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The Human Conscience Series: “God’s Purpose For 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)

 

The Lord, by His grace, has given to us the wonderful gift of our conscience, that is meant to benefit us in all aspects of our lives.   What are some of the specific reasons that God had in mind when He gave us our conscience?  Let’s take a few moments to examine God’s purposes for our conscience…

THE SCRIPTURES:

16) And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and [toward] men.   (Acts 24:16)

3) For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: 
4) For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to [execute] wrath upon him that doeth evil.
5) Wherefore [ye] must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.
6) For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.   (Romans 13:3-6)

 

4) As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol [is] nothing in the world, and that [there is] none other God but one.
5) For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)
6) But to us [there is but] one God, the Father, of whom [are] all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom [are] all things, and we by him.
7) Howbeit [there is] not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat [it] as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.
8) But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.
9) But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.
10) For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;
11) And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?
12) But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.
13) Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.   (1 Corinthians 8:4-13)

 

2) But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.   (2 Corinthians 4:2)

10) For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things [done] in [his] body, according to that he hath done, whether [it be] good or bad.

11) Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.   (2 Corinthians 5:10-11)

5) Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and [of] a good conscience, and [of] faith unfeigned:   (1 Timothy 1:5)

(18) This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; 

(19) Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:   (1 Timothy 1:18-19)

9) Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.   (1 Timothy 3:9)

12) For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which [be] the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.

13) For every one that useth milk [is] unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
14) But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, [even] those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.   (Hebrews 5:12-14)

19) For this [is] thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.   (1 Peter 2:19)

15) But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and [be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

16) Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.   (1 Peter 3:15-16)

18) My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

19) And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.
20) For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.
21) Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, [then] have we confidence toward God.
22) And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.   (1 John 3:18-22)

THE STUDY:

Seven great purposes for our conscience…

#1 – Our Conscience Was Given To Guide Our Conduct

And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and [toward] men.   (Acts 24:16)

Paul explains that he “exercises” (consistently strives) to live his life so that his conscience can be clear toward God and others.

 

But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.  (2 Corinthians 4:2)

Paul was putting off a lifestyle of sinful deceit and corruption so that his life may clearly reveal the truth of God.  In doing so, he was placing his life as an example of Godly living that would be affect the conscience of those who were watching him.

 

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things [done] in [his] body, according to that he hath done, whether [it be] good or bad.  Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.  (2 Corinthians 5:10-11)

Paul and his companions, with the realization of the coming judgment of all men’s works, God’s holiness, and the existence of Divine wrath; strived to persuade others of their need of Christ.

Paul knew that their efforts to win others to Christ were clearly seen by God. He hoped that their efforts were recognized as acts of service to God by others as well.  How would those watching Paul’s life know that Paul was being faithful to God?  It would be through the testimony of the conscience of the watchers.

#2 – Our Conscience Was Given To Strengthen Us For Service

Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and [of] a good conscience, and [of] faith unfeigned:  (1 Timothy 1:5)

Paul gives us a quick summary of 3 main areas of Godly service…. Self-sacrificial love for God and others, Obedient lifestyle that incurs no guilt from our conscience, Genuine trust in Christ and His Word.

This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;  Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: (1 Timothy 1:18-19)

Paul, as he hands pastoral responsibilities to Timothy, explains that fighting the “good fight” involves carefully retaining sincere belief in Christ (and the doctrinal truths found in His Word), along with living a life that does not offend his conscience.  Those who have ignored these two principles end up in shipwreck, their testimony ruined and their service brought to an end.

Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. (1 Timothy 3:9)

Paul reminds Timothy of the need to genuinely, authentically hold to the truth.  A sincere trust in the truth will become the basis of the functioning of our conscience, causing it to function purely (without sinful influences).

#3 – Our Conscience Was Given To Enhance Our Fellowship

As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol [is] nothing in the world, and that [there is] none other God but one.  For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)  But to us [there is but] one God, the Father, of whom [are] all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom [are] all things, and we by him.  Howbeit [there is] not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat [it] as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.  But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.  But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.  For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;  And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?  But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.  Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.  (1 Corinthians 8:4-13)

In these verses, Paul teaches us that, when our conscience functions properly, it will help us to recognize truth and error that weaker Christians (those with weaker consciences) do not understand. This helps the stronger Christians to make wise choices to avoid being stumbling blocks to the weaker Christians spiritual growth.

#4 – Our Conscience Was Given To Encourage Our Witnessing

For this [is] thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.   (1 Peter 2:19)

When a man chooses to be faithful to the Lord, although that faithfulness brings upon himself abuse and mistreatment, he should thank God for that grace.  It enhances his testimony by proving his dedication to have a pure conscience in the sight of God no matter what the cost.

