Clear conscience

Share Button

Clear conscience               

Romans 2:15 “Since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now defending them.”

Extra Reading: Romans 2:1-16.

Conscience is an innate ability to discern the difference between right and wrong, which Scripture describes as having its origin in God himself. It is the faculty given to every individual that is capable of producing guilt, or reassurance in the case of innocence. Though never wholly reliable, the conscience is cleansed when the individual turns to God for forgiveness. It is possible for the conscience to become deadened through lack of use. In the Scripture we have quoted above, Paul was talking about the ‘natural conscience’. It is amazing to learn that human beings have a built-in ability to know what is right and wrong.  The Bible also talks about a guilty conscience (Exodus 9:27). Also there is a clear conscience before God (Acts 24:16). The Old Testament has no specific references to conscience. However, the foundation of the concept lies in God’s knowing judgment of our actions and the consequent responsibility of a Christian to be able to evaluate his or her actions and attitudes (e.g. 1 Samuel 24:5; 2 Samuel 24:10; Job 27:6; Jeremiah 17:9-10).

While in the Old Testament conscience is seen more in the collective context of a covenant community, a more individualized and autonomous perspective appears in the New Testament, where conscience is considered a foundational part of every human being. Paul sought to keep his conscience clear (Acts 24:16; 2 Cor. 1:12) and commended this as an example to others (1 Tim. 1:5; 3:9) even though ultimately it is God who is Paul’s judge and not only Paul’s conscience (1 Cor. 4:4). Some people have weak consciences and this must be recognized (1 Cor. 8 and 10:23-11:1). Others, however, have seared (1 Tim.4:2) or corrupted (Titus 1:15) their consciences through willful participation in sin (see also Eph. 4:19). The well-known idea that Gentiles have the law of God written on their hearts (Romans 2:14-15) does not refer as much to content as to function. Paul argues that the Gentiles’ pagan laws functioned better (by both accusing and excusing them) than God’s own law did in the hearts of the Jews (who only used it to excuse themselves). Conscience acts as a moral restraint among all peoples, hindering a movement toward pure lawlessness.

Prayer: O Lord, please activate our consciences to work and heed your warnings. In Jesus Christ’s name we pray, Amen!

Rev. Samuel N. Modise         

Mini Cart 0

Your cart is empty.

There are no products