These weekly posts show the Triad teachings. Starting at week 1 and progressing through the weeks will help you see the logic of the series.
Obeying Our Conscience
In week one we looked at the first main way that we use our will to obey God: The written Word of God. Now we look at the second main way we can apply our will: our conscience.
1. We must use our will to obey our conscience. Just like last week this is the
beginner phase, the “active” phase of our purification. We are doing the work
and making choices. Later we will look at God’s work (“passive purification’)
of the conscience.
2. But at first it is our job to obey our conscience: 1 Timothy 1:19. “Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck”.
3. This is true even if our conscience leads us to actions that “cost us” something and require a sacrifice from us: Romans 14. “ Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. 2 One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat
everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. 4
Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants
stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand. 5
One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. 6
Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so
to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives for
ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. 8 If we
live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we
live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For this very reason, Christ
died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the
living….22 So whatever you believe about these things keep
between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself
by what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if they
eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come
from faith is sin.”
So, notice that even if something is not expressly forbidden by God (like eating meat) it is still a sin to do it if your conscience forbids it. The only way out of this would be to ask God to educate your conscience. But in the end we all must do what we believe we should do.
Here is a good summary: James 4:17. “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”
Luke 12:46-48. “The lord of that servant will come
in a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware,
and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the
unbelievers. 47And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and
prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with
many stripes. 48But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy
of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is
given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.”
So, if we believe we are supposed to do something, if our conscience tells us we should do something, then we need to do it. Even if this obedience costs us we must do it, in order to remain in faith.
As we will see later God will correct us if we are making a mistake. That is, if our conscience is wrong. He trains our conscience and corrects it in order to help us do His actual will. But at first we must be willing to do what we think we are supposed to do.
We will also see later, under the headings of passive purification of the conscience, that God acts to deepen our conscience and reveal the depravity and desperation of our “hearts” (lower nature) to us. This brings great humility and gratitude for grace.
Next week we will begin to apply this teaching by looking at Dedication.