Conscience (Romans 2:14-16; 14:1ff)


Sermon Outline



What is the conscience?

    1. BDAG: the inward faculty of distinguishing right and wrong…attentiveness to [internal] obligation[1]
    2. it isn’t identical with what we know, or with the Spirit of God within/outside us, or even with what we have been taught is right/wrong in our family and culture but it is informed by all of them (Rom 2:14-16)
    3. Paul’s Clear conscience (Acts 23:1, 24:16)

Does this mean that every time our conscience condemns us or acquits us that it is correct?

    1. Simply because your conscience tells you something is right doesn’t make it right.
    2. Simply because your conscience tells you something is wrong, does that make it wrong?
    3. So, we need to ask ourselves – why do I feel this way and is it right to feel this way?
    4. As we ask that question, it is likely that we will find times, situations and circumstances in which we need to recalibrate or adjust our conscience. (1Cor 8:7-8)
      1. That is because sometimes our consciences are
        1. Weak
        2. Wounded
        3. Defiled
      2. How should we calibrate or adjust our conscience?
        1. Educate it with the Truth.
          1. First, we need to know the Truth in the Bible. (2Tim 2:15)
            1. Who God is.
            2. Who humans are.
            3. What salvation is and how it is accomplished.
            4. How the gospel is twisted according to the Word.
          2. Second, we need to know the Truth outside the Bible.
        2. Give time to apply these truths and retrain your overscrupulous or licentious internal siren.
        3. Consider these questions as you are recalibrating your conscience:
          1. John and Paul Feinberg, Ethics for a Brave New World, suggest when deciding whether to indulge or not in an activity:[2]
            1. “Am I fully persuaded that it is right? (Rom. 14:5, 14, 23)
            2. Can I do it as unto the Lord? (Rom. 14:6-8)
            3. Can I do it without being a stumbling block to my brother or sister in Christ? (Rom. 14:13, 15, 20-22)
            4. Does it bring peace? (Rom. 14:17-18)
            5. Does it edify my brother? (Rom. 14:19)
            6. Is it profitable? (1 Cor. 6:12)
            7. Does it enslave me? (1 Cor. 6:12)
            8. Does it bring glory to God? (1 Cor. 10:31)”

How can we relate to other Christians when our consciences disagree?

    1. (1Cor 13)
    2. Quietly (Rom 14:22-15:2)

The Goal of Christian Freedom

    1. “the freedom to discipline yourself to be flexible for the sake of the gospel.”

Christ as the Healer of our Conscience (Hebrews 9:13-14)

[1] “suneidhsis”

[2] Naselli, Andrew & J.D. Crowley, Conscience: What it is, How to train it and Loving those who differ. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2016)



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