself with His Word, His will, His knowledge and stay filled with His Spirit. Read the manual.
When we sin, God doesn’t disown us, but His demeanor towards us is cooled. Our relational connection is broken. But He never leaves us. In fact, He is right there waiting to hear from us, listening for the cries of our broken heart. . . . .
Walk upright in your faith in Christ.
Spend time in His Word, generously and with love and devotion.
Be repentant and not only listen for that warning bell, the red flag waving, but heed the warning, quickly and without reservation.