An individual’s conscience can be a very tricky thing. It serves as our inner guide as to what is right or wrong in life (Romans 2:15). Everyone’s conscience is certainly not the same. One person’s conscience feels guilt when they tell a lie (John 8:9), while another individual may feel no guilt whatsoever (I Timothy 4:2).
Some folks even allow their conscience to be their guide in life. But what if their moral compass is off? What if their conscience steers them incorrectly in matters of faith? After all the Bible warns: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12).
The frightening thing is that we can live “in all good conscience before God”, and still be wrong (Acts 23:1). Saul (Paul) thought he was doing exactly what was right and pleasing unto God when he persecuted and killed Christians (Acts 26:9-11). Boy was he wrong (Acts 26:12-20)!
So the important question that must be settled is this: is your conscience guided solely by the Word of God (I Peter 4:11; Col. 3:17), or by what you think, feel, and believe?
Do you base your salvation on what you feel is right or what God’s Word says will save you (Mark 16:16; Eph. 2:8)? By the way, did you know that baptism, which “saves us”, is “the answer of a good conscience toward God” (I Peter 3:21)? Are you guided by your conscience in how you worship God, or do you only worship God in spirit and truth (John 4:24)? Do you base your moral decisions on your personal conscience or upon the righteousness contained in the gospel (Romans 1:16-17; Eph. 4:17-32)?
Your conscience will be well-pleasing to God if you: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Prov. 3:5-7). Let us say and live what the apostle Paul confessed, “I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men” (Acts 24:15).
So, is your conscience right? It only is when it is in perfect harmony with the perfect will of God (James 1:25). By Jesse Flowers
Is Your Heart Hard?
A number of times the Bible speaks of those who possess a hard heart. Pharaoh, king of Egypt, readily comes to mind (Exodus 7:13, 14, 22; 8:15, 19, 32; 9:7, 34-35). In spite of all the mighty acts of God (i.e., the plagues), he would harden his heart time after time and refuse to let the children of Israel go.
The Gospel of John makes mention of the Jews that did not believe in Jesus in spite of the many signs He performed, because they “hardened their hearts” (John 12:37-40). The Bible even speaks of Jesus’ disciples on occasion possessing a hard heart, and therefore failing to grasp some of the teachings and miracles of Jesus (Mark 6:52; 8:17). Christians are warned to: “exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘Today,’ lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13).
What does it mean to have a heart that is hardened? It means that an individual stubbornly resists and/or refuses to submit his life to the will of God, and does what he wants to do. Some will even harden their heart to such an extent that they will actively oppose those who teach the truth of God’s Word (Acts 19:9).
So what about your heart? Is it hardened towards the will of God? You may be quick to deny that you possess a hard heart, but let me ask you a few questions to consider.
Are you presently in a scriptural marriage, or have you hardened your heart to God’s marriage law (Matt. 19:3-9)? Do you believe that being baptized is necessary to do in order to be saved, or have you hardened your heart to the Lord’s command (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16)? Are you faithful to assemble with the saints, or go whenever you feel like attending church services (Heb. 10:25)? Do you add instruments to your worship because you desire it, rather than simply heeding God’s command to “sing” and make “melody in your heart to the Lord” (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16)? Do your practice the morals of the Bible, or just live your life the way you decide (Col. 3:1-15)?
Sadly, many sincere, religious people today harden their hearts to the will of God by worshiping, teaching and practicing exactly what they want to do (Matt. 7:21-23; 15:7-9), rather than what the Lord commands. Be honest with yourself and with God…is your heart hard? By Jesse Flowers