From Conscience to Judgment
For centuries “The Holy Bible” has long been the learning tool for practicing Christian to be equipped of the word of God, which brought us from being innocent to being knowledgeable. Before all these, Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s only rule not to eat the fruit of the tree of good and evil "It's only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, 'You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.'" Genesis 3:3 NLT
“When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” After falling to deception, they saw themselves stripped with all the favors God has given them; “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” That was the time when conscience came out in to open, something that was not known to them before. Adam and Eve’s behavior changed. They were ashamed, embarrassed and afraid of the consequences of their disobedience and they hid themselves from God. (Genesis 3:6-7)
God keeps His word. When he says it, He will do it. God will never change His mind and will not lie and when He says He will never leave us nor forsake us, He will never leave and forsake us. That is how we should know Him and when we trust Him and submit to Him with all our heart we can lean on Him and He will give us rest. We are to be patient with ourselves as we grow in our knowledge of God. We are also to be patient with God, as we endure all kinds of challenges and experiences in our daily living. Rest assured that when He is in us no one can hurt us or be against us.
During the time of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden we can just imagine how wonderful life was. Life continued on without pain and possession, no religion to fight for, no ups and down, no struggle for power and everything were nice and most of all the presence God alone was worth the joy of living. The innocence and lies of the devil deceived Adam and Eve. The devil works day and night and is deprived of sleep looking for someone to convert to wickedness. The devil whose motive is to separate us from the love of God, to destroy ourselves and others, and pretends to be like God.
We should be mindful that the devil is waiting for our move to fall as Paul said: “that we all sinned!” We can ask ourselves, “Why people easily fall to temptation? Why are we overwhelmed by sin? Why sinners keep on sinning? Our awareness to sin should prevent us from sinning, but, why do we still sin? Though we are being guided or provoked by our conscience not to do a sinful act, we still do it? Why? Our conscience is not short of reminding us and even pokes us of the presence of wrongness. Why do we ignore it?
How can we overcome sinning? How can we fight the good fight of faith? How can we use the strength, the power and authority that were given to us to defeat deceptions and temptations? How do we defeat the spirit of fear within us? Are we just proclaiming our strength of our faith behind the shadow of fear? Since conscience is revealed to us knowing right and wrong, why do we struggle in choosing the right thing? When we allow our weaknesses to overcome the knowledge of staying strong, we are only expressing our acceptance of defeat, we should gain experience with our struggle and use it to defeat our weaknesses.
Our spiritual maturity depends on how we handle the challenges of life, and through challenges we build a stronger character. It teaches us to be more focus on the positive side of life, instead of walking away from challenges. It’s time for God to do it for us. His presence in our life will remove all doubts that God is all in all. We cannot survive in this violent world without Him, because without Him we are nothing, He gave us everything from mercy to mercy; from grace to grace He will be with us because we are loved by Him.
We can enrich our faith and growth by staying with the word of God consistently and an incredible relationship with Him will develop. When we are innocent about Him, we do bad things as our nature commands us to do; we use our instinct and senses without patience of waiting for His guidance. This is not what God’s plan and purpose for us. He wants us to know Him and fellowship with Him, and He wants us to seek His face and His righteousness and most of all He wants us to be saved and be in His Kingdom. Why we keep on walking away from all of this favor and keep on sinning? We know why? It’s Ignorance of the Word of truth. “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 'who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.'” 1 Tim. 2:3-4
For being innocent we are an easy prey from evil attack. They will use our innocence to overcome us, l be taken for granted by the evil force and l take advantage of those who lack knowledge of the Word. With little or no relationship with God, evil can easily lure people to do wicked things.
Adam and Eve covered themselves with fig leaves. However God blessed and clothed them with tunic to cover their bodies because they are no longer innocent. They already knew the good and evil and their relationship with God had been damaged by their disobedience and will not be the same again. Their innocence caused to lose luster and they were exposed to their guilt and had to live with their conscience. God who never changes His mind, His compassion, mercy and righteousness can change the circumstances. Instead of death to Adam and Eve, God expelled them from the garden with the burden how t they will live their lives.
