A STUDY ON THE CONSCIENCE
(Rom 2:14, 15 NKJV) 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)
4893. suneidesis, soon-i'-day-sis; from a prol. form of G4894; co-perception, i.e. moral consciousness:--conscience.
4894. suneido, soon-i'-do; from G4862 and G1492; to see completely; used (like its prim.) only in two past tenses, respectively mean. to understand or become aware, and to be conscious or (clandestinely) informed of:--consider, know, be privy, be ware of.
John 8:9 Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
An interesting and important observation must be made about these first two verses. In Romans 2:14&15, Paul is speaking of Gentiles without the Law and obviously without Christ either. In John 8:9, Jesus has been speaking to Jews before His death, before anyone could be born again. Neither group had the Holy Spirit indwelling them and neither were alive in Christ.
As we see from the definitions above and the pertinent scriptures, the conscience is not the ‘voice of the Holy Spirit’. It is instead the voice of the soul which indicates whether we are violating our own moral training. The conscience tells us if we are violating our own understanding of what is ‘right or wrong’ and functions whether we are born again or not.
Acts 23:1 Then Paul, looking earnestly at the council, said, "Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day."
Acts 24:16 "This being so, I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men.
Rom 9:1 I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit,
Rom 13:5 Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience' sake.
Rom 14:23 But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.
In these verses the apostle speaks of living so as to have the inward witness of righteousness before God. Once we are born again, as we renew our minds with God’s word, our souls begin the slow process of learning what the new creation demands. Over time, we learn to ‘hear’ the spirit as He tells the soul how to ‘walk according to the spirit’. In other words, we learn how to live by the dictates of the spirit instead of those of the old programming before salvation.
1 Cor 8:7 However, there is not in everyone that knowledge; for some, with consciousness of the idol, until now eat it as a thing offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled.
1 Cor 8:10-12 For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol's temple, will not the conscience of him who is weak be emboldened to eat those things offered to idols? And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.
1 Cor 10:25-30 Eat whatever is sold in the meat market, asking no questions for conscience' sake; for "the earth is the Lord's, and all its fullness." If any of those who do not believe invites you to dinner, and you desire to go, eat whatever is set before you, asking no question for conscience' sake. But if anyone says to you, "This was offered to idols," do not eat it for the sake of the one who told you, and for conscience' sake; for "the earth is the Lord's, and all its fullness." "Conscience," I say, not your own, but that of the other. For why is my liberty judged by another man's conscience? But if I partake with thanks, why am I evil spoken of for the food over which I give thanks?
These verses the religious take and twist into rigorous bondage for many. The message of this teaching is simple…consider others in the love of Christ. As it states, those new or untaught in Christ may still believe in demon gods. They may still think the things sacrificed to these demons have special significance or powers. Believing this they would be in sin if they partook of such things thinking that to eat or possess such things releases or causes some magic to occur. Their pure faith in Christ would be defiled by their participation in these demonic things.
We who are taught, are obligated by our love for such brothers and sisters to do nothing which would lead them astray. Love compels us to consider the effects of our liberty on those less skilled in the word of God.
This does not mean however that we should be brought under bondage to another person’s weaknesses. If we partake of God’s blessings with thanksgiving to Him and full assurance of faith, no one has the right to judge us as evil doers.
As it is written:
2 Cor 1:12 For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you.
2 Cor 4:2 But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, 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.
1 Tim 1:5-7 Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm.
1 Tim 1:18-20 This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck, of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.
1 Tim 3:8, 9 Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money, holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience.
1 Tim 4:1-3 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.
Col 2:16-21 So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God. Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations; "Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle," which all concern things which perish with the using; according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.
For those in ministry which includes every member of the body, there is a stern charge from the Apostle…speak the Truth in love from a pure heart, a good conscience and from sincere faith. In these last of the last days, so many are turning to fables, old wives tales and doctrines of men causing shipwreck to the faith of many.
Heb 9:9, 10 It was symbolic for the present time in which both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make him who performed the service perfect in regard to the conscience; concerned only with foods and drinks, various washings, and fleshly ordinances imposed until the time of reformation.
Heb 9:13, 14 For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
The first tabernacle pointed to the Temple service, the Mosaic Law and the Levitical priesthood, none of which could ever make the person perfect in regard to the conscience. All these things had to do with the flesh….only the flesh. Christ came to BE sin for us and cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness!! "With His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption."
Let us not fall into the deception of those who would return to the past and seek to please God through our own efforts in the flesh. This disregards the finished work of Christ on the cross and mocks His sacrifice as insufficient.
If we still have a guilty conscience after coming into Christ then we are in need of renewing in our minds, not changing our lifestyle. We are suffering from the consciousness of sin still attempting to ‘be good enough’ to please God as if still under the Law. Having begun in the spirit, we are still trying to come to completion by the efforts of the flesh. How foolish can anyone be? Therefore let us: … draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Heb 10:22"
Heb 13:18 Pray for us; for we are confident that we have a good conscience, in all things desiring to live honorably.
1 Pet 2:19 For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully.
1 Pet 3:15, 16 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.
1 Pet 3:21, 22 There is also an antitype which now saves us; baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.
Titus 1:15, 16 To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled. They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.
Our prayers and the requisite faith are hindered by sin consciousness. When we believe the lies of the enemy and doubt the finished work of Christ, we open our hearts to mistrust. We ‘feel’ unworthy as sinners before God. We can not release our pure faith because we ‘feel’ contaminated by sin and therefore unable to receive His blessings.
Life in Christ Jesus is honorable, the conscience being cleansed from the consciousness of sin. We are to walk according to the spirit and not according to the dictates of the flesh. We are confident in Him because we are alive IN HIM. He is our life! If we suffer persecution it is a joy because we have been found worthy of Him. Walk in the spirit and you will not fall victim to the deception of the enemy in religion or fleshly things. Let your testimony be true to His life in you!
2 Tim 1:3 I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day…
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