MEMORY VERSE: When they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, Romans 1:21.
BIBLE PASSAGE: Rom. 1:18-32.
INTRODUCTION : What is Conscience? Conscience is an internal judge examining all that I do and say. It cries out before any wrong doing, it does not keep quiet during the act and keeps “talking” even after the act. The word conscience does not appear in the Old Testament, instead the word “heart” is substituted (1 Sam. 24:5). Who has a conscience? Is it reserved for educated and civilized people only? No, all have consciences (11 Cor. 4:2). But there are various types of consciences: evil ones, pure ones, weak ones, good ones and so on.
Not all conscience are good. In fact, since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. Many consciences had become darkened and defiled. The conscience of man suffered terribly in the fall (Eph. 4:18, Titus 1:15). It is an evil conscience that directs a man to bow down and worship an idol. It is an evil conscience that condemns a son who does not want to kill, the murderer of his father. It is an evil conscience that accuses a man of being anti-social when he refuses to entertain with alcoholic drinks or to partake in an immoral gathering. (Rom. 1:18-32), our passage today, tells the terrible story of what happens when conscience becomes defiled, depraved or evil.
When a man hears the true Gospel of Christ, the Holy Spirit quickens the Word of God in his heart and his conscience becomes convicted. As he hears about sin and judgement for sin, his conscience begins to judge him, bearing witness to the truth in the Word of God. Then the hearer does one of two things: either he yields to the working of the Holy Spirit or he excuses himself (Romans 2:15). A common excuse is to say he is not the only sinner in the world, that men are sinners; that if God is going to judge, He will judge everybody; that the preacher himself is a sinner anyway, so why bother? But those who yield to the promptings of the Holy Spirit start feeling sorrow for their sin and soon they are on the way to repentance. John 8:1-11 is a good example of conscience in action.
When a man yields to the working of the Holy Spirit in his heart, his awakened conscience brings pressure on him to confirm to God’s stand on sin and righteousness. He begins to realize the evil of a depraved conscience and conviction leads to conversion or salvation. His conscience becomes purged (Heb. 9:14) and he begins to find joy in serving the living God.
So we see that conversion is the re-creation of a conscience which has been long silenced. But the young convert may find that his conscience is still too weak to be relied upon (1 Cor. 8:7). His conscience may not be strong enough yet to clearly differentiate between what is good and bad. His conscience may still be weak enough to accept anything that is “not too bad” ignoring the fact that anything that is not too bad is definitely not good. This weakness can be overcome by prayer, Bible study and constant obedience.
At conversion not only the soul is saved but the conscience is converted too. This change of conscience is often a gradual process as the individual is instructed more perfectly in the will of God. The sinner feels that the conscience is a burden, but to the saved, conscience is a help, a friend to know and love, a messenger from God which constantly reminds him of God’s standard which is perfection (Matt. 5:48, 1 Tim. 3:9).
The desire of God for every born-again believer is to have good conscience (1 Tim.1:5). Pray that the Lord will give you a good conscience, a tender conscience. Do not try to silence a good conscience, rather agree with it. If you have a good conscience it will be difficult for to forsake the narrow road.
CONSCIENCE DEVOID OF OFFENCE:
One of the highest goals in a Christian life is to have a conscience devoid of offence towards God and towards men (Acts 24:16). A sensitive conscience produces careful Christians who are conscientious, dependable and usable in the Kingdom of God.
What type of conscience is yours? Can you pray the prayer of (Heb. 10:22) now?
1. What is conscience?
2. How do we know a weak conscience?
3. How do we know a good, pure and sensitive conscience?
FURTHER READINGS: The following passages will tell you more: 1 Tim. 4:2, 11 Tim. 1:3, Heb. 10:2-10, 1 Cor. 8:10, 1 Tim. 1:19, 1 Pet. 3:16, Matt.23:23