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The Human Conscience Series: “The Origin And Conviction Of Our Conscience”

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SIH TOA ICONThe wicked flee when no man pursueth:

but the righteous are bold as a lion.

(Prov 28:1)

In the past few lessons we have seen the Biblical meaning of the word “conscience”; the existence of the human conscience in both the Old Testament and New Testament scriptures and examples of some of the many varied ways it influences man.

Now, let’s take a few moments to learn more about the origin of the human conscience and it’s convicting powers…

THE SCRIPTURES:

(Genesis 1:27)
So God created man in his [own] image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

(Psalms 51:4)
Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done [this] evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, [and] be clear when thou judgest.

(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.

(John 16:7-11)
Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.  And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:  Of sin, because they believe not on me;  Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;  Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

(Acts 3:18-19)
But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.  Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;

(Acts 16:14-15)
And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard [us]: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.  And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought [us], saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide [there]. And she constrained us.

(Romans 2:14-15)
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 shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and [their] thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

(2 Corinthians 1:12)
For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.

(2 Corinthians 7:9-11)
Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.  For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.  For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, [what] clearing of yourselves, yea, [what] indignation, yea, [what] fear, yea, [what] vehement desire, yea, [what] zeal, yea, [what] revenge! In all [things] ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

THE STUDY:

The Origin of the Human Conscience

The conscience was given to man by God…

1.  So God created man in his [own] image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. (Genesis 1:27)

Please notice that God created (formed, shaped) man in His image (likeness, a shadow).  One aspect of mankind being created in the likeness of God is the ability to discern moral right from wrong.

Animals can understand that a certain action will result in their punishment, but they cannot discern the morality of an action.  Man, however, was given the ability to not only link and action to its consequences, but they can also understand that their sin has broken the commands of God and that their actions  have displeased God….

“Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done [this] evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, [and] be clear when thou judgest. (Psalms 51:4)

Here, we see that our conscience was given to us by God giving us moral discernment which is one aspect of being made in His image.

2. 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 shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and [their] thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)  (Romans 2:14-15)

In this set of verses, we can see that Gentiles who had never been taught the Word of God, were still capable of recognizing sin and the need to live moral lives.  By doing this, they “shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, .

In other words, God has written His law in their mind and desires.  Through the testimony of their conscience, the law in their mind and desires are validated and emphasized.  This is much like a witness at a legal proceeding verifying the evidence and giving it more weight in the eyes of the jurors.

Who did the writing of the law upon the heart of man?  It is the Lord of course.  It is the Lord that equipped man with the conscience, and uses it as a tool to confirm and bring to the forefront His standard of morality…

For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.”   (2 Corinthians 1:12)

These verses help us to come to an understanding of the definition of our conscience….

The Conscience Conviction vs. Holy Spirit Conviction

There is a clear difference between conscience conviction apart from the Holy Spirit and conscience conviction in conjunction with the Holy Spirit…

1. “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.  (John 8:9)

This is a clear example of conviction that is the result of the conscience of man APART without the intervention of the Holy Spirit.  It results in shame and acknowledgment of sin, but does not result in repentance nor a changed life.

2. And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard [us]: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.  And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought [us], saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide [there]. And she constrained us. (Acts 16:14-15)

This is an example of a woman who had been convicted by the Holy Spirit, through the use of her conscience resulting in her heart being “opened”;  turning from her sin to submission to Christ “she attended unto the things which were spoken by Paul” and “she was baptized”.  In this example, we can see a true repentance for sin taking place which led to a changed life of obedience to Christ.

3.  Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.  For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.  For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, [what] clearing of yourselves, yea, [what] indignation, yea, [what] fear, yea, [what] vehement desire, yea, [what] zeal, yea, [what] revenge! In all [things] ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

(2 Corinthians 7:9-11)

The sorrow that results from the conviction of the conscience APART from the Holy Spirit is described here as “the sorrow of the world”.  Conviction which proceeds from the Holy Spirit through the use of the conscience is described as “Godly sorrow”.   Note the basic differences:

Conscience conviction without the Holy Spirit’s workings results in:
a.  sorrow without Godly intervention – “ye were made sorry” and “sorrow of the world”
b.  eternal spiritual death – “worketh death”.

