The conscience is one vital part of the human spirit that is always mentioned but unfortunately, the most misunderstood. The Church has left it to the psychologist to tell us what it is. That’s what has led to it gross misunderstanding. But the Bible is replete with truths about what it really is and it functions. The God who created it has furnished us with all the truths we ever need to know about it.
What is the conscience?
Biblical Hebrew does not have a word for conscience. The Old Testament writers did not use the word in their writings. The Greek word is ‘syneidesis’. It means co-perception (moral consciousness), to understand, become aware of, to be conscious, informed of.
It does not perceive or understand on it own, it aligns with either God or self to function. Man was created to be God conscious but after man ate the tree of the knowledge of good and evil his eyes opened to self, he saw his nakedness and became self conscious and thereby sin conscious.
It is one of the main functions of the human spirit. The human spirit has these 3 functions: Conscience, Intuition and Communion. It’s a vital part of man and if well understood and harnessed it will be of tremendous blessing and if not it can make hell feel like paradise.
The Conscience as Part of the Human Spirit – Rom.8:16; Rom.9;1
In Romans 9:1 Paul said, “My conscience bearing witness with me in the Holy Spirit.” When this passage is compared to Romans 8:16, “The Spirit Himself witnesses with our spirit,” it is abundantly clear that the conscience is a part of the human spirit not mind or soul.
Rom.9:1 proves that the conscience is a witness, so one of it functions is to witness. Rom.8:16 then declares that the Holy Spirit Himself witnesses with our spirit. We have seen that the witnessing part of the human spirit is the conscience so if the Holy Spirit is witnessing with the human spirit we know it must be the conscience which is now clearly seen as part of the human spirit.
We know that the Holy Spirit relates with our spirit and not with our mind, soul or body. So now that Rom. 9:1 is saying that Paul’s conscience witnessed with the Holy Spirit we can rightly say the conscience is a part of the human spirit.
The Conscience as a Witness – Rom.2:15; Rom.8:16; Rom. 9:1; 2Cor.1:12; 2Cor.4:2; 2Cor.5:11
It bears witness with whatever is written in the heart, in doing so, it accuses or excuses, condemns or commends. We can chose to allow the Holy Spirit and the word influence our conscience so it will be a reliable guide. If not it will nag you into guilt and condemnation.
All the above scriptures clearly mentions it as a witness in man. It witnesses for or against. It’s a YES or No guide in man.
The Conscience as the Voice of the Human Spirit – Rom.9:1
For a man who is one with God his conscience becomes the voice of God in him. The voice is a YES or NO voice. It agrees or disagrees, allows or disallows. It’s the inward witness in man.
The Conscience is not Independent – Rom.2:15; 1Cor.8:7-13; Tit.1:15
It does not lead by itself. Its influenced by what is feed in the mind. A conscience that is weak is so because of the information in the mind (1Cor.8:7-13). As seen in Titus 1:15, a defiled mind will produce a defiled conscience.
A Person who does not know what Christ has done with his sins (past, present and future) will have a nagging and guilty conscience – Heb.8:12; Heb.10:17).
The conscience as a Guide – Rom.2:12-16
It’s a guide but not the guide.
The knowledge of good and evil (the law) is registered in every man’s heart, believer or unbeliever. For those who did not hear the Gospel and died they will be judged by it.
Kinds of Conscience
- Seared Conscience – 1Tim.4:2
- Defiled Conscience – Tit.1:15
- Evil Conscience – Heb.10:12
- Dead works Conscience – Heb. 9:14
- Sin Conscience (sin consciousness) – Heb.10:2
- Weak Conscience – 1Cor.8:7,10,12
- Pure Conscience – 1Tim.3:9; 2Tim.1:3
- Good Conscience – 1Tim.1:19; Heb.13:18; 1Pet.3:16,21
- Conscience Void of Offence – Acts 24:16
- Perfect Conscience – Heb.9:9
- Conscience After God – 1Pet.2:19
There are a lot of misconceptions about this vital creation of God but if we sit down with our Bibles we’ll quickly find out that God has not left us in the dark about it. We can know as much as we desire about any of God’s creation right in the Holy Bible.
I will be sharing with you all I’ve learnt about it here for the next few weeks. If you want to join many others on these study and not miss any part of it just ensure to subscribe for free with your best email and I’ll send every article i publish here straight to your inbox so you don’t miss anything.
I’ll take time defining with several Bible references each of the 11 kinds of consciences mentioned above, how to deal with a nagging or guilty conscience, how to be led rightly by it and many more. You don’t want to miss any part of this for any reason.
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Kevin Ashwe is a Pastor, teacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He is also a man power developer. He has been involved in training the work force of churches and ministries in Nigeria.
He is the husband of Deborah and senior pastor of WORDLife Assembly, Nigeria.
You can reach him through the channels below.