Conscience Exists In All Men
Hebrews 13:18 contains a thought that is very basic, but it is so needful: Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.

Much is said in the Word of God about you and me, as individuals, having and preserving a good conscience. Therefore, it behooves us to give much attention to this subject, especially in view of the day in which we are living. I do not say how else to express it but to say it is a conscienceless day. You hear over and over, "How could they do what they do and not feel anything?" We are living in a day and time when the devil has done a great work on the conscience of men and women.

What is the conscience?
Conscience is that faculty of the soul (the inner being), that enables us to perceive our conduct in reference to right or wrong.
It is something that God has placed in every individual.

Conscience, Biblically-speaking, is a moral sense corresponding to and going far beyond the physical faculties whereby we commune with the outer world. We have five senses with which we commune with the outer world: sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell. Conscience corresponds to this, only it goes far beyond it. It is higher in its perception than any bodily sense. Conscience bears witness with our thoughts, our affections, our actions and weighs each one of them.

Conscience bears witness of our emotions. I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. Romans 9:1,2. Paul lets us know there that his conscience bore witness right along with all the other feelings that he had.

In Ecclesiastes 7:21,22, the wise man tells us how conscience will revert down inside of us: Also take no heed unto all words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee: For oftentimes also thine own heart knoweth that thou thyself likewise hast cursed others. People get excited today about that which is done outwardly. They think it is a terrible thing for people to take God's name in vain. The wise man said that if you would be true to your own conscience, you know that down inside you have cursed people. It may never have come out of your mouth, but right down inside, the words were fabricated.

Conscience is the voice that is heard secretly, acquainting us with the right or wrong of things.
Conscience exists in all men, including the unregenerated. Every man and every woman has a conscience, unless he or she was born with severe mental deficiencies. God has been fair. He fashioned the hearts of mankind all alike. When you get into the depths of it, you cannot find much difference in the Word of God between the "heart" and the "conscience".

In speaking of the brethren, Paul wrote, For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves--(these were not under the law of Moses)--Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another. Romans 2:14,15. The law was written in the heart and the conscience bore witness to the fact that it was written in the heart. God has written the law of what is right or wrong even in the heart of the heathen that does not know anything about Him, Paul said.

Wicked men try to stifle the inward chidings of conscience, but it is very rare if one is ever fully successful in shutting off the voice of conscience. Even though unregenerate men are without faith, they are not without fear. Much that medical science calls "shock" when someone has been in a bad accident is actually fear of what he is facing. It makes no difference how freely you live; sooner or later, God will call your hand. And when He calls your hand, you are just as scared as anybody else. I have seen men, who were mighty bold at times, shake and cry like babies when they were hurt in an accident. That terrible shock that comes on a person when he is brought face to face with death is the fact that he has drowned his conscience. Now God has awakened it to the surety that he is dying without God, and he trembles and shakes.

Fear For No Reason
The wicked flee when no man pursueth... Proverbs 28:1. Just sitting around has so frightened people they bolted the doors. What was the trouble with them? Conscience just raised up inside and was whipping them!

There is that within man that appalls the stoutest sinner. I have seen big, stout men make fun of religion and say it was for the old ladies and the children. But when God began to deal with them, they shook and trumbled and were bigger babies than a lot of the "old ladies" when conscience really got to working on them. It does not make any difference how big you are or how strong you are or how "bad" you are: when God gets ready to whip you down, you
will
shake and tremble.

This very presence of a conscience within provides to every one of us a clear demonstration of the existence of God.
There IS a God in Heaven. There IS a Creator Who made us. There IS a God before Whom we must stand in judgement one of these days!

The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good. God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God. Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread: they have not called upon God. There were they in great fear, where no fear was: for God hath scattered the bones of him that encampeth against thee: thou hast put them to shame, because God hath despised them. Psalm 53:1-5

Sinners can carry on, they can "eat up" God's people, they can say, "There is none good, no not one," but the fifth verse says they come into a place where great fear comes on them--yet there is no reason to be fearful: There were they in great fear, where no fear was.

One thing you cannot get away from is the fact that
God is going to deal with you
. The wheels of God's justice grind slowly, sometimes mighty slowly, but they keep grinding. Sooner or later, it will be your time to be confronted with that which you have or have not done. God is going to "catch up" with you.

