The Christian’s life is one of total transformation on the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 5:17 — “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come”), and it’s one of constant transformation each day toward spiritual maturation (2 Corinthians 3:18 — “and we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another”).
Nowhere are these transformations more obvious than in the wholesale awakening and education of the believer’s conscience. The conscience is made hypersensitive to the ways of God among men at the moment of his or her conversion. Yet, it needs to be scripturally educated so that it might have the capacity to truly assist the believer on the straight and narrow road (Matthew 7:13-14).
So then, what is the conscience? It is our immaterial ability to sense what is right and wrong. Some have called it our built-in God-given moral “warning system.” Romans 1:18-20 informs us that all human beings possess a conscience and are accountable to God for how they respond to its prodding, “for the wrath of God is revealed from heaven … for what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly perceived … So, they are without excuse.”
Further, Romans 2:14-15 reveals to us that its activity is constant, “For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves … they show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them.
And lastly, it’s the Christian’s responsibility to strive to always maintain a “clear” conscience – “so I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man” (Acts 24:16). Martin Luther understood this truth well when he said, “I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe…”, while Robert Murray M’Cheyne captured this joyful duty best, with the words, “I shall do most for God’s glory and the good of man, and I shall have the fullest reward in eternity, by maintaining a conscience always washed in Christ’s blood.” May this noble aim be ours as well!
In conclusion, let us draw near to God — first, by taking heed to our heart preparation today for encountering the living God tomorrow, both through our praises and prayers offered to Him, with God’s people; and secondly, through our attending to the public reading and preaching of His Holy, inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word! Soli Deo Gloria!
Jerry Marcellino is pastor of Audubon Drive Bible Church in Laurel. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.