Another simple illustration of God's compassion was during the time of Jonah. As it is written, God was ready to hand down His judgment unto Nineveh due to their wickedness but God’s compassion to the innocent children of Nineveh and their live stocks, instead sent the Prophet Jonah to warn them of the impending doom. Upon hearing the word of God from Jonah, the people of Nineveh came to repentance. God changed their heart and the People of Nineveh turned to righteous living and worshiped God and they were saved. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9
The more a person is being provoked to do good things, the more that person will challenge the provocation even sometimes God’s nudging is being ignored. Our attitude has become farther and farther away from the shadow of truth, that even God who looks into our heart may no longer look again. Our heart is getting harder and harder and walking away from His goodness and we embrace the world deceptive promise.
Once we seriously encounter Jesus there will be no turning back but going forward to righteous path. Paul encountered Jesus on the way to Damascus to persecute more of His followers but the power of that encounter made Paul fully changed from being a cold-blooded persecutor to a dedicated follower of Jesus Christ. There was no running away, the encounter was so powerful and the impact went so hard that it softened his heartless being and transformed Paul. His experience with that encounter woke up his conscience from a deep sleep.
People should not be on their own without guidance from the Spirit of God or our soul will be lost. God created Adam and knowing that Adam cannot be alone, He made Eve to be part of his life. As the saying goes, no man is an island. We need help from others; we have to fellowship also with other believers and encourage others to do the same for God’s glory. Through Jesus’ teachings we learned who God is, His purpose, His plan and will in our lives. Pursuing the Son of God is pursuing the truth of the Father. How blessed it will be finding the truth and discovering how we are connected to the Holy Trinity. Our close and true relationship will form the tri-unity- The Trinity.
Without re-evaluating our Christian living, there will be no clarity as to where our Christian faith involvement belongs. There are many claiming they are Christians but belong either, in cultic religion, occult or other religion. We have to guard our faith by knowing and understanding the true Christian faith. Many believers until now disagree on how Scripture should be interpreted and applied. When readers fully understand the significant changes in Biblical studies and the new archeological findings we may consider re-evaluating and refocus our view of true Christian living and it should be dictated by our heart.
It is profitable if all of us can teach and stand united with one belief, one teaching, and as one family of God. When Jesus Christ rules this earth, he said that he will rule with us. What will Jesus Christ feel when he sees’ us united, loving one another? Is it not that his sacrifices are not in vain? He will feel being loved. As being the temple of God; faith, hope and love will bear much fruit when united, and witnesses will be inspired to join and spread the good news. “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price." "Therefore honor God with your bodies." 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NIV)
"Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith; from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm" I Timothy 1:5-7.
When Conscience came into being after the fall of men, mankind became worse than ever. Evil works at greater degree and as almost became a normal practice in everyday life. The conscience is supposed to guide us in making the right choice and poke us when we choose the wrong decision. "Abel brought the best parts from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord accepted Abel and his gift." Genesis 4:4 (NCV) Cain gift is not respected by God and Cain got angry and led to killing His brother Abel. It was during this time that the first death takes place, when Cain attacked his brother Abel. Genesis 4:8 (NCV)
If you do things well, I will accept you, but if you do not do them well, sin is ready to attack you. Sin wants you, but you must rule over it.”-Genesis 4:7. God already advised Cain before he attack his brother and still chose the wrong path, he could have bring a suitable offering that pleases God but Cain instead let Sin clouded his thought and let jealousy prevail.
If we think that we can please God on our own way, it will be a big mistake. God knows even though we put an extra effort to please Him, but did not follow His plan, everything will not be profitable and will be dumped in the bin of nothingness. Mistakes from the old were written for us to learn and avoid, but people still tend to do the same mistakes. Our conscience who knows the right and wrong must not be ignored. Our conscience must be cleared of any error or evil. Sometimes the voice of evil thoughts we hear from our conscience is not always the voice of God. God is good and good advice comes from Him.
Mankind most of the time goes against the will of his conscience. Sometimes feelings have impact on how our conscience reacts. It is the conscience that has effect on our feelings. When our conscience convicts us of our wrong choice, we either blame it to others or blame the wrong decision to the situation at the moment which could either be the weather, the day, the time or the place and so forth.
