Clean?

John Piper

A good conscience may be a guilty conscience; a bad conscience may certainly  feel clear. But only a good conscience, guilty, but with the guilt washed away, can become a clean conscience. This third of three brief posts on the theme of conscience comes from John Piper…

John Piper writes…

“So here we are in the modern age — the age of the Internet, smart phones, space travel, and heart transplants — and our problem is fundamentally the same as always: our consciences condemn us and make us feel unacceptable to God. We are alienated from God.

We can cut ourselves, or throw our children in the sacred river, or give a million dollars to charity, or serve in a soup kitchen, or a hundred forms of penance and self-injury, and the result will be the same: the stain remains and death terrifies.

We know that our conscience is defiled — not with external things like touching a corpse, a dirty diaper, or a piece of pork. Jesus said it is what comes out of a man that defiles, not what goes in (Mark 7:15-23). We are defiled by attitudes like pride and self-pity and bitterness and lust and envy and jealousy and covetousness and apathy and fear.

The only answer in this modern age, as in every other age is the blood of Christ. When your conscience rises up and condemns you, where will you turn? Hebrews 9:14 gives you the answer: turn to Christ. (14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. Hebrews 9:14 ESV)

Turn to the blood of Christ. Turn to the only cleansing agent in the universe that can give you relief in life and peace in death.”

Copyright Information: This devotional is written by John Piper. For more information about Piper’s ministry, writing, and books, visit DesiringGod.org.

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My Conscience, Right or Wrong?

Weight of Glory

It’s all very well to claim that we act according to our conscience, but is our conscience a reliable guide? This second of three brief posts on the theme of conscience comes from C S Lewis….

“How do we decide what is good or evil? The usual answer is that we decide by conscience. But probably no one thinks now of conscience as a separate faculty, like one of the senses. Indeed, it cannot be so thought of. For an autonomous faculty like a sense cannot be argued with; you cannot argue a man into seeing green if he sees blue. But the conscience can be altered by argument; and if you did not think so, you would not have asked me to come and argue with you about the morality of obeying the civil law when it tells us to serve in the wars. Conscience, then, means the whole man engaged in a particular subject matter.

But even in this sense conscience still has two meanings. It can mean (a) the pressure a man feels upon his will to do what he Thinks is right; (b) his judgment as to what the content of right and wrong are. In sense (a) conscience is always to be followed. It is the sovereign of the universe, which “if it had power as it has right, would absolutely rule the world.” It is not to be argued with, but obeyed, and even to question it is to incur guilt. But in sense (b) it is a very different matter. People may be mistaken about wrong and right; most people in some degree are mistaken. By what means are mistakes in this field to be corrected?”

From C S Lewis in The Weight of Glory

Open on the inside?

Utmost

Of the various conflicts we face as disciples of Jesus perhaps the easiest to avoid are the inner conflicts of conscience. While external conflicts, with people and circumstances, cannot easily be denied, we are able to shut up the voice of conscience, to shut out the voice of God, and go our own way. Sooner or later we come to our senses. This first of three brief posts on the theme of conscience comes from Oswald Chambers…

‘A conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.’ Acts 24:16

“God’s commands are given to the life of His Son in us, consequently to the human nature in which His Son has been formed, His commands are difficult, but immediately we obey they become divinely easy. Conscience is that faculty in me which attaches itself to the highest that I know, and tells me what the highest I know demands that I do. It is the eye of the soul which looks out either towards God or towards what it regards as the highest, and therefore conscience records differently in different people. If I am in the habit of steadily facing myself with God, my conscience will always introduce God’s perfect law and indicate what I should do. The point is, will I obey? I have to make an effort to keep my conscience so sensitive that I walk without offence. I should be living in such perfect sympathy with God’s Son, that in every circumstance the spirit of my mind is renewed, and I ‘make out’ at once “what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

“God always educates us down to the scruple. Is my ear so keen to hear the tiniest whisper of the Spirit that I know what I should do? “Grieve not the Holy Spirit.” He does not come with a voice like thunder; His voice is so gentle that it is easy to ignore it. The one thing that keeps the conscience sensitive to Him is the continual habit of being open to God on the inside. When there is any debate, quit. ‘Why shouldn’t I do this?’ You are on the wrong track. There is no debate possible when conscience speaks. At your peril, you allow one thing to obscure your inner communion with God. Drop it, whatever it is, and see that you keep your inner vision clear.”

From Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest