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The Human Conscience Series: “The Four Types Of Consciences: A Weak 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 “Weak” conscience…

THE SCRIPTURES:

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.

1Co 8:7-12  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.

Eph 4:14-15  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:

Col 2:8-22  Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.  (9)  For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.  (10)  And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:  (11)  In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:  (12)  Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.  (13)  And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;  (14)  Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;  (15)  And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.  (16)  Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:  (17)  Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.  (18)  Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,  (19)  And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.  (20)  Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,  (21)  (Touch not; taste not; handle not;  (22)  Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?

Heb 5:12-14  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.

 

THE STUDY:

The Characteristics Of A Weak Conscience:

#1 – It Is A Conscience Lacking Truth Possessed By A Saved Person (Possibly Attending Church)

(1 Corinthians 8:7)

1Co 8:7-12  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. 

They are saved people who are lacking the truths of God’s Word.  Because of this their conscience is functioning on a base that lacks a full understanding of the Word.

 

(Romans 14:1)

Rom 14:1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye,

Although they possess a weak conscience, they can still be “in the faith”.  

 

 

#2 – Makes Hasty Judgments About Doubtful Things

(Romans 14:1)

but not to doubtful disputations.

One who is weak in the faith argues and makes judgments on doubtful things.  They make judgments that are not based on a “thus saith the Lord”, but are based upon a lack of Biblical knowledge.

 

#3 – Very Critical Of Others

(Romans 14:2-4)

(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… Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind…   (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. 

Paul teaches us several truths about those who are quick to judge over doubtful things…  Paul uses the issue of eating meat offered to idols.  He emphasizes that in these issues:
1.  we are to allow freedom for each individual to make up their own mind.
2.  we are to refrain from judging others about these doubtful teachings.
3.  we are to remember that each one of us are held accountable and will personally answer to the Lord for what we do in our own lives.

Based upon the above three points, it makes it plain that any judgements that are made should be done by those who are spiritually mature, from a heart of love and a desire to help those who are being judged.

 

#4 – It Is Unstable, Stumbles Easily

(Romans 14:13)

(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. 

Those who have weak consciences, due to a lack of a firm Biblical foundation, find themselves easily stumbling being misled by ungodly examples, or unscriptural teachings.  Many times, they will be hindered in their Christian walk as they follow those who will lead them away from the path that the Lord would have for them to take.

 

#5 – It Is Easily Wounded Or Offended

(Romans 14:15-16, 1Corinthians 8:12)

(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: 

Those who are weak will be easily wounded and offended.  Because of this, great charity and care should be used when working with these individuals.  By mishandling the situation, those who are trying to help can actually makes matters 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.

Also, in many cases, those who are stronger in the faith must limit the exercise of their won personal liberties for the sake of those who are weaker.  In the case above, although eating meat offered to idols is a liberty that strong Christians possess, Paul teaches that the exercise of this liberty should be withheld for the good of those who could misinterpret our actions.

 

 

#6 – It Has Confused Priorities

(Romans 14:17)

(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.

Due to the lack of Biblical foundation for the judgments their conscience makes, the weak continually doubt themselves and unsure of the appropriate course that should be taken.  Their priorities become confused with them not knowing that these doubtful issues are not to be their number one priority in life.  Instead, their first priority is to have a close walk with the Lord and doing everything in a spirit of trust and joy in Christ.

 

 

#7 – It Is Legalistic (Imposing Man’s Rules Upon Others)

(Colossians 2:8, 20-22)

Col 2:8-22  Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.  (9)  For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.  (10)  And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:  (11)  In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:  (12)  Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.  (13)  And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;  (14)  Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;  (15)  And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.  (16)  Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:  (17)  Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.  (18)  Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,  (19)  And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.  (20)  Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,  (21)  (Touch not; taste not; handle not;  (22)  Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?

Those whose conscience is weak has a tendency to impose the regulations of man upon themselves and others.  Instead of being able to discern God’s desires for our lives, they find themselves attempting to enforce the legalistic laws of man mistaking them for the laws of God.

Paul describes these human regulations as “philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ”.   He then goes further by stating “Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,  (Touch not; taste not; handle not;  Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?”

