The conscience. Webster’s Dictionary from 1828 defines it as such: “Internal or self-knowledge, or judgment of right and wrong; or the faculty, power or principle within us, which decides on the lawfulness or unlawfulness of our own actions and affections, and instantly approves or condemns them.”
All of mankind has a conscience. It’s God-built into the very fabric of our being. We might think of it as something God put into us so that we might self-govern or self-judge our actions, attitudes and behavior.
Mankind has within his heart an ability to reason as to what is or is not pleasing or acceptable. And when men violate these standards, his conscience generates guilt. Perhaps we could think of it as a built in security system. Shame from inappropriate behavior produces a means of warning to mankind that something is out of sync in our innermost being, which we refer to as our souls.
Amazingly there are many who pay little heed to their conscience. They seem to be bent on only rebellion and self-satisfying behavior. In 2 Timothy 4:2 we read that “their own conscience seared with a hot iron.”
Oh, many may ignore such warnings which their conscience invokes. They may try to reason within themselves that they are no worse off than many others who tend to agree with their warped judgments.
Yet the truth of the matter is that men will not be judged on how they wish to interpret their conscience and their personal response to what is unlawful. Their personal conscience will be judged by God’s Word which He has made known to us.
Therein, we are without excuse. There is One to whom we all will appear. We will give account to our behavior, our choices, our acceptance or our rejection of the commands that God has inscribed within our hearts and has made known to us in the Bible.
Many may ignore their conscience and willfully continue in sin, but for the believer in Jesus Christ, who has trusted in the message of the Gospel, he enjoys the affirmation, joy, peace and blessed assurance that a good conscience brings.