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The Human Conscience Series: “The Four Types Of Consciences: A Strong 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 Scriptures help us to understand that there are four different types of consciences that exist within man:
1.  A Good Conscience
2.  A Strong Conscience
3.  A Weak Conscience
4.  An Evil Conscience

Along with identifying these types of consciences, we also find teachings concerning the identifying marks of these consciences and how to maintain, or develop, the types of conscience that the Lord is pleased with.  In this section of our study we will be looking at a “Strong” conscience…

 

THE SCRIPTURES:

Joh 7:14-17  Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught.  (15)  And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?  (16)  Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.

Rom 14:1-23  Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.  (2)  For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.  (3)  Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.  (4)  Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.  (5)  One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.  (6)  He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.  (7)  For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.  (8)  For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.  (9)  For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.  (10)  But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.  (11)  For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.  (12)  So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.  (13)  Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.  (14)  I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.  (15)  But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.  (16)  Let not then your good be evil spoken of:  (17)  For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.  (18)  For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.  (19)  Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.  (20)  For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.  (21)  It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.  (22)  Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.  (23)  And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

Rom 15:1-7  We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.  (2)  Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.  (3)  For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.  (4)  For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.  (5)  Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:  (6)  That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (7) Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.

Ephesians 4:13-16 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

14) That we [henceforth] be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, [and] cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;  15) But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ:  16) From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

1Timothy 6:17-19 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;  18) That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;  19) Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

THE STUDY:

The Characteristics Of A Strong Conscience:

#1 – A Strong Conscience Recognizes and Applies The Truth

(John 7:14-17)

And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned? 

Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. 

Following Jesus displaying a great knowledge of the teaching of the Old Testament, the Jews then ponder how He could have received such knowledge.

An individual with a strong conscience consistently fulfills God’s will for His life…

If any man will do his will,

A strong conscience discerns between Godly and human teachings…

he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. 

For the conscience to lead us to do God’s will, it first must be able to discern between the teachings of God and the false teachings of man.  A strong conscience has the ability to recognize the teachings of God and then lead an individual to submit to those teachings as a lifestyle.  

#2 – A Strong Conscience Sacrificially Helps Those Who Are Weaker In The Faith

(Romans 14:1-23, Romans 15:1-7, Ephesians 4:13-16)

(Romans 14:1-23)

An individual with a strong conscience does not argue over that which is uncertain…

Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. 

An individual with a strong conscience accepts other’s differences…

(2)  For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. 

(3)  Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.  (4)  Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.  (5)  One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.  (6)  He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.  (7)  For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. 

Those of a strong conscience recognize that, due to their spiritual weakness, others may sincerely believe that which is not true.  They recognize the need to slowly work with the weak, gradually building them up in the truths of God, instead of finding fault and being critical of that which the weak sincerely believe is true.

An individual with a strong conscience recognizes their accountablility before God…

(8)  For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.  (9)  For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.  (10)  But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.  (11)  For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.  (12)  So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. 

Those of a strong conscience recognize they will be held accountable for their workings with the weak.  They also recognize, apart from the grace of God, they would be spiritually weak as well.

An individual with a strong conscience does not hinder the growth of the spiritually weak…

(13)  Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way. 

An individual with a strong conscience willingly abstains from exercising his liberty for the sake of the weak…

(14)  I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.  (15)  But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.  (16)  Let not then your good be evil spoken of:  (17)  For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.  (18)  For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men…  All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.  (21)  It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.  (22)  Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.  (23)  And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

Many times the strong are called upon to abstain from a liberty God has given to them, so as to not to cause a lost individual to sin against the dictates of their weak conscience.  Willful sinning against one’s conscience is a greater sin than following the dictates of a weak conscience, which does not recognize a liberty given through the grace of God.

An individual with a strong conscience seeks things that they agree upon with the weak and things which build up the weak…

(19)  Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.  (20)  For meat destroy not the work of God.

When the saved attempt to build up the weak they should not always be concentrating on the things that separate them but they should also recognize and fellowship over the many things of which they are in agreement.

Rom 15:1-7 

An individual with a strong conscience sacrifices for the benefit of the weak…

We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.  (2)  Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.  (3)  For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.  (4)  For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. 

Those who are strong are to follow the example that Christ has set by giving of themselves so that others may benefit from the graces God has given to the strong.  All of God’s blessings that are given to us are given to share with and be a blessing to others.  Those of a strong conscience recognize that grave responsibility.

An individual with a strong conscience works for unity with the weak for the glory of God…

(5)  Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:  (6)  That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (7) Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.

If saved, those who are weak share with the strong the goal of wanting to glorify God in their lives.  Using this principle as a motivating, unifying force, it will aid in the growth of the weak and the willingness to sacrifice on the part of the strong.

If we summarize the above, we can see that those with a strong conscience recognize, understand and seek to build up those weaker in the faith.  This is done through a variety of self-sacrificial acts, always remembering the goodness of God and their accountability before Him.

Ephesians 4:13-16

An individual with a strong conscience will speak the truth in love for the benefit of the weak…

Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:  14) That we [henceforth] be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, [and] cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;  15) But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ:  16) From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

Until we reach perfection in eternity, all men should be willing to work for the good of those who are weaker, and submit to the teachings of those who are stronger in the faith.  No one is so weak they cannot help others, nor is anyone so strong they do not need the help of others.

