1 Corinthians 4:4 “My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.”
What does my conscience tell about me? I suppose the first place I must start is to understand what my conscience is.
*A very general definition of conscience is: an inner feeling or voice viewed as acting as a guide to the rightness or wrongness of one’s behavior.
I suppose my next thought would lead me to ask the question, ‘how do I define what is right and what is wrong?’
Paul reflected on this thought on a few occasions, but first, the idea of what is right. Just because I don’t feel guilty, doesn’t mean I am free of guilt. If I don’t feel it’s wrong to steal because I’m hungry and have no money, does the fact that the one I steal from, who does believe it’s wrong, change my position of what is right?
I’ve been watching the news lately, to my chagrin I’ve noticed this increasing trend of rioters looting businesses. It seems once someone breaks a window and walks in to steal the wares, everyone else thinks it’s fine to go in and steal as well. There seems to be a piggyback effect of conscience where many feel wrong about stealing until someone else comes along and doesn’t feel wrong, then the others proceed to allow their consciences to give way to their desire for loot.
The phrase, “everyone is doing it”, is a common teenage excuse for getting their parents to acquiesce to illicit behavior, many times detrimental to their health or well being. The gained maturity and wisdom their parents have acquired is disregarded for the sake of a night of pleasure. The kids who desire to party it up feel justified by the sheer number of kids partaking of the revelry. This leads to the conundrum as to whether cultural sympathies can define what is right and wrong?
Post modernism is a term that has been used with some regularity for the past 50 years or so. The fundamental difference between modernism and postmodernism is that modernist thinking is about the search of an abstract truth of life while postmodernist thinkers believe that there is no universal truth, abstract or otherwise.
The idea that ‘truth is what you make it’, is a growing trend in modern day universities and cults for that matter. It has been advancing in popularity since the idea of holding this position allows its adherents to subscribe to a philosophy of life in which there are no absolutes. God’s laws are rendered as obsolete, social responsibility is dependent on what works best for you and governing authority is looked at as evil and must eventually be overthrown. Is it any wonder we are witnessing the chaos in American cities where rioting is being revered and the police castigated as being totally corrupt.
The insanity of holding the position of relativism was in full display when I had a conversation with a local Ramtha follower. The local cult is based on the channeling of a 5000yr old “warrior spirit”, and its followers practicing transcendental meditation among other demonically controlled practices. The man I attempted to share the gospel with proceeded to share with me what it meant to follow this line of thinking. “Whatever is true for you is true for you and the same goes for me”, he exclaimed with delight. So I asked the wayward pilgrim a question, “What if I say your wrong?”, and without hesitation he declared, “Your right!” Oddly enough, he didn’t consider his rhetoric completely denied itself and has no logical progression of thought, it simply was an idea that sounded good to him.
My truth that denied his truth was still considered right in his eyes. How is this possible unless your the comic, Dr. Strange and have some ability to warp the world around you. Insanity rules in the world of relativists and the liberal pundits who teach it have been working for years in corrupting our youth.
*Part of the reason this post-modernist thinking has become so prominent in America is it provides a safe haven from guilt (at least so they think.)
Proverbs 21:2 “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, But the LORD weighs the hearts.”
You don’t have to look long in God’s Word to see what God places emphasis on. The heart of man is the source of his motivation. If his heart is evil, his motivation is evil, regardless of what it looks like in practice.
What if people seem to really believe what they are doing is good?
Romans 2:12-15 “For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.”
You see, the moral law is the standard by which we are judged. Those who practice lawlessness, may deny the power of the law, (which is eternal death), but they can’t dismiss that they know in their hearts what they do is wrong, they may not admit it, but they still know. The Lord has written on their hearts the ability to understand the premise of the law, good/evil, right/wrong, even though they may deny an adherence to the law.
Eventually, every relativist must assume a position of having no position. Any absolute denies their ideology and refutes their position. If I ask them if truth is relative, and they say, Yes!, they have laid claim to an absolute and must retract their statement.
Back to the conscience…..
James 4:17 “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”
When I think of “doing good”, the first image that comes to mind is a boyscout helping a little old lady across the street. Now, there are many ways to ease our conscience, knowing we should be doing something good is reflective of God’s influence, but knowing how is another story. Doing “good”, is a term that in the Bible is relegated to God alone, so if we want to do good, we act on God’s purposes and not our own.
*Our consciences may lead us into what we are familiar with and not what is true.
John 17:17 “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.”
What is true is defined by the Word of God. If you want a blueprint for how to live, follow the pattern of life that God laid out in the Bible. If your conscience is founded on this truth, you weigh decisions on what God declares and not what the world interprets.
1 Thessalonians 1:5 “for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.”
Next, those who are filled with the Spirit, receive the conviction of the Spirit of God in their life.
The Truth of God transforms your mind, the Spirit of God changes your heart. It is then up to us to submit to the sanctifying work of the Spirit so that we bring our flesh into subjection to God’s leading on a daily basis. Remaining in Christ is a continuous affair. Walking with God is not necessarily easy but it is extremely rewarding and yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.
Romans 8:5-10 “For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.6For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,7because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so,8and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
9However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. 10If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness
Finally, a clear conscience is an ideal I continually strive for. When I fail, the necessity to quickly repent restores fellowship with God that I missed out on when sin was predominant in my life. The Lord is slow to anger and quick to forgive.
Thank God He loves us more than we can ever know. He will guide us into what is good and true if we only let Him.