Summary: The conscience is that element in our makeup through which God’s Holy Spirit works to let us know we’re on track or off track. Living with a clear conscience is God’s desire and plan for us and is the key to a happy existence and successful Christian walk
“My conscience is bothering me.” I’ve said it and heard others say it, but what exactly does it mean? I believe God has created within us…programmed us…a sense of right and wrong. When we’re doing right, our conscience makes us feel good, but when we’re involved in actions contrary to God’s will, our conscience bothers us. So the conscience is that element in our makeup through which God’s Holy Spirit works to let us know we’re on track or off track. Living with a clear conscience is God’s desire and plan for us and is the key to a happy existence and successful Christian walk. But how does it happen?
We Must Be Fessed Up
He couldn’t believe it, but they were staring him in the face…A’s. He’d never seen anything like it.
As his father’s car crawled into the driveway, he could hardly contain himself. With a smile the size of Texas, he proudly shoved it into his father’s hand. Dad bragged to everyone about his son and even rewarded him with a brand new bicycle.
But the young boy wouldn’t ride his bike. Guilt over the farce he was living kept him grounded. His teacher had mistakenly recorded all A’s on his report card, but he hadn’t told his dad. He was embarrassed and assumed his father would be ashamed of him. Running away was his only conceivable outlet. When his dad finally caught him, the confession was mutual…Dad for making him feel he must be perfect to be loved and son for not acknowledging the mistake.
Confession is necessary for clear consciences as Paul notes and the psalmist affirms. Timothy, I thank God for you. He is the God I serve with a clear conscience (II Timothy 1:3 NLT). If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened (Psalm 66:18 NLT).
Confession of sin is good for the soul but yields different results for believers and unbelievers. Failure to ever repent is unpardonable and leads to eternal separation from God. Daily confession follows repentance and is a lifelong exercise since repentance doesn’t perfect us. Living in a sinful world soils us with known and unknown sins. Confession eliminates the dirt these produce and restores an open line of communication with God. It’s an expression of our desire to live as God desires and a recognition that sin affronts the holy God we serve. As the little boy and his dad’s relationship was affected by the lie he was living, so sin hinders the spiritual progress God desires we make.
“No! I don’t want to forgive ______!” he seethed. Sure, he believed in forgiving, but not this person…never.
*Craig Groeschel was bitter after learning a family friend had molested his sister. He had been his sister’s sixth-grade teacher, but behind the façade was a sick man who abused numerous girls. Groeschel wanted him to die and burn in hell. But the preacher’s message and God’s Word convicted him otherwise.