A Good Conscience…
Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing (1Peter 3:16-17).
WE ARE PURSUING A BOOK WRITTEN BY by the Apostle Peter to provide doctrine and instructions for the first Christians and for all Christians that would come after them. They still had the Jewish Old Testament that they depended on for moral instruction and encouragement. But, they needed more books to enlarge their understanding and that would be suitable for Gentiles who had no Jewish background.
THE HUMAN CONSCIENCE IS A GREAT MYSTERY. There is a universal expectation that every human being will be born with a conscience, as surely as we expect fingers and toes. In every nation…in every century…the human conscience has appeared with almost every human being. I say “almost” because sometimes a cold-blooded killer appears to be “without a conscience.”
ASIDE FROM THE COURTROOM, the Bible has this to say: Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; (1Timothy 4:1-2.)
IN THIS DAY OUR CULTURE SEEKS TO SUPPRESS CONSCIENCE so as to give free reign of the senses of pleasure. Barnes speaks well for our benefit: “Conscience is not revelation, nor does it answer the purpose of a revelation. It communicates no new truth to the soul and is a safe guide only so far as the mind has been properly enlightened to see what is truth and duty. Its office is “to prompt us to the performance of duty,” not “to determine what is right.”
The other thing requisite that we may have a good conscience is, that its decisions should be obeyed. Conscience is appointed to be the “vicegerent” of God in inflicting punishment, if his commands are not obeyed.
Conscience pronounces a sentence on our own conduct. Its penalty is remorse; and that penalty will be demanded if its promptings be not regarded. It is an admirable device, as a part of the moral government of God, urging man to the performance of duty, and, in case of disobedience, making the mind its own executioner.”(Barnes-abbrev-emphasis added.)
DON'T TRY TO BE SAVED IN ETERNITY BY LIVING BY YOUR CONSCIENCE because you won’t make it. However, conscience has proven down through history to be a mighty force for good in stemming the tide of evil and avoiding shipwreck in the lives of individuals.
GOD HAS PLACED HIS OWN PEOPLE IN THIS WORLD AS BEACONS OF LIGHT. Clearly, the world does not want light and goes to great trouble to snuff out any light that restrains its pursuit of pleasure and self-will. We are “an impediment to progress” so we are told. Therefore, according to the world system, we should give way to simple majority rule even if that means collective rebellion against the Holy God who made us and the earth and the heavens. Our choice is to line up with the living God, or to line up with the world system which is in rebellion against God. That is, against God’s order, God’s values, God’s purpose and plan.
WE CANNOT FORCE PEOPLE TO SERVE GOD. But we can live with a good conscience so that when we are despised or falsely accused we may be a briar in the conscience of wicked men. This has brought suffering and death upon many thousands, even millions of people who determined to live for God in good conscience. So, what will it be for you today in the school, the workplace, or the home? Whose are you? To whom do you give allegiance?
…whereas they speak evil of you… God never promised us that people will think we are wonderful. In fact, …they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: (1Peter 4:4).
Christianity can be tough living…Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. (Matthew 5:11)
Be careful if they give you a plaque…Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets. But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. (Luke 6:26-28)
THEY'RE LOOKING AT OUR WALK...NOT LISTENING TO OUR TALK. Having your conversation [total living] honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. (1Peter 2:12)
Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. (Psalm 37:5-6)
“There is no penalty that will more certainly be inflicted, eventually, than that incurred by a guilty conscience. It needs no witnesses; no process for arresting the offender; no array of judges and executioners; no stripes, imprisonment, or bonds. Its inflictions will follow the offender into the most secluded retreat; overtake him in his most rapid flight; find him out in northern snows, or on the sands of the equator.
“A guilty conscience will go into the most splendid palaces, and seek out the victim when he is safe from all the vengeance that man can inflict; pursue him into the dark valley of the shadow of death, or arrest him as a fugitive in distant worlds. No one, therefore, can over-estimate the importance of having a good conscience. A true Christian should aim, by incessant study and prayer, to know what is right, and then always do it, no matter what the consequences may be.” (Barnes) Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
MARCH 2, 2018 – FRIDAY
A.M. Numbers 28-29 P.M. Mark 9:1-29
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
Good Verses to Memorize:
And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him (1John 5:14-15).
Song for Today:
The Longer I Serve Him (4:26) ( Bill & Danny Gaither, Ben Speer & Group)
In this setting, Danny Gaither (brother to Bill Gaither) was sick with cancer. Everyone knew it, and this accounts for the tears you see. (Danny Gaither 1938-2001. Age 62)
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