I was born into a Christian home, and there never was a time when my conscience was not aware of a voice in my heart that kept me from covering up my bad intentions. When I did something wrong, I had nightmares. My grandmother, who lived with us for eight years, never grew tired of reminding me that “God was watching.” That feeling has been with me all my life. God’s Spirit has never left my conscience unattended. The Apostle Paul admitted that man is born with the sense of good and evil in him (Romans 2:14-16). John Zebedee had a similar feeling and he knew how we can appease our conscience:
Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask because we obey his commands and do what pleases him. And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us (I John 3:21-24).
KING DAVID, MORE THAN ANY ONE, KNEW HOW TO DEAL WITH HIS CONSCIENCE
For David, to soothe his conscience, he had to do with confessing his guilt, amend his ways, and he had to do what was right. He prayed that the Lord constantly would scrutinize his heart. David set, for all of us, a good example, believers and unbelievers:
O Lord, you have searched me and you know me.
You know when I sit or when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O LORD.
You hem me in, behind and before;
you have laid your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand.
When I awake,
I am still with you (Psalm 139:1-18).
CHRISTMAS IS A GOOD TIME TO TEST OUR CONSCIENCE WHETHER IT IS FUNCTIONING?
I do feel guilty! And I do have regrets and wish I had not spoken in haste or acted immaturely and unwisely. I lacked the teachings of Christ. I allowed myself to be trampled on, and exposed into humiliation by my peers, who, I believed were my friends, but they were not. Recently, my wife and I went to a restaurant and we were served indifferently and I did not leave a tip. My conscience did not rest until I returned and gave the girl a tip. When guilt feelings no longer keep us awake, then our conscience is no longer functioning. Jesus showed us where to start working on our conscience with these examples:
Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. He also told them this parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.
Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of our eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Luke 6:37-42).
Do not give to dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces (Matthew 7:6).
To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself; ‘God, I thank you that I am not like all other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give the tenth of all I get.’
‘But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified Before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted (Luke 18:9-14).
Jesus heard that they (Jewish leaders) had thrown him (the blind man whom Jesus healed) out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
“Who is he, Sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.”
Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.”
Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshipped him.
Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”
Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?”
Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains” (John 9:35-41).
LET US PUT OUR CONSCIENCE ON GUARD AGAINST THE ACCUSER
I am constantly reminded of my past mistakes. Also, I have been instructed to believe that Christ, with His sacrifice, has removed that feeling of guilt. Why then is my conscience restless and troubled with doubt? I have this fear, instilled by Cristian teachers, that nothing I do is good enough to deserve salvation. Yet, the Son of God clearly said that He was sent to save me because God loves me and that I can do what God wills (John 3:16; Matthew 7:15-23). Christ revealed to John who the accuser is who fills my heart with uncertainties:
Then I (John) heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before God day and night, has been hurled down. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time s short” (Revelation 12:10-12).
The Son of God has promised his followers that if they obey His Commandments, which bear witness that He is their Savior, then, the Father and the Son will secure their eternal safety:
“I (Jesus) will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will no see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him” (John 14:18-21).
“As the Father has loved me (Jesus), so have I loved you, If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command” (John 15:9-14).
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one” (John 10:27-30).
THE SON OF GOD AND THE SON OF MAN HAS LIMITED SATAN’S POWER AND SATAN’S TIME TO THE EARTH
It is only on earth where Satan, the accuser, can put doubt about “God’s Presence” and about “God’s Good Intentions” in men, in women, and even in children while in schools by teachers who nibel on Satan’s diet. Even good people are made to wonder, what has happened to the promise the angels sang, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14; KJV). The Greek word for “good will” is “eudokia” and it does not mean that God is pleased with men, who is in rebellion against God. But “good will” means that God’s disposition is not antagonistic and that God is giving man a chance to change rulerships. Man is under the dominion of Satan. Christ has defeated Satan! However, Christ has not driven Satan out of the world—rather Christ has left it up to you and up to me to leave Satan’s world and to enter Christ’s Kingdom, which is not of this world. To take advantage of God’s peace and God’s good will, man must resist Satan. And Satan will flee because he has no power over man! That is — unless man lets Satan into his life and man indulges the flesh in Satan’s wiles. Let us ponder what Jesus meant when He quoted Isaiah 8:14 and 28:16:
Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?
Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed” (Matthew 21:42-44).
The expectations that Christmas and the cross would turn the world in the direction towards God again, as it was before Adam transgressed, has been and continues to be a hopeless illusion. If man had no will and no choice, Christ could command that mankind return to Him and Satan too could be evicted. However, God made man in “His Image and in His Likeness.” And God granted man the ability to choose between good and evil. The choice has become more difficult because evil appeals to human passion and to human desire, which drowns the mind in the mire. Even if Christ would die a hundred times, without man’s determination to separate from Satan’s kingdom of earthly glory and riches, Christ cannot save man. Christ and His Father in heaven cannot and will not force “Their Will” on man. Man must will to will God’s Will. Jesus left us these sobering facts:
“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace on the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ‘man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’
Anyone who love his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who love his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me. Whoever find his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me. Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward. And if anyone gives a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth he will certainly not lose his reward”
We must decide whom we want to follow and whom we want to serve (Matthew 6:24). Should Satan’s demons disable our mental capacity, then Jesus the Christ will not let us fall into Satan’s fatal end. Jesus demonstrated His Power over Satan when He cast out two thousand demons from a Gerasene man (Mark 5:1-20).