Summary: The trouble with the advice, "Follow your conscience" is that most people follow it like someone following a wheelbarrow--they direct it wherever they want it to go, and then follow behind.

Conscience - A moral sense of right and wrong that affects one’s behavior.

Illustration:Conscience tells us that we ought to do right, but it does not tell us what right is--that we are taught by God’s word.

H.C. Trumbull.

Illustration: Throughout his administration, Abraham Lincoln was a president under fire, especially during the scarring years of the Civil War. And though he knew he would make errors of office, he resolved never to compromise his integrity. So strong was this resolve that he once said, "I desire so to conduct the affairs of this administration that if at the end, when I come to lay down the reins of power, I have lost every other friend on earth, I shall at least have one friend left, and that friend shall be down inside of me."

Today In The Word, August, 1989, p. 21.

I . The Trouble of a Guilty, Shameful and Convicted Conscience -

God gave every person an innate sense of good and evil, but sin clouds the pure conscience of all mankind. (Rom. 1:18-32)

A. Paul Renounced underhanded methods, motives and trickery, but stated God’s truth clearly and candidly to Commend himself to every person’s conscience. (2 Cor. 4:2)

B. The non-christian’s conscience has been darkened and blinded by the deceitfulness of sin. (Eph. 4:18) Since the sin of Adam, all human consciences are depraved. (Rom. 5:12)

Illustration:Once we assuage our conscience by calling something a "necessary evil," it begins to look more and more necessary and less and less evil.

Sidney J. Harris.

C. To those who are not completely living under the control of the Holy Spirit their consciences are defiled, polluted, corrupt and that which is pure. (Titus 1:15)

Illustration:The antagonism between life and conscience may be removed in two ways: By a change of life or by a change of conscience.

Leo Tolstoy.

D. We can only draw near to God with a pure conscience through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ and the cleansing power of the Holy Spirit through the truth of the Word of God.

E. One can never have perfect private or public peace without a clear conscience. (Phil. 4:6-8) worst tormentor in hell will be a person’s own guilty, shameful and regretful conscience (Lk. 15:25)

2. The Benefits of a Clean Conscience -

Only by completely trusting in Christ’s merit with full assurance, confidence and delight in all of His attributes are we able to have our hearts sprinkled clean and purified from our evil, guilty, and shameful conscience ;and our bodies washed with pure water. (Heb. 10:22)

A. With a clear conscience we are able to have full hope, power and unwavering faith in God will fulfill all of His promises no matter what!. (Heb. 10:23)

B. We may boldly approach God’s throne of grace through prayer fearlessly and with full confidence knowing that I le will be merciful, gracious and wise in the way He answers our petitions. (Heb. 4:15,16)

3 How To Have a Clean Conscience -

Ask the Lord to cleanse your conscience through the blood of Christ. of Christ and the renewing power of the Holy Spirit as we confess our sins. (I John 1:9)

A. Believe in the soul cleansing blood of the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. (John 1:29)

Illustration:When Sgt. Ray Baarz of the Midvale, Utah, police department opened his wallet, he noticed his driver’s license had expired. Embarrassed at having caught himself red-handed, he had no alternative. He calmly and deliberately pulled out his ticket book and wrote himself a citation. Then Baarz took the ticket to the city judge who fined him five dollars. "How could I give a ticket to anyone else for an expired license in the future if I didn’t cite myself?" Baarz asked.

Source Unknown.

B. Let the word of God cleanse your conscience from dead works through meditation, memorization, study, and application to help you serve the Lord with humility, love and wisdom. (Heb. 9:14)

C. Make it your goal to help others have love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. (I Tim. 1:5)

D. Warn people of the destructive capacity of a dirty, vile and impure conscience. These people actually oppose the wholesome teaching and sound doctrine of the scripture through their sins of omission.

E. Make every effort to maintain a clear conscience so that when you are falsely accuscd, those who threaten you abusively may come to be ashamed of slandering your good lifestyle. (I Pet. 3:16)

F. Beware of having an over sensitive conscience in small matters while neglecting the more important macroscopic issucs. (Matt.23:23)

G. We could develop a more discerning conscience throllgll the practicc of righteousness and experience. (Heb. 5:14)

H. We can become more knowledgeable and wisc as we let our minds be transformed by the word of God and refusal to be conformed to this world. (Rom. 12:1,2)

I. Paul taught to test and prove all things until we can recognize what is good and thcll hold fast to that. (I Thes. 5:2)

J. Paul taught us to abstain from evil in whatever form it might be. (I Thes. 5:22)

K. Paul prayed that God would sanctify (separating us from all profane things and making us holy. pure and completey consecratcd to God) us through and through in our body, soul, mind and spirit. (I These. 5:23)

L. Paul assured us that God, who is faithful and utterly trustworthy will fulfill His calling and completion of His will for every aspect of our life as we submit to His will. (I Thes. 5 :24)

4. The Benefits of a Conscience Void of Offense -

Paul was able to say he exercised and disciplined himself (mortifying his body, deadening his carnal affection and bodily appetities to maintain a clear conscience toward God and toward men (Aets 24:16)

A. As we keep ourselves blameless in our conscience we will bc able to stand unashamed when we meet our dear Lord. (I Thes. 5:23)

B. A sensitized conscience is able to maximize the benefits of the scripture as it teaches, corrects, reproves and trains us for every good work.(2 Tim. 3:16 ,17)

C. One who is in better touch with the Spirit is able to understand the higher levels of God’s responsibilitics and will. (Eph. 4:15,16)

D. A pure conscience is more apt to obey God in all aspectss and be given supernatural insights. We are able to be more thankful, upbeat and buoyant around pcople witll a pure eonseiellee (2 Tim. 1:3)

E. We can always point to Jesus Christ as the example of one who had a perfeet eonseienee as our ideal. (Matt. 5:48)

F. We can do everything God asks us to do with a pure conscience. (Phil. 4:12,13)

Concluding Illustration:The trouble with the advice, "Follow your conscience" is that most people follow it like someone following a wheelbarrow--they direct it wherever they want it to go, and then follow behind.


Illustration:Did you know that ever since 1811 (when someone who had defrauded the government anonymously sent $5 to Washington D.C.) the U.S. Treasury has operated a Conscience Fund? Since that time almost $3.5 million has been received from guilt-ridden citizens.

Swindoll, The Quest For Character, Multnomah, p. 70.