The Overview of Conscience (Romans 2:14-15) (Part 1)

The Statement

Every human being on earth is born with a conscience – “something within the heart of every person approves when he does right and accuses when he does wrong; and that something is conscience” – Romans 2:14-15 “For when the Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them.”  No person can get rid of or escape from his conscience. A person can cause his conscience to malfunction (breakdown) when he:

  • Argues with his conscience
  • Defiles his conscience
  • Hardens his conscience

Charles Wesley wrote these words to express a truth concerning conscience: “I want a principle within/of watchful, godly fear.”

Immanuel Kant a German philosopher wrote: “Two things fill the mind with ever-increasing wonder and awe…….the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me.

American Indian – An American Indian who was a Christian said: “In my heart there is an arrowhead with three points to it. If I do wrong, the arrowhead turns, and it cuts me. It I do wrong too much, I wear out the points and it does not hurt me quite so much. “But when the pain is gone, watch out!”

The word “conscience” is used 32 times in the New Testament (KJV).  It is used 21 times by the Apostle Paul in the Epistles. If a born-again Christian is going to be successful in his walk, he must understand what conscience is and how it functions.

The Definition

The word conscience in our English Language comes from two Latin words: “com” = “with or together,” “scio” = “I know.” From the Latin, our English word conscience means “to know with” or “to know together.” “To know with ourselves and to know within ourselves.”  Conscience is that inner knowledge that helps us to know ourselves

  • Greek – The Greek word used in the New Testament is “suneidesis” (“sun” = with; “oida” = to know). “To know;” “knowing of oneself” – the moral sense of what is right and wrong in-built in a human being.  In the New Testament, the word “conscience” is not a strange word. It is used by the Greek in their everyday conversations. It meant “the pain that you feel when you do wrong.” 
  • Oxford Dictionary – Moral sense of right and wrong; consciousness of moral quality of one’s actions or motives.
  • Webster’s Dictionary – Consciousness of the moral right and wrong of one’s own acts or motives.
  • ScripturalRomans 2:14-15 “For when the Gentiles, who have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, having not the law, are a law unto themselves. Who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another.”

The Description

Romans 2:14-15 “For when the Gentiles, who have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, having not the law, are a law unto themselves. Who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another.”

  • Conscience is man’s moral intuition, his moral self in the act of passing judgment upon his own state, emotions, and thoughts, and upon his own words and actions, whether there be viewed as past, present, or future.
  • Conscience is man’s moral self-echoing his cognitive (reasoning) self. It both approves or condemns (Romans 2:14-15).
  • Conscience is man’s inner voice repeating God’s voice, his own judgement endorsing God’s judgement, his own spirit bearing witness with God’s Spirit.
  • Conscience is the response of man’s moral consciousness to the Divine Revelation concerning himself, his attitudes, his words and actions.

The Gentiles are not given the Law; the Law is given to the Jews. But the Gentiles have the work of the Law written in their hearts. Paul does not say that the Gentiles have the Law written in their hearts.  When a person received the Lord Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour, the Holy Spirit begins to write God’s Law (Word) in his heart; the right and wrong is defined from God’s Word, God’s Principles and conscience. Whereas, an unbeliever knows the right or wrong as his conscience bears witness (Romans 2:15).  It is important to know how conscience is pictured in God’s Word. If the person understands what conscience is and how it functions, it will change his life. God’s Word reveals in Romans 2:14-15 the Seven Characteristics of conscience:

Stay tune…..to be continued.

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