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A Clean Conscience

October 7th, 2011 1 comment

As we shared in the last blog, the conscience has been described as a God-given moral compass which helps us determine right from wrong.

Someone once called it “a law we cannot not know.”

In other words, the conscience is that part of every person which, willingly or unwillingly, responds to the universal moral law of God.

The Apostle Paul writes, ”Even Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, show that they know his law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it. They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right.”
(Romans 2:14-15, NLT)

Because we are made in the image and likeness of God, He has placed an awareness of His law within the heart of every person. This explains why our conscience always bears witness to our actions. It’s trying to give us an accurate witness of how we measured up to God’s standards.

If we ignore our conscience, we do so to our own peril. We must listen carefully to our conscience and nurture it by feeding our minds with the truth of God’s law as it is revealed in the Scriptures.

Our goal should be to live with a clean conscience. Consider this practical advice from the Apostle Paul. He said:

“I always strive to keep my conscience clear before God and man.” (Acts 24:16)

A clean conscience before both God and our neighbor – this is the aim.

Take a minute for self-examination. Is your conscience clear before God? Are there any thoughts or behaviors condemning you right now? Don’t ignore them. Instead, ask God for forgiveness.

Are there people that you know you have wronged? Your conscience will remind you. Don’t ignore these warnings. Act on them and make the situation right.

A clean conscience is priceless!

Tyranny & the Rights of Conscience

October 5th, 2011 No comments

During the past three years of the Obama administration, we have witnessed an unprecedented attack on our religious liberties. I use the word “unprecedented” intentionally because “the rights of conscience” have been protected by our government since the birth of this nation. But before we highlight the specific attacks, let’s pause to define the concept.

The word conscience is a biblical word; a term which becomes empty and meaningless if it is not understood in light of its scriptural moorings.

According to America’s first dictionary, “conscience” is:

“Internal judgment of right and wrong; the principle within us that decides on the lawfulness or unlawfulness of our own actions and instantly approves or condemns them. Conscience is first occupied in ascertaining our duty before we proceed to action, then in judging of our actions when performed. Conscience is called by some writers the moral sense.”

As was the common practice of Webster’s Dictionary, it then gave a biblical example to illustrate the meaning of the word:

“Being convicted by their own conscience, they went out one by one.” (John 8:9)

The English word conscience comes from the Latin word conscientia. The prefix con means “with” or “together.” The verb scire means “to know.” So the word literally means “to know with or to know together.”

We must ask to know and agree with what or whom?

The answer, of course, is with God – agreeing with Him regarding right and wrong. God Himself, His character and standards, is our benchmark. So the conscience is a God-given moral compass which helps us determine right from wrong.

Our Founders, without exception, believed in a Creator God who made human beings in His image and likeness. A person’s conscience, therefore, is something very sacred and ought to be both nurtured and protected.

So what role does government play in nurturing and defending the “rights of conscience?” We’ll address that in the next blog….