Making Biblical Decisions: The Conscience Principle, Conclusion – June 14, 2024

God gifted every person a conscience as part of what it means to be a human. The conscience is a distinct aspect of the image of God in man. God designed the conscience to warn us of impending sin and moral failure. However, the conscience is not infallible. Culture, upbringing, the influence of friends, our religious beliefs, and our personality all impact how our conscience defines sin and moral failure.
However, just because the conscience is not infallible is not an excuse to ignore our conscience. God informs us in Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 8 that we sin when we willfully violate our conscience. If we cannot make a decision or participate in an action with a clear conscience, our action is not out of faith in God and is, therefore, in defiance of God. Continued willful violation of our conscience leads to a scarred, seared, and broken conscience.
Since violating and ignoring our conscience is a sin, we must train our conscience to warn us of sin rightly. A conscience that fails to warn us of sin is like a smoke detector without batteries. It is hanging on the ceiling, but it is of no use. When the fire starts, we will have no warning. On the other hand, a conscience that warns us of things that are not sinful binds us to a legalistic and bitter lifestyle apart from the freedom the Gospel provides. Therefore, training our conscience becomes necessary for a vibrant Christian life.
As we make decisions in life, we must pay attention to our conscience. Ignoring our conscience violates the purpose for which God gave it to us. As you contemplate an action or a decision, you would be wise to ask, “Does this action or decision violate my conscience?” In other words, “Am I feeling the pangs of guilt and uneasiness because my conscience is telling me this action or decision is a sin or moral failure?” If your answer is “Yes,” don’t do it. If your conscience is clear on the matter, then move to the next principle we will begin next week.