Presentation on theme: "1 Question Throughout the ages men have pondered the conscience: Is God involved in some way with it? When suffering the pain of guilt, who is it that."— Presentation transcript:
1 Question Throughout the ages men have pondered the conscience: Is God involved in some way with it? When suffering the pain of guilt, who is it that inflicts the emotional punishment? Is it only the conscience itself? Or is man, aware of the existence of a Being outside of and above himself? When the will is about to act, it receives the command to choose the right and refuse the wrong; but who issues this command?
2 This Week I.Introduce the concept of conscience. II.Examine the Biblical root of the conscience. III.Explain the judicial function of conscience. IV.Examine the phenomenon of the “seared conscience”. V.Assess our own level of sensitivity to our individual conscience. Lesson Plan
3 I. Introduction a.Although the derivation of the word Conscience is uncertain, it implies, in its very structure, a reference to God. Literally it means, "knowledge along with another," the other being God. b.While there may be exceptions, there are few of us with any ethical experience of any depth who have not sometimes been overwhelmingly conscious of the approval or disapproval of an unseen Being as a result of our behavioral choice.
4 I. Introduction c.For this reason, many philosophers and psychologists believe that if there is any trustworthy argument for the existence of a Deity, aside from supernatural revelation, the existence of a conscience is proof enough. d.Others, who deny the existence of immaterial man, discuss conscience as a matter of social custom and learning. They assert that conscience reflects local mores and practice rooted in the experience of generations.
5 I. Introduction e.This series seeks to identify and explain the following four functions of the conscience from a Biblical perspective: 1. Conscience as a moral compass; knowing right and wrong. 2. Judicial conviction of guilt when the dictates of the conscience have been violated. 3. The emotion of shame brought about by wrong-doing which serves to bring one back to a right standing with God and man. 4. The creation of genuine remorse which serves as the motivation for godly repentance.
6 I. Introduction f.In order to understand the nature and operation of the conscience in man we must turn our investigation to the pages of Scripture which provide an insight into God’s design of man and how conscience plays a vital role in that design.
7 II. The Root of the Conscience a.There is deep within the soul of man at the most profound level, an understanding that God is. Rom 1:19-20 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. NIV
8 II. The Root of the Conscience b.It follows that since God is, and Scripture reveals Him to be a good and moral God, the moral duty of man is to love Him IE: Do all that He commands, forsaking that which offends Him. Mark 12:30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. KJV
9 II. The Root of the Conscience c.To enable this obedience, God places into the heart of man a moral compass which we call conscience. The foundation of conscience can be seen in God’s command to Adam with regard to the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Gen 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: d.When man has formed an idea of that which is good, he has at the same time formed an idea of that which is contrary. By receiving the command concerning the tree, man possessed the concepts of good and evil.
10 II. The Root of the Conscience e.Obedience to the command of God not to partake of this tree is a moral good. By contrast disobedience to God by partaking of it is a moral evil. This evil (sin) produces an effect in the psyche of man. James 1:14-15 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. KJV
11 III. The Judicial Function a.Because God is a just God there must be a consequence when His moral code has been violated. If there were no judgment upon His creatures when they fail to keep His commands then justice could not be served. Isa 45:2 there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. KJV b.From the perspective of His creatures, the mere intellectual awareness of good and evil without a judicial finding of guilt would render the distinction between good and evil a mere preference like the preference of the color blue over green.
12 III. The Judicial Function c.Judgment or consequence is essential to the functioning of conscience in man. Not only must man realize that his failure is evil but also that such failure carries with it a judicial consequence. This produces a fear or reticence to willful sin. Gen 2:17 for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. KJV
13 III. The Judicial Function d.At the moment of his disobedience, Adam’s desire for full and free fellowship with God died; obstructed by the knowledge of his guilt, his now active conscience condemned him so that he became ashamed and sought to hide his nakedness. Gen 3:7-8 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden. KJV
14 III. The Judicial Function e.This is the judicial function of the conscience. No sooner does one take a decision to act than there ensues a judgment about that act which is favorable or adverse; it produces a sentence of guilty or not guilty. f.Conscience has often been compared to a court of law, in which there are culprit, judge, witnesses and jury; but these are all within the subject's own soul, and are in fact himself functioning as designed by our Creator.
15 III. The Judicial Function g.Under this theory the conscience operates by making choices among alternatives. Either the choice is right and must be pursued at all costs, or, it is wrong and must be abandoned at all costs.
16 IV. The Seared Conscience a.One of the tragic outcomes of the entrance of sin into the human race is the capacity of man to violate his conscience with impunity and through repetitious acts against the dictates of his own conscience, to thereby become hardened. Rom 1:28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; KJV
17 IV. The Seared Conscience b.Such perversion of God’s design leads one to a place where he not only ignores conscience but takes pleasure in his own wickedness and descends into a level of depravity that may be virtually limitless. Rom 1:29-32 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. KJV
18 IV. The Seared Conscience c.Just as the scar tissue of seared flesh has lost its sensitivity, once the delicate nerves in the skin have been destroyed, that portion of skin has no feeling. So too there are consciences which nothing can affect. Appeals to honor and to shame are alike useless. 1 Tim 4:1-2 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; KJV
19 IV. The Seared Conscience d.While there is no remedy for flesh that is so damaged, in the spiritual realm there remains the possibility for healing and the renewal of spirit that enables man to once again respond to dictates of conscience. Eph 4:17-19 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. KJV
20 IV. The Seared Conscience e.This renewal of conscience is in fact part and parcel of being born again according to the Spirit. Eph 4:20-24 But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. KJV
21 IV. The Seared Conscience f.In the born again believer the Spirit is free to convict of sin and guide behavioral decision making which is why change is both a proof of salvation and a testimony of the power of God in the lives of believers. Rom 8:10-14 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
22 IV. The Seared Conscience g.The importance of living a life in harmony with the dictates of the conscience is affirmed by the Apostle Paul when he tells us how he himself endeavors to keep a clear conscience before God and man. Should we do any less? Acts 24:16 And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men. KJV
23 V. Application a.Paul’s understanding of the role of the conscience is important to all of us. 1. Can you say that your conscience is void of offence toward God? Toward man?
24 V. Application 2.To what extent are you sensitive to the dictates of the conscience in your personal relationships? 3.To what extent are you sensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit with respect to your relationship with God?