If I follow my conscience, won’t I be alright with God?

Published 10:06 am Friday, January 12, 2018

Modern religions teach that religion is best when it is heartfelt. The proponents of such widely believe that if our conscience approves our conduct we may be assured that we are living right. However, this is a false and potentially disastrous assumption. One of the results of this type of religion is an outward manifestation of religion that often involves emotional outburst by those who practice it. Often time the Churches of Christ are accused of not having a heartfelt religion because they do not have an emotional, charismatic type of worship. The charge has grown out of the misunderstanding of what the Bible heart is and how it functions.
As we consider biblical heartfelt religion we must realize that the conscience/heart is part of us; not that physical heart that pumps blood throughout our bodies but that which involves our conscience. It is a part of our God-given makeup, and is designed to help us direct our lives. However to exhibit proper heartfelt religion our consciences MUST be properly taught.
The heart that is under consideration is that part of man which thinks, understands by proper reasoning, and is able to believe based upon the facts that is presented to it. Thus the biblical understanding of the heart of man is the consciousness of man which can determine to follow a course of action that guides us to fulfill the intents of that heart.
To help us properly understand the principle that the heart of man must be properly taught we need to look no further than the life of the apostle Paul. His life is a perfect demonstration of this truth. Before becoming a Christian Paul viciously persecuted Christians. He later declared that he did this with a good conscience. Paul said, “… I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day” (Acts 23:1 KJV). By the time Paul has his discussion with Felix Paul had learned a lot about properly worshipping God. Paul said, “And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men” (Acts 24:16 KJV). As he defended himself and gospel before Agrippa Paul said, “I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth” (Acts 26:9 KJV). The question we should ask ourselves is how could a zealous, religious, devout person be so wrong and yet believe that he was pleasing God? When Paul writes to Timothy he gave the answer. Of himself Paul said, “Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.” When Paul discovered the truth his heart/conscience responded properly in obedience to the commands of Christ.
In one of the most sobering statements Jesus ever voiced, he tells us that in the Day of Judgment there will be MANY who will have mistakenly believed that they have lived their lives in service to Him but on that day they will be told “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matt 7:21-23).
Yes, it is important to listen to our conscience, but only when it has been properly taught by the only safe guide, the Bible.
(Tony Hoss is minister at the Centerview Church of Christ. He can be contacted at 423-737-2287 or by e-mail: CenterviewCOC@comcast.net)

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox