Types of Conscience (Part 1)

Types of Conscience

The Conscience of Adam and Eve was inoperative until Adam’s Sin (Genesis 3:1-6), as evidenced – Adam, when questioned by God (Genesis 3:11), excuses himself and accuses God and his wife (Eve) for the Fall – Genesis 3:12 “Then the man (Adam) said, ‘the woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” The woman (Eve), when questioned by God (Genesis 3:13a), excuses herself and accuses the Serpent – Genesis 3:13b “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” Thus, because of Adam’s Fall, the Conscience in humanity was set in motion. Conscience is the faculty that God has given to every Person to help him in his life. The New Testament speaks of different types of Conscience:

1. Good Conscience

When an Individual received the Lord Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour, and water-baptised, according to the Bible, it is an answer of a Good Conscience towards God – 1Peter 3:20-21 “Who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which  few, that is, eight souls were saved. There is also an antitype which now saves us – baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.”  (Romans 6:3-4 – Water-Baptism is the Union with Christ in His Death, Burial and Resurrection). Good-Conscience is maintained through God’s Written Word (Scripture) and Sound {Healthy} Biblical Teaching – Faith (“sound {healthy} doctrine-teaching”) and Good Conscience, are three times conjoined in First Timothy (1Timothy 1:5; 1:19; 3:9); showing the inseparable connection between Faith (“sound {healthy} doctrine—teaching”) and Good Conscience.

  • 1Timothy 1:5 “Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith (sound {healthy} biblical doctrine {teaching}).
  • 1Timothy 1:19 “Having faith (sound {healthy}biblical doctrine {teaching}) and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith (sound {healthy} biblical doctrine {teaching}) have suffered shipwrecked.”
  • 1Timothy 3:9 “Holding the mystery of the faith (sound {healthy} biblical doctrine {teaching}) with a pure conscience.

If the Individual desires to have a continuous Good Conscience, the Individual needs to continue to walk in God’s Written Word (Scripture) and “Faith” (sound {healthy} biblical doctrine {teaching}), to “Pilot” his course, otherwise there is a danger of shipwreck (1Timothy 1:19). Good Conscience has Seven Basic Characteristics:

a. Effective

Good Conscience effects the Person’s relationship with God and others; Good Conscience keeps the Individual effectively on course – 1Timothy 1:5-6 (KJV) “Now the end (object) of the commandment is love out of a pure heart, and a good conscience, and of faith (body of truth) unfeigned (sincere), from which some, having swerved, have turned aside unto vain jangling (idle talk).” Paul exhorts us to stick to the teaching (Sound {Healthy} Doctrines {Teachings}) of God’s Word (Scripture). This helps us to develop a Good Conscience. Good Conscience keeps us on course in our Christian walk. The phrase “have turned aside” (1Timothy 3:6) means the Person has missed the mark; he has swerved, he has gone off course.

b. Victorious

Good Conscience helps the Person in spiritual warfare –1Timothy 1:19 (KJV) “This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which pointed to thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare, holding faith (body of truth), and a good conscience, which some, having put away concerning faith (body of truth), have made shipwreck.” Spiritual Warfare involves “Faith” (Sound {(body of truth) and a Good Conscience; nothing gives the Person greater courage as he faces the battles of life, than having God’s Word (Faith) and a Good Conscience.

c. Beauty & Honesty

Good Conscience also helps the Person to be “beautiful,” within – Hebrews 13:18 (KJV) “Pray for us; for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.” The word translated “honestly” means “beautifully, seemingly, fittingly.”  The Christian life is to be “a life of beauty,” solving problems instead of being the “problems.” The Person with a Good Conscience will be able to live an honest & beautiful life. People will look at him and say: “There is something about him/her that is really lovely.”

d. Testimony

The Person with a  Good Conscience is effective in testimony: – 1Peter 3:14-17 (KJV)“But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled, but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear, having a good conscience, that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good manner of life (behaviour) in Christ. For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well-doing than for evil-doing.” Peter wrote to People who were falsely accused, that was a hard thing to experience; the Person was accused of saying and doing things that he/she has not said and done.

e. Opportunity

Obstacles can become opportunities; when People create trouble, it is an opportunity to bear testimony of Christ’s Love with our Good Conscience1John 3:21 “Beloved, if our heart (Conscience) does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God.” If the Person has not done any evil, his Conscience will not accuse him but strengthen him (1John 3:21). There is nothing like a Good Conscience to keep him strong.

f. Knowledge

Good Conscience has Knowledge -1Corinthians chapter 8, concerning foods offered to idols – Paul makes it clear that knowledge and Conscience (1Corinthians 8:7, 10, 12) go together. The Conscience of some People does not bother them because they have the knowledge that enlightened their Conscience, whereas some People who do not have knowledge are superstitious and ignorance. When John Knox preached the Gospel in Scotland and seeking to reform the Church, Queen Mary, who has a different belief, opposed him. She said to him one day, “my Conscience is not so.” John Knox replied to Queen Mary: “Conscience, Madam, requires knowledge, and I fear that right knowledge you have none.”

g. Exercised

For Good Conscience to be effective, it needs to be exercised. Paul tells Felix: “And in this do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offense toward God, and toward men” (Acts 24:16). The Person’s Conscience, like his muscles, must be exercised. – Hebrews 5:13-14 (KJV) describes this: “For everyone that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness; for he is a babe. But solid food belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” The Person’s Conscience can be exercised to an amazing degree of goodness. The Person exercises his Conscience when he responds in obedience to God’s Word and His Spirit. A Good Conscience is the one that is constantly exercised and exercised – Good Conscience prevents shipwrecked of life.

Thus, a Good Conscience is an effective Conscience; it keeps the Person on course; keeps him victorious; keeps him honest & beautiful; and keeps him as a testimony, when the going is tough.  Good Conscience and Knowledge go together and needs to be exercised. The Person who abandons a Good Conscience begins to swerve off course and moves toward the dangerous areas of life; before long he is shipwrecked (1Timothy 1:19).

To be continued….Stay tuned.

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