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and [be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:  Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.   (1 Peter 3:15-16)

We should strive for Godly desires combined with preparedness to share the truth of Christ to anyone who asks. These Godly motives and actions will bring peace and a freedom from a guilty conscience in the face of the false accusations of the lost.

#5 – Our Conscience Was Given To Aid Our Prayers

My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.  And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.  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 whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.   (1 John 3:18-22)

Christians should always seek to serve the Lord sincerely with no hint of hypocrisy or showmanship.

When our conscience speaks clearly of our innocence, we can have confidence that we are doing what is pleasing towards God.  If our imperfect conscience tells us we are guilty of hypocrisy, how much more does a perfect God recognize we are being hypocritical; remember, he knows us better than we know ourselves.

If we have a clear conscience concerning our sincerity, it is proof that we want to do His will above all.  If this is so, when we pray we can be confident we sincerely desire for His will to be done. Therefore, when we pray to God we can be assured that our prayers will be answered because His will is always performed in answer to our prayers.

#6 – Our Conscience Was Given To Be Godly Citizens of Our Country

For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:  For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to [execute] wrath upon him that doeth evil.  Wherefore [ye] must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.  For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.  (Romans 13:3-6)

The Lord has established the civil governments to uphold and encourage good works while condemning and punishing evil.  If we are living Godly lives, when a government functions as it should there is no need to fear.  It is only when we disobey God that we should fear government as they are the sword of God’s judgment on earth.  We are to be subject to human government to avoid the judgment that arises from the government, as well as to avoid our consciences guilty knowing that we are pleasing God as well.

#7 – Our Conscience Was Given To Build Our Character

For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which [be] the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.  For every one that useth milk [is] unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, [even] those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.   (Hebrews 5:12-14)

A properly working conscience is a useful tool for building the Christian’s character. Our conscience helps us to recognize good and evil which, when followed, brings about Christian growth.  A younger Christian who actively learns God’s Word which forms the basis of their conscience’s workings, are laying a foundation for their growth.  Then, when they consistently follow the leadings of their conscience they exercise their conscience strengthening it and making it work more effectively.

THE SUMMARY:

The conscience is a wonderful tool given to the Christian by God’s grace which aids in seven aspects of service to our Lord and Savior:  
#1 – To Guide Our Conduct
#2 – To Strengthen Us For Service
#3 – To Enhance Our Fellowship
#4 – To Encourage Our Witnessing
#5 – To Aid Our Prayers
#6 – To Be Godly Citizens of Our Country
#7 – To Build Our Character

Let’s never take a conscience for granted.  Let’s always remember to build up our conscience by learning and believing the truth and consistently following the leadership of our conscience as we serve our Lord.

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

 


18 Comments

  1. Amen & Amen!! To this post, I can not add a thing! Thank you for your love of the LORD, you are a great witness! Happy Fathers Day dearest brother!!

  2. PASTOR DAVIS/MASTER TEACHER says:

    Another powerful lesson Pastor. Thank you because I am truly enjoying studying with you in this great series.

  3. Citizen Tom says:

    Either you or some of your readers may find this of interest.
    http://citizentom.com/2010/02/28/an-occasion-for-a-humbling-comparison/
    The post contains an extract from one Adam Smith’s works: “The Theory of Moral Sentiments.”

    • Rob Barkman says:

      I went back and re-read your posting. Very interesting and informative. There are many sources through which our conscience can received instruction on right and wrong. The only sure source of information that can be trusted beyond question is the Word of God, the only perfect standard of right and wrong.

      Thanks for the referral to your posting, Tom. I would suggest anyone else that is interested int he subject of the human conscience take a look at Adam Smith’s quote and your insightful comments. Lord bless you.

  4. Excellent…yum my food from heaven!! Keep feeding us ewes!! Blessings Brother Rob!

  5. […] The Human Conscience Series: “God’s Purpose For Our Conscience”. […]

  6. SLIMJIM says:

    I need to get back to watching this later tommorow…Sunday makes me so tired after a whole day of ministry

    • Rob Barkman says:

      I know the feeling brother. For years, I would “crash” right after Sunday nite services. The Lord made me very introverted and Sundays always took alot out of me. So thankful for Mondays when I can get alone with the Lord and His Word. Lord bless you.

  7. aquacompass7 says:

    I came from Japan. Thank you for visiting my blog.

  8. sagescenery says:

    Thank you, Pastor for your blog of Biblically insightful posts!! And for visiting my blog!!

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