Romans 2:15 “bearing witness…….accusing or else excusing one another.” Conscience does not function legislatively, but judicially.
- Applies the Law – Conscience is not the law; Conscience applies the law, i.e., judicial. Conscience is not the “moral standard.”
- Bears Witness – Conscience bears witness to the “moral standard” within the Person. In different parts of the world, there are different “moral standards.”
- Court-Room – Conscience is man’s “inner courtroom;” Conscience sits at the bench as a Judge, Witness and Jury.
- Testifies – Conscience testifies to the good and the bad in the Person – this is often missed from view; usually Conscience is thought of as concerned only with the evil; and its power and witness are dreaded. Conscience ought to be the cheer of life; a man knows when he has done right; appraising his life, he sometimes approves. “Conscience makes cowards of us all;” but it is equally true that “Conscience can make brave men of us all.”
- Faculty – Conscience testifies to the bad in the good – And that is the real ground of a Person’s fear. Self-esteem see only good; Conscience never does. It finds the sinister mark everywhere, and always qualifies its approval and praise. “Nevertheless, I have somewhat against thee.”
- Assurance – Conscience testifies to the good in the bad – And this keeps fear from becoming hopeless and despairing. The irretrievably has is a conception that can only be associated with demons, not with man. And it is not a genuine Conscience that judges in a blind, sectarian way, and makes a man accuse himself as hopelessly bad.
- Illumination – Conscience puts both bad and good out of the self-light into the Divine light – Based on the sense a man has of God, will be his Conscience – judgment of his own conduct. Right sense of God brings a reverent and humble fear; the Conscience of evil brings a humiliating and anxious fear. The self-estimate of iniquities is painful enough but what shall he says of the Divine estimate of those same iniquities?
When he does something right, his Conscience approves and commends him, “that’s good!” When he does something wrong, his Conscience accuses him, “that’s wrong!” Therefore, it hurts. The Others has “the work (requirement) of the Law (of God’s Word) written in his hearts” and not the Law of God’s (God’s Word) – Romans 2:15 “The work of the law written in their hearts.” Whereas, we has “the Law of God (God’s Word)” written in his heart – Jeremiah 31:33 “I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, and will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Hebrews 8:10).
Conscience does not create the “moral standard;” it assumes the presence of a valid “moral standard” and acts upon that “moral-standard” of the Person (Romans 2:15). The “moral standard” used differs from Person to Person. Conscience functions based on the “moral standard” the Person holds.
Conscience acts as an Umpire and it does not make the rules but decides in the light of the existing rules (“moral-standard”) the Person holds. Conscience refuses to have no “moral standard.”
7. Can be manipulated
Conscience can be manipulated or changed by the introduction of new “moral standard” (norms) – for better for worse.
Stay tune…..to be continued.