2. Pure Conscience
2Timothy 1:2-3 “To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: grace, mercy and peace, from God, the Father and Christ Jesus, our Lord. I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with Pure Conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day.” When an Individual received the Lord Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour, and is washed by the Precious Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, his Conscience is purified and he has “a Pure Conscience” – Hebrews 9:14 “How much more shall the Blood of Christ, who through the Eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, Cleanse your Conscience from dead works to serve the Living God?”
Pure Conscience is maintained by good relationship with all People – 2Timothy 1:2-3 “To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: grace, mercy and peace, from God, the Father and Christ Jesus, our Lord. I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day.”
The Person with a Pure Conscience is aware of himself in all the relationship of life, especially ethical relationships. Paul could thank God for the opportunity to serve. Paul also declares that:
- Paul has lived all his life in all good conscience before God – Acts 23:1 “Then Paul, looking earnestly at the council, said, ‘Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.’”
- Paul has always exercised himself to have a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men – Acts 24:16 “This being so, I myself always exercise (strive – NKJV) to have a conscience without offense toward God and men.”
- A person, to be effective, must maintain “a pure-conscience,” in all relationship, without hidden motives – Cleanse (Pure) Conscience – Hebrews 9:14 “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the Eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the Living God?”
3. Guilty Conscience
For the born-again Christian, there are two things that bring about “guilty conscience” – (a) Violation of the Law of God – God’s Written Word; (b) Violation of God’s Principles in His Written Word (1Timothy 5:17-25). For example: Prophet Samuel’s Ministry represents God’s Word and the Spirit (1Samuel 2:35 c/f 1Samuel 2:1,3); he (Samuel) confronted both King Saul and King David on their sins; but each respond to the conviction of guilt, differently:
- King Saul – Saul failed because of: (1) Violation of God’s Word (1Samuel 10:8; 1Samuel 13:9) – King Saul assigned the blame to the People and Samuel’s late coming (1Samuel 13:11); (2) King Saul rebelled against God’s Commandment when he failed to totally destroy the Amalekites (1Samuel 15:1-33); when confronted with it, he expresses remorse rather than repentance – 1Samuel 15:30 “Then he said, ‘I have sinned; yet honour me now, please, before the elders of my people and before Israel, and return with me, that I may worship the LORD your God.” King Saul was more interested in his honour than true repentance.
- King David (2Samuel 11-12) – David has violated two Commandments of the Ten-Commandment: (1) Committing adultery with Bathsheba; (2) Murder Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband. When David was confronted by Prophet Nathan, he repented and sought God’s forgiveness – Psalm 51:1-4 “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight that You may be found just when You speak, and blameless when You judge.”
4. Defiled Conscience
Conscience is not infallible, it can be perverted – defiled – 1Corinthians 8:7b “Their conscience, being weak, is defiled.” And Titus 1:15 “To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled.” A Defiled Conscience has the following characteristics:
- A resistance to the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
- A suppression of feeling of guilt, with Scripture.
- Lowering of moral standard; however NOT all the lowering of moral standard is the result of defiled Conscience.
- Confusion of mind – rationalization, finding Scripture to justify one’s actions. However, NOT all confusion of mind is the result of defiled Conscience.
- Guilty conscience leads to “the law of works” – Romans 3:27b “By what law? Of works?…..”– Adam and his wife made “fig-leaves” covering to make themselves presentable to God (“self-righteous” – Genesis 3:7).
- Depression, fear, and grief; however, NOT all depression, fear and grief are the result of defiled Conscience.
- Bad behaviour – erratic behaviour. However, NOT all bad behaviour – erratic behaviour are the result of defiled Conscience.
- Rejection of Authority. However, NOT all rejection of Authority is the result of defiled Conscience.
- Rejection of God’s truth, rejection of excellence. However, NOT all rejection of God’s truth and rejection of excellence are the result of defiled Conscience.
- Rejection of self, cannot believe oneself. However, NOT all rejection of self, cannot believe oneself are the result of defiled Conscience.
- Rejection of God. However, NOT all rejection of God is the result of defiled Conscience.
- Self-deception – There is nothing worse than being self-deceived. However, NOT all self-deception is the result of defiled Conscience.
5. Seared Conscience
Constant violation of Conscience results in “Seared Conscience” – 1Timothy 4:2 “Speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own Conscience Seared with a hot iron.” It is not that Conscience is dead, but Conscience ceased to function in the effective/normal way, because Conscience’s Voice is constantly silenced, refused and hardened against. If the Person with a Guilty Conscience consistently rejects Conscience’s Voice, and stubbornly acts against the Conviction of Conscience and Conscience’s better knowledge, hardening himself with his own reasons, the Voice of Conscience is smothered, and all restraints of sound-reasoning is removed. This brings about “a deadening” of the Conscience an utter stifling of the Voice of self-condemnation, and a complete surrendering to the dominion of self-justification. The downward steps are:
- Guilty Conscience – John 8:9 “Being convicted by their own conscience.”
- Defiled Conscience – Titus 1:15 “To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled.” (1Corinthians 8:7b).
- Seared Conscience – 1Timothy 4:2 “Speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron.” Sear (Gk: “kausteriazo”) = To burn in with a branding iron, branded, cauterised, resulting in loss of sensitivity, because of the constant violation.
6. Evil Conscience
Hebrews10:22 “An evil conscience.” An evil Conscience is the conscience that is burdened with “unpardoned guilt” within the Individual. This can only be purged by the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ – Hebrews 9:14 “How much more shall the Blood of Christ, who through the Eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your Conscience from dead works to serve the Living God?”
B. Conscience Judgement
Conscience’s Judgement is unbiased because Conscience applies “the standard” (norm) that is in the Person’s heart:
1. Final and Unbiased
- Conscience applies “the standard” (norm) within the Person’s heart and the judgement is final.
- Conscience is a faculty given by God and it receives the information given to it and pronounces the judgement – It is unbiased.
- Conscience’s judgement may not always be right, but it is final in a given situation at any particular point in time.
- Because Conscience is not “the standard,” but it applies “the standard” within the Person; its judgement is Personal from Person to Person.
2. Irrefutable, Absolute & Unappealable:
- Once having spoken, Conscience cannot be convinced, coaxed, or commanded to change its ruling; but it can be overruled by the Person.
- Conscience may grow stronger or be argued with, defiled (1Corinthians 8:7; Titus1:15), or hardened (1Timothy 4:2), but at the moment Conscience speaks, it is unappealable. The Voice of Conscience may be altered at a later stage.
3. Unconditional, Absolute, & Explicitly:
- Conscience gives its judgement but supplies no reasons – It tells us whether our actions are right or wrong.
- Conscience does not explain why it judges an action in a particular way.
- To the Christian, the Voice of Conscience should be brought in line with God’s Word (the Scripture – the Bible).