Mistakes and failed decision are definitely our responsibility. God wanted mankind not to be self reliance with our conscience as the only means of guidance, but rather relies on what the conscience can do with the help of the Holy Spirit. When the spirit talks to our conscience and our conscience reacts otherwise, that is an indication of a poor guidance. This is an indication that there might be an outside force influencing our conscience. “The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.”Genesis 6:5.
If we cannot do something as dictated by our good conscience and our thought disagrees with the notion, there is that question which way to follow, our conscience or our thoughts? If there is a disagreement, then we should not do it! That should not be our decision. Remember that God speaks to our conscience and our conscience is supposed to have the wisdom of God. This can help us easily decide to know right or wrong although our thoughts can easily be manipulated by what we see and what we hear. The Bible is very clear that we should not violate our conscience. “But the one who doubts is condemned if they eat, because they do not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin” Romans 14:23
Good conscience must always be subjected to the revealed Word of God. Others may say that they don’t feel any conviction when they do things wrong and oftentimes refer it to small lies with assumption that will not harm anyone. The Bible plainly translated that all lies are sin. Since conscience does not bother them, they keep on doing it. However, if God objectively said, that any act that is not acceptable, be certain that it is unacceptable, when it is wrong, it is wrong and cannot make it right. The absence of convicting feelings does not necessarily mean that it is tolerable. It could be an artificial feeling of emotion and not an intellectual state of mind. Our behavior can prove it otherwise.
Martin Luther is defiant at the Assembly of Worms in Germany when he was called to repudiate his word before the Holy Roman Empire regarding his 96 theses and he professed, “My conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. May God help me.” This is a must for us to desire as well. Albert Einstein quoted: “Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it.”
Everyone has a conscience and our eyes are already open after the fall to know what is good and what is evil. Our conscience gives us an awareness of what we did right and what we did wrong and advise us of something that we are going to do and warn us of something we are not suppose to do. The Bible also revealed the Spirit of God to us through our conscience. As our conscience goaded us, God will continue prodding us to remind us His presence. Paul wrote.
“For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things contained in the law, these, although, not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them” (Romans 2:14,15).
The Lord has placed knowledge of Himself within the heart of mankind and we learned the knowledge of the fall of man through the enlightenment of two souls in the garden and made them understood the difference between good and evil, right and wrong. That experience was passed from generations to generations and ultimately we will be held responsible for our behavior. Both Jews and Gentiles received God's Truth through the conscience, and through the conscience revealed both are guilty of sin. Evidently, it is our weaknesses that keep us on sinning but to make us strong, we have to listen to the Word and obey. “So are we Jews better than others? No! We have already said that Jews and those who are not Jews are all guilty of sin.” Romans 3:9 (NCV)
It is clearly expressed in the Scripture that says both Jews and Non-Jews will be held responsible for what they know. The Jews, who received the written law on the stone from God through Moses, will be judged according to the written law given to Moses, while the converted Jews and Gentiles’ believers are not under the law of Moses but under grace and will be judged according to the law written in their heart. How will judgment be handed down? Will they be judged on a different level? Both are guilty of sin and both will be judged accordingly. Either written on stone or written in the heart. The wages of sin is death, so we can say that the judgment will be death and not based on severity of sin. Our conscience will testify before God. Will it be considered as a good witness? While conscience testifies to God's existence, it also testifies for our good and bad behavior.
While our Conscience testifies before God, will the testimony be sufficient enough? God looks into our heart; and whatever is in our heart the mouth speak! Will God listen to our heart or to our conscience?
Conscience is an awareness of right and wrong. The knowledge guides us on our decision, and that decision could lead to some actions and reactions. Sometimes our thoughts motivate us to act swiftly without delay and then later only to find out that there is no reason for such action. The absence of consciousness made our conscience confused to properly process a logical action to a certain situation. Sometimes, there is a feeling of doubt or hesitation with our action due to our inability to do something on difficult circumstances and sometimes doubt will not get us to the truth. We need the Holy Spirit to guide us and make our mind conscious and clear of any uncertainty that will give way to our conscience to function what God made it for. Unconscious mind that acts as a conscience misrepresent the truth of the matter. Conscious and Conscience are perfect when they work together. They are both the products of the mind.