Conscience used as a tool by the Holy Spirit to convict and convince results in:
a.  sorrow that results in turning from the sin to service to God – “sorrowed to repentance”
b.  sorrow that is a gift of God’s grace – “sorry after a Godly manner” and “sorrowed after a Godly sort”
c.  sorrow that results in repentance and salvation – “sorrow worketh repentance to salvation”
d.  sorrow for sin that is permanent – “not to be repented of”
e.  sorrow that results in Godliness as top priority – “what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, [what] clearing of yourselves, yea, [what] indignation, yea, [what] fear, yea, [what] vehement desire, yea, [what] zeal, yea, [what] revenge!”

The conviction that is brought upon us through our conscience alone is useful showing us our sin and, by implication, our need of salvation.  However, it is only through the conviction of the Holy Spirit of God opening our sin hardened heart, turning us from our sin to our Lord and Savior that we can experience a Godly sorrow and true salvation in Him.

Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.  And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:  Of sin, because they believe not on me;  Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;

Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.  (John 16:7-11)

THE SUMMARY:

May we thank the Lord for the wonderful gift of the conscience that He has given to us.  By His grace, may He, in the person of the Holy Spirit, use our conscience to convict us of our sin, open our sin hardened hearts, draw us to Himself, recognizing Him as our Lord and Savior, and grace us with Godly sorrow, repentance and faith.

In doing so, we will receive salvation from our sins, become new creatures in Christ and receive a continual display of His grace in our lives, beginning now and stretching throughout eternity…

But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.  Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; (Acts 3:18-19)

May the Lord bless us as we seek His truth.

 For a free copy of this series in book form pdf version: please go to: https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/conscience.pdf

For a free copy of this series in book form docx version: please go to: https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/conscienceprotected.docx

Settled In Heaven Ministries Text Blog: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com

 

 


7 Comments

  1. pj54 says:

    Awesome post as always, and right in line with what my Pastor spoke on yesterday! How’s that for confirmation? LOL! My Pastor was speaking about Salvation and he brought up the scripture of Acts 2:38 of course. He was talking about repentance, and he made a point of bringing out the difference of “praying through” to a Godly Sorrow, and just being apologetic. It doesn’t take much to be apologetic as we can all “say” I’m sorry, but to get down on our knees, and HUMBLE ourselves before God, praying with fervency and a truly repentive spirit surrendering our will completely to Him so that He can change us, THAT is Godly sorrow.
    This idea took me a long time to learn, because I was in the frame of mind from the time I was a child until 14 years ago, that all I had to do was look up and say I’m sorry, then all would be forgven and I could go my merry way. I am so happy I got my “wake-up” call.

    Thank you Rob, for allowing me to be your “student”. Even though we may have different doctrines, I learn so much from you, and added to what my Pastor teaches, I feel that I have a gold mine of knowledge at my fingertips.

    God Bless,

    PJ

  2. SLIMJIM says:

    Thank you for this post. I like this teaching and how conviction of sin is not enough–one must repent.and turn to Jesus, which is a Holy Spirit based conviction. I enjoy seeing your Youtube video.

  3. Shofar says:

    Very good lesson about Conscience Conviction and Holy Spirit Conviction. Is it not like saying “I’m sorry” or like kids being forced to apologize, but don’t really mean it in their heart, or like someone who finishes his period of incarceration only to go out and repeat the offense again. Someone did a great wrong to my husband and I and after some anguishing over it, we came to the realization that we need to leave this matter with the Lord and not dwell on it, meaning that only Holy Spirit Conviction can turn this person’s life around and have it reflect true repentance. In the meanwhile we continue to pray daily for this individual.

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