Is Conscience a Guide? – E.M. Borden

E.M. Borden

Much is said these days about conscience. Is conscience a guide? We discussed it in school. The question was, “Is conscience a safe moral guide?” It is discussed today by many religious people who take it as a guide. But is it a guide? Does it dictate? Conscience may compel, but it does not guide or dictate. The conscience condemns (1 John 3:20). We often hear it said: “His conscience pinches him.” That is the same as saying: “His conscience condemns him.” Sometimes we hear people say: “I know I am right, or my conscience would condemn me.” Our conscience does not condemn us until we do contrary to what we think is right. It does not matter whether we are right or not. If we think we are, our conscience does not condemn us. Then, to have the right kind of conscience, we must believe the Bible and take the Lord’s standard of right.

Conscience is a creature of conditions. It never appears until we have violated our supposed knowledge of right. It appears even though our knowledge of right is not well-founded. Where there is no conception of right or wrong, there is no conscience. Paul said he lived in all good conscience when he persecuted the Christians (Acts 23:1), but that did not make it right. He thought it was the thing to do. That was his standard of right (26:9). His conscience did not condemn him, for he acted according to his standard of right. Conscience and knowledge go hand in hand. False knowledge makes a false conscience. A satisfied conscience does not condemn. When properly taught, our conscience is not satisfied until we are baptized.

Now, there is such a thing as a seared conscience. “Having their conscience seared with a hot iron” (1 Tim. 4:1-2). In that case, conscience fails to condemn. When a man reaches that point, he is very corrupt. The conscience convicts. “Being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one” (John 8:9). They knew what was right, which caused their conscience to condemn. When Judas returned the thirty pieces of silver, he pictured a condemning conscience. He acted contrary to his knowledge of right. He fell. The Bible tells us that we must believe in Christ, repent of our sins, confess our faith in Christ, and be baptized for the remission of sins. “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:16). If a man believes what the Bible says, his conscience will continue to condemn him until he is baptized. Peter tells us that baptism is the answer to a good conscience (1 Pet. 3:21). If I believe baptism is for the remission of sins, my conscience will not be satisfied until I have been baptized.

A certain denominational “pastor” who had recently acquired another degree told his flock that conscience was born a little over five thousand years ago. That was not so bad, but his following statement was that man was a savage thousands of years before that. I suppose that is what he learned when he received his recent degree. Well, it seems that he does not believe in the Bible’s account of creation. He does not seem to believe that Adam and Eve were the first people on earth. Indeed, conscience did not appear until Adam and Eve had violated their knowledge of right. The fact is: conscience does not appear in any of us until we violate what we consider to be the standard of right. All people, even savage races, have their standard of right. The Indian, in his savage state, has his standard of right. The Indian looks to the Great Spirit, and in his own way, he is a worshiper. The preacher who denies the Bible’s account of creation should “unfrock himself ” and give the pulpit to those who believe in the Bible. Where there is an intellect, there can be a conscience. The Lord appeals to man’s intellect. Man is allowed a choice. If he chooses the evil, he may know what to expect. A man may sin and run away, but when he gets there, he finds that his conscience is with him. His conscience will condemn him.

   Send article as PDF   

Author: Editor

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *