The word “conscience” has been on my mind a lot lately. Even at Wal-Mart I couldn’t escape conscious thoughts about “conscience.” You see, I finished shopping and began to check out, during checkout one of the items I was purchasing need a price override. Since the cashier didn’t have free will or the authority to override the system he had to call for a manager. Why? Because the manager was the check-and-balance for the cashier’s potential to willfully compromise his own conscience. I thought to myself: “Is it really that easy, and prevalent for people to ignore their own conscience for legal gain and worldly pleasures?” If it is, people don’t stand a chance against sin. Then I thought; “This may be the case for the unsaved. However, I believe for the saved it doesn’t have to be.” Why do I say this? Because I believe the saved person has an internal check-and-balance called the “Holy Spirit.” But, since we have been given free will the Spirit’s help is only available if we choose it.
Drifting further in thought, I asked myself: “What does “conscience” mean? So, I ran over to the book section and grabbed Webster’s dictionary. I Found the word and read “Conscience: The sense of the moral goodness or blameworthiness of one’s own conduct, intentions, or character together with a feeling of obligation to do right or be good; a faculty, power, or principle enjoining good acts.” I wondered: “Does everyone have a conscience? Did God put a conscience in His creation for a purpose?” I am of the opinion that all do, and God did. Why? For one thing, as I was reading John Chapter eight I noticed something in the King James Bible that seemed to be left out of many other translations. What? The term: “conscience.” Not sure why it is left out of other translations. Maybe “conscience” is to judgmental of a word to talk about? I don’t think it has to be.
In John 8:9 the Pharisees bring a woman to Christ. A woman accused of adultery by Hebrew law. The Pharisees were very smart and their legal knowledge was impeccable. However, knowledge doesn’t govern the principle of “conscience” Grace does. Make note, these men were Hebrew Law regulators, even so, they still had a conscience proving the gift of conscience is not dependent upon salvation. How do we know they had a conscience? John 8:9 in the King James bible says, “And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.” Do you see the power of conscience? Conscience has to be from God! It was amazing to see how the violation of conscience overpowered the eldest and wisest Pharisee first, then the younger less wise and so on. Grace, using the principle of conscience, empowered by the Spirit, just had a showdown with Hebrew Law and Grace won. Do you think this woman will change because her conscience was touched by Grace? Or by condemnation of Hebrew Law?
Jesus, being God, knew that all men and women have a God given conscience. So, it was to the conscience of men he appealed; not to Hebrew Law. He did not have to use condemnation to handle condemnation. He (being Grace) merely appealed to the conscience of man by saying “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” I believe “conscience” is a gift given by God to man, out of love, in hope that it would be used wisely and not suppressed for legal gain or worldly pleasures. Maybe the person reading this has heard this phrase “Let your conscience be your guide.” This may be good advice for an unbeliever. However, for the Christian I would say, “Let the Holy Spirit be your guide, and your conscience will remain righted.” In Romans 9:1(KJV) Paul said, “I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost.”