5/8 What does the Bible Teach about Total Wholeness and the Conscience?

So far we have debated the meaning of that part of us we call the Conscience.  We have talked about what the Conscience is NOT and given the three main views as to how we have a Conscience.

We have also seen hw this God-given light can be made to burn brighter or to be dull and burnt out, allowing horrible crimes against other humans.  We discussed how our Conscience is shaped by our family and our culture, therefore it is not a fallible guide to the best path we can choose.

A.  THE CONSCIENCE MUST BE RENEWED

The conscience must be renewed, just like our Will, the Mind and our Emotions.  The renewed Mind and Spirit must help adjust the Conscience in the right direction.

One of my favourite Bible teachers, David Pawson lists four things that start with the letter “S” that we are to adjust our conscience by.  Can you guess what they are?

1.  We are to tune our conscience to the Scriptures.

Some issues are absolutely clear from the Bible’s teaching.  Other areas, like smoking, gambling are not so clear but can be related to other basic principles we find in the Word.  Let the Scriptures guide our thinking but when there isn’t any clear teaching, we must seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance for our decision rather than rely on a ‘misguided’ or self-centred Conscience.

2.  We can adjust our conscience to the wisdom of the Saints.

a.  We need to take seriously the convictions of the Saints around you and those down through the ages.  If there is only one person whose conscience says something is wrong, then perhaps they are right.  Some of the best guidance has come to us through other’s experiences and how they have renewed their Mind and Conscience to the Lord.

However, it is more often like the Mum at the Army parade who said:

“Look at my Johnny!  He’s the only one in step”.

Marching to a different tune can be a God-given direction….or a sign of a Conscience caught in the lies of the enemy and ‘….doing its own thing’.

b.  You can also tune your conscience to other’s consciences.

Watch what new converts drop when Jesus comes into their lives.  Harmful activities like drugs, swearing and drunkenness often disappear.  When we find Jesus, we become more teachable but not infallible.

c.  Not offending the convictions of others means to not put pressure on others to do anything that will bring them the pain of guilt.

An example might be dancing, or other practices from our old life.  We are to gear our conscience to theirs, by not putting pressure on them to join us so they will not feel guilty.  We are not to cause our brother to stumble.

Another example comes from a new Christian recently rescued from a witchcraft background.  She was horrified when her home group leader ask everyone to make a circle and join hands.  Why?  This was the common practice for the occult members to cast curses.  She needed to learn a new way of looking at things before she could understand why Christians would do the same thing that it seems her witches coven practiced.

However, there is a difference between standing strong for your beliefs and not causing another to fall.  A weak Christian has a weak Conscience – 1 Corinthians 8:7, 10, 10: 27-29.  A weak Christian’s faith can be destroyed – Romans 14:14-15, 1 Corinthians 8:11.

We must protect a weak Christian – Romans 14:13-15, 19-21, 1 Corinthians 8:9-13, 1Corinthians 10:27-32.  Nor can we judge and condemn another’s Conscience – Romans 14:1-13, 1 Corinthians 10:29.  Part of being a Jesus Follower comes as their faith grows and their Conscience is renewed.

3.  The third “S” we are to tune our conscience to the State.  This statement surprises many people.  (Romans 2:12-16, 13:5, 1 Peter 2:13)

a.  Why tune our conscience to the State?  Law abiding citizens learn to submit their consciences to the state, so they can face the police and the law.  How peaceful it is to know that we are within the speed limits and other laws that are there to protect us.

However, this principle can have enormous consequences for believers in atheistic or Communist countries.  Remember, Paul wrote about this principle when Rome and Nero were in government, one of the cruellest times in history.

b.  There may be a time when you have to refuse the commands of the government, like Peter and John, Acts 5:29.  They chose to obey God rather than man, but not out of a rebellious attitude toward authority.  In their humility, they answer their officials and stayed true to what God had told them to do, regardless of the consequences.

4.  The fourth “S” we can tune our conscience to is the Spirit. 

There are whole areas where the Bible does not provide instructions, such as hire purchase, family planning, masturbation, etc.  Where there is silence, we need to find out what the Spirit of Truth is saying.

B.  OUR SINFUL NATURE MUST BE ADDRESSED AS OUR CREATOR PLANNED

1. As Christians, we are to learn about and understand our sinful nature.

We can contrast our fallen, rebellious and self-centred frame of Mind with the grace and mercy that God has bestowed upon us…..but how many of us Christians are in the condition Paul describes in Romans 7:12-23?

How many of us really have a daily struggle between the old nature and the new nature struggling within ourselves? …….Or is that part of the question with the Conscience.  Does there need to be this struggle?

If our Conscience has been replaced by popular or accepted societal “norms”, we will feel no struggle.  Then the Conscience – and other people’s consciences – will be merely’ opinion centres’ with no real Christian basis, except whatever makes a person feel good without harming others.

2.  However, the Answer is in accepting Jesus’ work as a finished project.

Only Jesus Christ Can Cleanse The Conscience.

Until a person comes to knowledge of Jesus Christ, their conscience will be an insufficient guide to truth about God and their world. Our conscience needs to be cleansed from sin. The writer to the Hebrews stated.

“How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death (Hebrews 9:14).”

…but how is this rest and trust in His work possible when the Conscience seems at war with my natural desires and my Godly aims?  Join us for our next post when we see that Jesus did NOT walk by His Conscience yet He was able to please God.

“——– >  WOW!  Stop the press!  Hey Susanne, you can’t just drop that bombshell and leave it like that!  After spending 7 posts telling us about how important the Conscience is …. then you add that Jesus didn’t life by His Conscience …. and sign off!!??  Come on now …. at least let us digest that very important fact!”

Huuummmm, yes, you’re right but catch us next time when we will explain this ‘bombshell!’.,

Susanne Fengler, Blog Author

www.totalwholeness.mentorsnotebook.com/blog

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