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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

HOW FAR CAN WE TRUST OUR CONSCIENCE?


This is a far greater question than I can answer, but it doesn’t hurt to think about it a little bit.

There was a lot of sorting out about the rules for Jews and Gentiles and the greatest of theologians, Paul the Apostle tried to make sense of it all.

The Jews had a great deal of trouble with the freedom the gentiles had. Even though they (the Jews) accepted Christ and gave allegiance to the New Testament Covenant they tried to include much of the Old Testament rites and rituals which in effect were contrary to the New Testament truths.

One such issue was concerning what food to eat and the preparation of it. The Gentiles would eat any thing placed before them but the Jews for their conscience sake had to be selective.

Romans 14:22-23 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.

To understand this you have to know that the conscience has been trained and responds based upon group opinion and acceptance and an inherent sense of right and wrong.

The issue before the church was how one man can eat food offered to idols without a twinge of conscience while another would be devastated by doing so. The same issues of conscience prevail today; some Christians do things my conscience rebels against.

I recall one minister who always flew first class in part because he got alcoholic beverages free.

When I was working and had extra money we would go to brunch on Sunday where they served champagne with it. It was included in the price but we always declined because of conscience sake.

There is such a thing as having an overly trained conscience where everything is wrong.

People make up all kinds of rules based upon their interpretation of the scriptures. Some regulate food where they don’t eat certain foods on certain days or seasons. The same applies to abstaining from sex during some holy days including no sex on Sunday.

The conscience is a delicate and tender thing and it would seem if you go against your conscience continually, it will finally reach the place where it is seared, harden and non-functional with all of the built in protections being voided.

A couple quotes from the story of Pinocchio; The Blue Fairy: “Now, remember, Pinocchio: be a good boy. And always let your conscience be your guide” Jiminy Cricket: (his conscience) "Well... Guess he won't need me anymore. What does an actor want with a conscience, anyway?"

A conscience that is trained by the truths in GOD’S word will always try to keep you on the straight and narrow way. But, enter in all of the interpretations of that word and it becomes something entirely different and is designed to accommodate personal preferences.

How far can you trust your conscience? Only as far as it has been trained in righteousness, and is uninhibited by the world’s sinful standards.

The Biblical standard goes farther than just right or wrong, it demands you to avoid doing anything you may think is wrong, because of the way your conscience has been trained.

If there is a moral to this story it might be; keep you conscience free from the influences of debauchery and don’t go beyond what the scripture requires of you.

A conscience that demands more of you than GOD does, will cause you to live a life of defeat and misery, with joy unknown

James 4:17 Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.



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