Conscience in a conscious state of mind can give a clearer knowledge of ourselves, either our willingness to help the pain and sufferings of another person which is godly or we can be hardhearted which godlessness is. We can understand what a person feels and be there to help or simply ignore it, and at times feel what they feel but do not want to be involved. All of these are part of God’s gift of discernment that God gave us to be aware in a needed situation. If we refuse to use the gift properly we can lose it and be added to the testimony of conscience and be used against us when time comes to testify. Our moral and ethical behavior regarding our actions can go either way, towards right or wrong. That is why we have to be mindful of the consequences of careless action.
Sometimes we are forced to do something but cannot do it because we think that is wrong, but we follow the dictate of conscience anyway and it turns out to be in error. The feelings of guilt upon oneself is sometimes unbearable especially when we follow our natural instinct and turn out to be an undependable decision. We depend most of the time on our intellect rather than experience that is why we are thought to pray to ask for guidance. Everything we do reflect the goodness and love of God, the more people come to the knowledge of light, the more they will be involved in testifying of the existence of God and His truth. The conscience who testified may have witnessed the work of the Holy Spirit in us.
Our perfect imperfection made our conscience less reliable even we are created in God’s image and likeness. God’s perfection is beyond compare in this life. Nevertheless, we have to follow our conscience. Paul said that a person who lives according to their conscience is “blessed.” So the general principle, it is morally right to follow and wrong to disobey one's conscience, God didn’t give us a conscience that we should disregard or distrust. We should listen and obey to our conscience and the Holy Spirit will be delighted.
Common-sense judgments can be fair or unfair, can be morally correct or erroneous but the knowledge or belief that one has done nothing wrong can be blessed. “You may believe there’s nothing wrong with what you are doing, but keep it between yourself and God. Blessed are those who don’t feel guilty for doing something they have decided is right. "But if you have doubts about whether or not you should eat something, you are sinning if you go ahead and do it. For you are not following your convictions. If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning.” Romans 14:22-23 (NLT). Will God listen to our heart or to our conscience? How will judgment be handed down? Are we going to be judged on a different level?
If God will base His judgment through the testimony of conscience, behavior and attitude will be the main factors. The knowledge of right and wrong will no longer be hidden to mankind. An individual conscience that testifies will be heard and will be judged according to individual walks of life. We should always strive to do well in every direction we go and every work we do. We have to check our actions and thoughts if it is in-line with the nature of God. Our imperfections justify the means. No one is perfect. “Not a single person on earth is always good and never sins.” Ecclesiastes 7:20(NLT)
During Noah’s time the people were given a grace period of 120 years to change but never did. God saw how wicked the human race had become. “The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Genesis 6:5 (ESV) The judgment during Noah’s time was to perish mankind for their wickedness but found righteousness to Noah and saved humanity. These reset mankind’s life on earth and start a new beginning.
It’s heartbreaking to realize God seeing His creation from very good to very wicked "behold, it was very good Genesis 1:31." God sees that every intention of the thoughts of the human heart is only evil continually. It described all that He had created and made after the fall of man turned this goodness to wickedness and the earth becomes the world of sin.
As mankind multiply so as the sins of the world. It becomes like a trend that everyone embraces. It is sad because that is not the intention of our Creator. From innocence comes the conscience of mankind. Imagine being in the state of innocence we are free from all that is evil and enjoying the presence of the fruits of the Holy Spirit that work in our unblemished life. Since our eyes are opened to the revealed truth about right and wrong, we are now responsible for our actions and subject to do what is morally right and fair. When conscience reminds us when we do things wrong and ignores it, is a deliberate rejection of the truth.
Paul said: “You may believe there’s nothing wrong with what you are doing, but keep it between yourself and God. Blessed are those who don’t feel guilty for doing something they have decided is right.” “But if you have doubts about whether or not you should eat something, you are sinning if you go ahead and do it. For you are not following your convictions. If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning” Romans 14:22-23 New Living Translation (NLT)
We have depended on God’s grace, not on our own human wisdom. “My message and my preaching were not with persuasive words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power,” “so that your faith would not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.” “Among the mature, however, we speak a message of wisdom—but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing.” “That is how we have conducted ourselves before the world, and especially toward you.” sincerity that are from God—not in worldly wisdom, but in the grace of God. 1Corinthian 2:4-6; 2Corinthians 1:12(NIV)
Though we live in darkness God will never reject us when we want to come back to Him, all we need to do is confess and repent. “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, “who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”
1 Timothy 2:3-4; 2Pet 3: 9 (NJKV)
God will always love and care for us no matter what choice in life we are into.