#8 – It Is Weak Due To Lack of Exercise

(Hebrews 5:12-14)

Heb 5:12-14  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.

For those who are spiritually weak, we find another aspect of their weakness involves not exercising their conscience as they should.  Instead of following it’s urgings, they turn from the revelation of their conscience and ignore it.   This hinders the work of their conscience, deadening it, causing them to have difficulty in discerning between good and evil.

 

 

The Cure For A Weak Conscience:

 

#1 – Speaking The Truth In Love

(Ephesians 4:14-15)

Eph 4:14-15  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:

By those who are strong kindly speaking the truth to the weak, motivated from a heart of love and desire to help them grow, the weak can be taught resulting in their spiritual maturity.

 

 

#2 – Received and Nurtured By Mature Christians

(Romans 14:1)

Rom 14:1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.

We are to bring to hold close to ourselves those who are weak.  They are to be nurtured and gently cared for by mature Christians  who are well equipped to meet their needs through the gracious intervention of Christ.

 

 

#3 – Edification

(Romans 14:13-23)

Rom 14:13-23  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…  (19)  Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another… (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.

The two great needs of the weak Christian is “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another”.  Through the intervention of those who are mature, peace can be brought into those who find themselves weak in the faith. Through the proper teaching and examples, those who are weak can grow in the faith and become very useful vessels in the service of Christ.

 

#4 – Sacrifices Made For Them (Take Great Care In Speaking And Working With Them)

(Romans 15:1)

Rom 15:1-3  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.

This includes loving self-sacrifice on the part of the strong.  Some of those sacrifices may include:
1.  helping to support the weak in areas where they are spiritually weak and sickly.
2.  teaching and setting the example so that they may be built up in the faith.
3.  exposing themselves to ridicule and criticism for giving their attention to the weak.

Do We Have A Weak Conscience?

#1 – Are We Not Receiving Teaching From The Word On A Regular Basis?
#2 – Do We Have A Tendency To Make Hasty Judgments About Things That Are Not Clearly Taught In The Word Of God?
#3 – Do We Find Yourself To Be Very Critical Of Others?
#4 – Are We Easily Hindered In Your Spiritual Walk?
#5 – Do We Have A Hard Time Taking Criticism From Others?
#6 – Do We Have Trouble Setting Godly Priorities?
#7 – Do We Find Yourself Imposing Man’s Rules Upon Others?
#8 – Do We Ignore the Conviction of Your Conscience By Acting Against It?

 

THE SUMMARY:

In this study we have seen…

The Characteristics Of A Weak Conscience:
#1 – It Is A Conscience Lacking Truth Possessed By A Saved Person (Possibly Attending Church)
#2 – Makes Hasty Judgments About Doubtful Things
#3 – Very Critical Of Others
#4 – It Is Unstable, Stumbles Easily
#5 – It Is Easily Wounded Or Offended
#6 – It Has Confused Priorities
#7 – It Is Legalistic (Imposing Man’s Rules Upon Others)
#8 – It Is Weak Due To Lack of Exercise

 

 

The Cure For A Weak Conscience:
#1 – Speaking The Truth In Love
#2 – Received and Nurtured By Mature Christians
#3 – Edification
#4 – Sacrifices Made For Them (Take Great Care In Speaking And Working With Them)

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

 

 


10 Comments

  1. SLIMJIM says:

    I like how you brought about application for the stronger Christians to help those with a weaker conscience and those who have a weaker conscience as well…I think the importance of God’s Word is important for those with weak conscience

  2. […] The Human Conscience Series: “The Four Types Of Consciences: A Weak Conscience”. […]

  3. Wow! – double wow!
    One for the new format and one for this post which is, as always, so thorough.
    Thanks again Rob

  4. Thank you. This is very helpful for me. I was that Christian with a weaker conscience, who allowed myself to be influenced by well-meaning but forceful “stronger” brothers. I am still learning to walk in the liberty that I have in Christ while being sensitive towards other brothers. I really appreciate your insight on these verses.

  5. This describes the fallen condition of man to a tee. I like the clear conscience from doing as Paul says in Col.3…”let the word of Christ dwell in you richly!” Thanks Pastor Rob, very thorough.

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