 

#3 – A Strong Conscience Witnesses Of The Grace Of God

1Timothy 6:17-19

An individual with a strong conscience will be willing to speak to those of greater wealth, honor and position of authority…

Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God,

An individual with a strong conscience recognizes and appreciates the blessings of God.

who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; 

An individual with a strong conscience witnesses of the necessity of stewardship, the promise of rewards, and the blessings of eternity

18) That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;  19) Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

Some of the areas of a strong witness include: the goodness and blessings of God, our responsibility to recognize and use those blessings properly, coming rewards for faithfulness in service, and the offer of eternal life to those who are lost.

(Note: why does it APPEAR as if the Lord is teaching that eternal life only comes after good works of willingness to give of personal wealth for the benefit of others?

1.  When a person understands the principle of self-sacrifice for the needy, it is the first step to understanding the great sacrifice that Christ has made for us (the truly spiritually needy ones).  If a person cannot grasp what it means to give of their wealth for the benefit of those who are lacking, they can never come to an understanding of Christ’s sacrifice for us.

2.  A person who is not willing to give of their wealth for others, based upon the command of Christ, cannot be saved.  It is only when we no longer are relying upon our wealth for our future security and are willing to give up all to follow Christ, that we can be saved…

And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?  And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? [there is] none good but one, [that is], God.  Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.  And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.  Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.  And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.  And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!  And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!  It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”   (Mark 10:17-25)

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.  For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.  For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?  For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.”   (Matthew 16:24-27)

 

Do We Have A Strong Conscience?:

#1 Are we consistently fulfilling God’s will for our life?  John 7:14-17
#2 Can we easily discern between Godly teaching and the teaching of man?  John 7:14-17
#3 Do we abstain from arguing over the questionable things of God?  Romans 14:1-23
#5 Do we accept the differences of others?  Romans 14:1-23
#6 Do we recognize our accountability before God?   Romans 14:1-23
#7 Do we do our best to avoid hinder the growth of the spiritually weak?  Romans 14:1-23
#8 Are we willing to abstain from a spiritual liberty for the good of those who are weak? Romans 14:1-23
#9 Do we search of areas of agreement with those who are weak? Romans 14:1-23
#10 Are we willing to make personal sacrifices for the benefit of the weak? Romans 15:1-7 
#11 Do we consistently work for unity with the weak based upon the shared goal of God’s glory? Romans 15:1-7
#12 Are we willing to speak the truth in love for the benefit of the weak? Ephesians 4:13-16
#13 Are we willing to stand boldly and witness to those of greater wealth, honor and position of authority?  1Timothy 6:17-19
#14 Do we recognize and appreciates the blessings of God in our life and the lives of others? 1Timothy 6:17-19
#15 Does our witness include the necessity of stewardship, the promise of rewards, and the blessings of eternity?  1Timothy 6:17-19

If we can answer “yes” to the above questions, we can rest assured that we possess a good, properly functioning conscience within us.

THE SUMMARY:

In this study we have seen…

The Characteristics Of A Strong Conscience:

#1 – A Strong Conscience Recognizes and Applies The Truth
An individual with a strong conscience consistently fulfills God’s will for His life…
A strong conscience discerns between Godly and human teachings…

#2 – A Strong Conscience Sacrificially Helps Those Who Are Weaker In The Faith
An individual with a strong conscience does not argue over that which is uncertain…
An individual with a strong conscience accepts other’s differences…
An individual with a strong conscience recognizes their accountablility before God…
An individual with a strong conscience does not hinder the growth of the spiritually weak…
An individual with a strong conscience willingly abstains from exercising his liberty for the sake of the weak…
An individual with a strong conscience seeks things that they agree upon with the weak and things which build up the weak…
An individual with a strong conscience sacrifices for the benefit of the weak…
An individual with a strong conscience works for unity with the weak for the glory of God…
An individual with a strong conscience will speak the truth in love for the benefit of the weak…

#3 – A Strong Conscience Witnesses Of The Grace Of God
An individual with a strong conscience will be willing to speak to those of greater wealth, honor and position of authority…
An individual with a strong conscience recognizes and appreciates the blessings of God.
An individual with a strong conscience witnesses of the necessity of stewardship, the promise of rewards, and the blessings of eternity

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

 

 


9 Comments

  1. glane8029 says:

    Very intense study, a very good read and something to take to heart.

  2. RJ Dawson says:

    Great study, Rob! Very comprehensive and informative. Thanks!

  3. Thanks Rob, there is so much meat here. I appreciate the time you put into these studies, and your being faithful to present them. God is blessing your efforts, great stuff!

  4. Thanks again Rob – a great feast!
    Your 15 questions are somewhat of a challenge, but praise God they can be answered with a ‘yes, by God’s grace and enabling’ at least most of the time, and when we fail, thankfully our God reminds us and draws us back to full surrender.

    • Rob Barkman says:

      So thankful the Lord is using the series to be a blessing. This whole series has made me examine the condition of my conscience as well. Lord bless you, my friend.

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