THE EARTHLY INHERITANCE SERIES of BIBLE SUBJECTS
Various Bible study guides in subjects pertaining to
New Earth prophecy, as taught by Paul Phelps.
For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD,
they shall inherit the earth. Psalm 37:9
CONSCIENCE (Liang Xin)
Bible quotes are from the New Revised Standard Version
except for my own translations or as otherwise indicated.
Conscience was created by God for all humanity,
and all humanity will forever be responsible to it.
A Bible study project by Paul Phelps.
After several years of study this writing was completed in 2013.
All people have conscience in their hearts. It is the inner voice of God’s law,
put into the soul of humanity from the time of Original Creation. It is the inward
awareness of right and wrong—given to us as an internal witness and guide for
right thoughts, words and deeds. God gave conscience to keep men from sin,
but it is not a loud voice. It is our choice to hear and obey, or shut its voice and
go our own way. Them that shut off the voice of their conscience often deceive
themselves to think it is not real, just a myth. But conscience is real and all of us
will be judged by it. In God’s kingdom everyone will ultimately be required to
live by their conscience, based upon God’s law written in the heart* (the soul).
When Gentiles, who do not possess the law, do instinctively what the
law requires, these, though not having the law, are a law to themselves.
They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts,*
to which their own conscience also bears witness;
and their conflicting thoughts will accuse or perhaps
excuse them on the day when, according to my gospel,
God, through Jesus Christ, will judge the secret thoughts of all.
But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel
after those days, says the LORD:
I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts;*
and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
*(In the Bible, ‘heart’ typically refers to the soul)
Job lived in very ancient times long before God made a covenant with Israel.
No written laws or commandments of God existed then; yet he was righteous in
God’s eyes (and acknowledged by Satan). From where came this righteousness?
It came from God’s law written on the heart. Job 27:6,
I hold fast my righteousness, and will not let it go;
my heart does not reproach me for any of my days.
Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in
his holy place? Those who have clean hands and pure hearts, who
do not lift up their souls to what is false, and do not swear deceitfully.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right spirit within me.
I will give them a heart to know that I am the LORD;
and they shall be my people and I will be their God…
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Jesus found in Nathanael a man of good conscience (John 1:47). “When Jesus
saw Nathanael coming towards him, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite
in whom there is no deceit!” It is the same for children (Mark 10:13-16); Jesus
told his disciples to be like them. There is no age limit on child-like innocence.
1 John 3:21-22,
Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have boldness
before God; and we receive from him whatever we ask,
because we obey his commandments and do what pleases him.
Happy are those to whom the LORD imputes no iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
Conscience is a guide to good conduct; 1 Pet. 3:16-17,
…Keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those
who abuse you for your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame.
For it is better to suffer for doing good… than to suffer for doing evil.
Therefore one must be subject,
not only because of wrath but also because of conscience.
(and conscience is a determining factor on the Day of Judgment; Rom. 2:14-16).
Regrettably, our conscience can be seared (closed off); 1 Tim. 4:2,
…through the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared…
When the conscience is seared, people become corrupted; Titus 1:15,
To the pure all things are pure, but to the corrupt and unbelieving
nothing is pure. Their very minds and consciences are corrupted.
A corrupted conscience can be purified by the blood of Christ; Hebrews 9:14,
…how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit
offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience
from dead works to worship the living God!
…let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith,
with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience
and our bodies washed with pure water. (see also 1 Pet. 3:21)
Apostle Paul said he kept his conscience clear. This may be the reason for his
quick conversion when the eyes of his understanding were open. He was giving
his testimony before the chief priests and entire Sanhedrin Council; Acts 23:1,
…Brothers, up to this day I have lived my life
with a clear conscience before God.
2 Tim. 1:3,
I am grateful to God—
whom I worship with a clear conscience, as my ancestors did—
Therefore I do my best always to have a clear conscience
towards God and all people.
2 Cor. 1:12,
Indeed, this is our boast, the testimony of our conscience…
In 2 Cor. 4:2, Paul commends himself to the consciences of everyone in the
sight of God, and further says (5:11)...“but we ourselves are well known to God,
and I hope that we are also well known to your consciences.” This text implies
that our consciences are aware and are in communication with the Holy Spirit,
in Spirit-born Christian believers. Rom. 9:1,
I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying;
my conscience confirms it by the Holy Spirit.
Christian believers have liberty, but we should still be guided by conscience.
1 Cor. 6:12,
‘All things are lawful for me’, but not all things are beneficial.
‘All things are lawful for me’, but I will not be dominated by anything.
1 Cor. 10:23,
‘All things are lawful’, but not all things are beneficial.
‘All things are lawful’, but not all things build up.
In Christian love for our brethren we should not seek our own advantage, but
that of others (v 24). If Christ gives us liberty from cultural restraints, we should
still care for the conscience of others; 1 Cor. 8:7,10,12,
v 7 …some have become so accustomed to idols until now,
they still think of the food they eat as food offered to an idol;
and their conscience, being weak, is defiled.
v 10 For if others see you, who possess knowledge, eating in
the temple of an idol, might they not, since their conscience is weak,
be encouraged to the point of eating food sacrificed to idols?
v 12 But when you thus sin against the brothers,
and wound their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ.
(This Christian duty is thoroughly taught in Rom. 14, and 1 Corinthians 8 and 10.)
Conscience also affects faithfulness in Christian ministry, and we are warned
not to reject it; 1 Timothy 1:5,19 (speaking about divine training from v 4),
v 5 … the aim of such instruction is love that comes from a pure heart,
a good conscience, and sincere faith.
v 19 … having faith and a good conscience. By rejecting conscience,
certain persons have suffered shipwreck in the faith…
Those with church responsibility should have a clear conscience in regard to
the faith, to be single-minded, non-compromising and honourable in all things.
1 Timothy 3:9,
…they must hold fast to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.
And because of this we need to pray for workers in church ministry; Heb. 13:18,
Pray for us; we are sure that we have a clear conscience,
desiring to act honourably in all things.
Thus we see that living by conscience is a both a requirement and necessity
for everyone. It was created by God for humanity and our obligation to it was
never set aside. God works through our conscience. The Holy Spirit as well as
the spirit of wisdom (Eph. 1:17) works together with our conscience. As people
of God, we must be careful not to sear our conscience by compromise with sin,
and we should be thankful that this law is written in our heart for righteousness.
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