Text Illustrations

A. Quotes on the Conscience

J. I. Packer—There are two sorts of sick consciences, those that are not aware enough of sin and those that are not aware enough of pardon.

Anonymous—‘Let your conscience be your guide’ is only valid if God’s Word is guiding your conscience.

Elton Trueblood—It is important to cultivate an uneasy conscience. The good conscience is an invention of the devil.

J. Oswald Sanders—Every conscience needs instruction. Its delicate mechanism has been thrown off balance by the Fall. Just as a bullet will reach the bull’s-eye only if the two sights are in correct alignment, so correct moral judgments are delivered only when the conscience is correctly aligned with the Scriptures.

B. Illustrations Concerning Conscience

If you have ever ridden a bicycle by a yard that has an invisible fence, you probably are not aware of what it is like to have a dog to come charging at you and suddenly rear up and yelp and turn back toward the house. But those dogs that have been equipped with a collar that will begin to beep and then emit small shocks when they get to the buried wire known when to turn around and go back home. The conscience can work like that if it has been Spirit and Word filled. When we start to approach a boundary, the conscience begins to beep and it will jolt us if we cross those barriers. It serves as an invisible fence.

-Erwin Lutzer wrote a book called “Hitler’s Cross.” In that book he gave the startling details of how that Adolf Hitler trained his SS troops to do some of the heinous things during World War II. Heinrich Himmler was the man in charge of these men and in the beginning he was faced with a difficult dilemma of taking young decent German men and turning them into raw killers.

-Lutzer wrote:

Both Hitler and Himmler believed that each of the SS troops had to perform some deed that violated their conscience and sense of decency. Only when they did what others found to be reprehensible would they break away from their old values. The conscience had to be deadened through these acts of barbarism; that would serve the dual purpose of cutting the recruit off from his past ties, his family and friends, and of bonding him to his new peers and his leader. The break would be so complete that he could never go back. An act of torture or murder would unite him with blood brothers who had crossed the line, felt the same numbness, and sworn themselves to uphold the same cause.

The Nazis proved that ordinary people, if controlled with rigid discipline and the power of mass psychology, can be induced to carry out the most brutal and destructive crime the human mind can devise. The troops could say with Hermann Goering, “I have no conscience! Adolf Hitler is my conscience!”

From a sermon by Philip Harrelson, The Red Heifer, 5/14/2012

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