Dysfunctional conscience

It would be hard to argue against the proposition that the human conscience is the most convincing evidence that God created man in His image. No other life form has been observed to have a conscience that reflects on, or considers the right or wrong of situations and activities. It is interesting that the forbidden fruit in the garden of Eden was from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Conscience should be a dependable friend to guide our paths. More often, it is a merciless accuser. When it is the latter, the resulting guilt has profound negative influence. Incidentally, notice how often others try to hammer us with guilt over what they claim as a moral issue. Depending on the ax one wishes to grind, anything may be called a moral issue and men seek to win any debatable question by subtly charging moral guilt to those who disagree.

Our problem is "conscience confusion" and is the effect of godless philosophy and education which zealously crams all sorts of information into our brains but carefully avoids and deletes all information relating to truth and moral values leaving the conscience void.

The sad truth is that one confused moral opinion is just as valid as any other. The Bible insists that the conscience must be instructed and trained in divine truth. Otherwise, it will torment us with frivolous things we need not feel guilty about and be silent about serious sins we ought to feel guilty about.

This dilemma is at the heart of the Gospel message. Because our sins have resulted in a fatal broken relationship with God, and a serious malfunction of conscience, there is in all, a persistent subconscious guilt and condemnation and we are always in a frantic search for a way to escape guilt.

Jesus made it clear that His mission was directly related to our conscience by His words in the Gospel of St. John 3:17-18. He said. "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world. Whoever does not believe stands condemned already."

The substitution sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for our sins and faults is God's redemptive plan to free us from guilty conscience and to restore it as a friendly helper rather than a cruel judge.

The purpose of the Bible is to instruct us in eternal principles of right and wrong. As we diligently endeavor to acknowledge and follow them, the oppression of guilt is removed and we are empowered to advance not only in productive living but also in the blessed benefits or restored fellowship with our Heavenly Father.

The Holy Scriptures stress one supreme moral issue that truly matters. It is whether we are saved and fellowship re-established with God through faith in the Gospel of His dear Son, Jesus Christ. This is the critical moral issue we would be wise to be concerned with.


Pastor Gene Holman of Living Word Fellowship is a member of the Carson Valley Ministers' Association.

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