It is our free will but, if we keep on disobeying His Will, we deprive ourselves of God’s glorious richness, and walking apart from God only favor the evil to control our lives. The absence of God is the presence of evil! We need a direction and involvement of God in our life and if we are willing to be transformed. He will transform us and give us a new heart. “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26
In our Godless state we deny the light in our life and submit to evil control. They like us to be like them and the motives is to separate us from the love of God. When our conscience which is in our mind stop listening to our hearts, our mind will be swamped with false information that will cause our conscience to get confused and testify erroneously. We need a clear conscience to testify and in order to have it, we must cling to God Almighty and He will never let evil things to snatch us from Him and our thoughts will automatically produce heavenly thoughts and the heart that produces love will be better and stronger.
If the testimony of a conscience fall apart, are we doomed? God’s Mercy and Grace will prevail no matter how great is the arguments. He is the only judge and one true God who can change the circumstances of our disobedience but will never change His mind. If the penalty for sin is death then God will not change that, as King David when he died he saw his body decays. “For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption” “but he whom God raised up did not see corruption.” Acts 13:36-37 (ESV)
Our conscience works perfectly with our mind as designed by God and due to innocence by one man, sin entered the world and conscience became less perfect. Though we are created perfect from the beginning of time, we became the perfectly imperfect creation of God. We are perfect because we are a reflection of God’s perfection and we are imperfect simply because of inherited sin. Mankind’s perfect imperfection is the byproduct of man’s disobedience to God’s only rule. God’s perfection never leaves us and made our body His temple, evil has no complete control over us. From time to time we struggle with challenges and God allows it for us to learn and be strong in faith. Since we do not know we gave up so easily.
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe.” “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength” “That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith." 1Psalm. 46:1-3, 2Proverbs 18:10, 3Nehemiah 8:10, 4Ephesians 3: 16- 17
After testimony of conscience, God will look into our heart and weighs our motives:
“A person may think their own ways are right, but the LORD weighs the heart.” “All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit” “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.” 1Proverbs 21:2, 2Proverbs 16:2(ESV); Jeremiah 17:10(NIV)
“But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” 1Samuel 16:7(ESV)
We have to remember that God’s thought is not our thought, and His judgment is according to His ways. The Scriptures are very clear about the two nature of the child of God; Flesh and Spirit: The “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”(NIV);“Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life John3:6.”(NLT); Are we going to be judged in the flesh or in the spirit? John uttered “Spirit gives life”, Jesus said “God is a Spirit and we should respect Him in Spirit and in Truth.”
While Paul said that, “the wages of sin is death”, so if there will be judgment for sin it is surely be death. We all sinned and short of the glory of God. In Paul’s word there is no escape from death for sinners. But later in his letter he said; "Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was." and also, Paul said; “For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” Romans 6:5 (NLT);Romans 8:13 (NKJV)
When we come to the Father by faith in His Son Jesus we will not perish but have eternal life, fulfillment of God’s Promise in John 3:16. “because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself.” (2 Corinthians 4:14)
Faith heroes listed in Hebrews 11: Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, and Jephthah, David, Samuel and many more in the New Testament that died with their great faith. When our soul leaves our physical body it will "decay" and the "soul that sinned and received forgiveness will not die" and will come back to life reformed by the Father and renewed by the Holy Spirit. Our new bodies will be a glorified body which is spiritual bodies "The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual, blessed by the Father and we will be reunited with the Son, one with the Holy Spirit." The truth about the "Trinity will never be doubted." 2Peter 1:4, Ezekiel 18:20 ; 1Corinthians 15:46, Acts 13:36
The Bible is our infallible guide of our faith and the actual application of the acquired ideas must not be diverted. We must not depart from the establish teachings and make our own understanding. If we keep our faith strong, and believe that we qualify not to perish-John 3:16. Our names will be listed among the unsung heroes of faith in the Book of Hebrews, written but not seen. Maybe hidden to others but revealed to us. Oh LORD of all creations, We honor you, we worship you and we give you thanks for your mercy and grace in Jesus your Son our Lord. Amen.
To God be the Glory