Summary: Should a Christian "let his conscience be his guide?" Only if it is an "informed" conscience.
A Matter of Conscience
Willie from Moon Mullins comic strip, says of his conscience... “Every time I listen to that darn thing, I end up ruinin’ my relaxin’!”
Let your conscience be your guide. How many of you have heard that?
How many of you have said that?
What is your conscience? Where does it come from? What does it do? Can it be trusted?
Many people see the conscience as a fun-killer, a nagging, irritating voice that keeps them from having any fun.
It is like having your Mama’s eyes on you and hearing her saying, “Now, Ricky, don’t you do that…. You know that is wrong.”
It can speak up at the most inopportune times…
It upsets our plans before they get started
It prevents us from sleeping
Sometimes years after an event, the conscience brings it back up
Most people would like to find a way to get rid of this nasty little bother.
But how should the Christian view the conscience?
The bible has a lot to say about the conscience.
On the slides today you see a picture of a mysterious figure in a trench coat carrying a flashlight.
That is my picture of the conscience.
The conscience prowls through the conscious and sub-conscious mind and brings things to light. Some are good; some are bad. It can convict or convince.
What is the conscience?
The scripture says it is God’s moral law written in the heart of all men.
Our scripture verse for today, Romans2:14-15 says, When the Gentiles who do not have the Law, do by nature the things required by the law, they are a law unto themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing , now even defending them.
In the old testament God promised to write his law on their hearts.
Not the Mosaic law…. But the MORAL LAW.
Franz Delitzch, one of the greatest masters of biblical language ever, called the conscience… “the knowledge of the divine law which every man- even he who does not know the positive revelation of the law- bears in his heart.”
So… conscience is God’s light in our heart, revealing God’s moral laws, convicting us when we live contrary to that law and defending or reassuring us when we live in compliance to His moral law.
So… for a Christian… the conscience can be a very valuable resource in determining God’s will in any situation.
But… can a Christian let his conscience be his guide?
He/She can… IF… it is an INFORMED CONSCIENCE.
What is in informed conscience? It is an educated or trained conscience.
We come into this world with a clean conscience… a computer that has been programed by God with His moral law program.
But as soon as we are born we begin to corrupt the files and get viruses.
Almost immediately after birth you cry…. unintentionally. But the cry brings comfort, brings warmth, brings food, brings all the good things you want and need.
BUT THE SELFISHNESS FILE IS CORRUPTED.
You pick your nose, and like everything else for a one year old… it goes in the mouth. You like it… and another bad file is programed in.
Then you get older and your friends tell you that it is alright to lie to your parents, they deserve it.
And the Obey your parents file is corrupted.
One by one more and more of God’s files… His will, His moral law that he planted in us… is corrupted with bad info from other sources.
We get the WORLDLINESS VIRUS… where worldly thoughts and values get inside the computer… our heart… and begin to gobble up the truth… the good files… and they are replaced by corrupted files.
THAT IS A PICTURE OF THE UNIMFORMED CONSCIENCE
It is uninformed by God’s will because it is corrupted.
I believe if Paul had lived today he would have referred to this defiled conscience as a conscience as a crashed hard drive. But in his day he called it “seared as with a hot iron.”
The meaning was the same…. DEFILED!! CORRUPT!! NOT TRUST WORTHY!! NEEDING TO BE UNINSTALLED AND REINSTALLED.
Can a conscience like that be your guide? Not if you want to please God.
So… how can this defiled, corrupted conscience be reprogrammed?
Three sources you can go back to and get an uncorrupted copy of the program.
3 sources = The Bible, The Holy Spirit and Godly Counsel
1. THE BIBLE
Of all the ways God speaks his will and convicts and convinces the Bible is far and away…. The #1 way.
God gives us direct commands and statements about his will for us.