The Psalmist tells you the fool's testimony: he cries out and says there is no God, that there is nobody good on the earth and everybody is evil. When you try to do right and lift up a standard for good, these fellows will eat you up. However, that fifth verse says that finally, fear comes upon them where there is no reason for fear. Where does that fear come from?

Although a man can hide himself from the world, he
cannot get away from himself. That's why so many many many try to hide themselves in alcohol or other drugs: they refuse to deal with the reality of their actions and seek to escape from setting the wrongs right by addling their minds! Yet, there is no escape! You will NEVER get away from that inner voice of conscience that is going to reprove you.

I think a good illustration of that can be found in Genesis 42:21. And they said one to another, We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us. These were Joseph's brothers talking amongst themselves: no one else but they knew anything about their evil deed toward him, but distress had come upon them, and they became terribly troubled. They were currently dealing with the ruler of Egypt, totally unaware that he was, in fact, that brother who they had so greatly wronged.

"I tell you why this distress is come upon us. Look what we did back there. That boy cried for us to let him out of the pit. He cried when we sold him and strangers took him. And we would not hear the cry. That is why we are in trouble today." No man taught them that. It came from right inside. Their conscience could not get the message through before: but there came a time when they were in despair and in a "listening mode"--their conscience then bore the message to them that they had done wrong and could not get by.

Conscience Pursues and Condemns
You canNOT do wrong and get by! Conscience will not allow you. It will sound off sooner or later. Though a man hide himself from the world, he cannot get away from himself,
for his heart will pursue and condemn him. This very fact attests that there is a God.

This fear is found in men of high station, not just the lowly of the earth! We see it in the rulers of government who are exempt from human judgement. Even though they are high above human justice, yet they suffer. You can see them go down, lose weight, go to pieces.

Some of them become so fearful and do not want to wreck their reputation by going to prison, so they take a gun and kill themselves. What causes them to kill themselves? That voice down inside saying, "You are guilty! You are guilty! Even if no one else knows about it, you do and God does!" It becomes unendurable and they end their lives. Conscience has caused millions to commit suicide.

Conscience is not what God allows--it's what you refuse to do!
God has a way to erase your conscience, make it new, make it clean, make it perfect and upright. Yet, when you refuse to go His Way, it can follow your trail so heatedly that you cannot stand it. Individuals that human justice could not touch laid their violent hands upon themselves and destroyed themselves. They did it because they feared a judge and avenger who was calling them to account.

Paul said, Who knowing the judgment of God... (Romans 1:32). By knowing the judgement of God, a witness within their own souls, men are liable to His judgement. It makes no difference how well you get yourself qualified or how well fixed you are financially. You can be the highest potentate in the world, but when God gets ready to deal with you, you are going to break down just like the fellow living in the ghetto, for you are made flesh just like him. You cannot surround yourself with enough money, property, prestige, security or reputation, but that a conscience will whip you to shreds when God gets ready!

The Handwriting of God Condemns The Conscience

Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand. Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein. Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem; and the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them. They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone. In the same hour came forth fingers of a man's hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king's palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote. Daniel 5:1-5.

There sat old Belshazzar. During that big beer party, he had the golden vessels that had been brought from Jerusalem, brought in to drink out of. He just got going good when the handwriting of God appeared on the wall.

The handwriting on the wall is the reason church buildings are not full!
It is the reason undertakers want ten minute services at funerals. Why? The handwriting of God will stir a conscience, whether it is at a funeral, a church service, by the bed of someone dying lost and undone without God--wherever it is.

I do not know what these jelly-backboned preachers who do not have enough intestinal fortitude to raise up against the spirit of this age are going to do at the Judgement! They are responsible for every audience that needed to be troubled, but they bent to the spirit of the age and would not trouble them.

You just might as well mark it down that the farther we go in this world, the more we are going to see a revolution and a rising up against the handwriting of God. People do not want it straight.
It bothers them.

People will pat you on the back if you are the biggest crook there is, but in the face of all that man would applaud you, if God has a handwriting against you and you get around where the truth is poured out, you will do just what countless others have done: you will become angry. On the way home, you will tell your wife that she must have called the preacher and told him everything you had done. No, she did not call the preacher. God has YOUR number!
He has the handwriting against you. That's [supposed to be] one of the reasons we gather together in church services: to hear what God has to say about us.

If you had been in Babylon that night, the people would have said, "This is great! This is wonderful! We have unity." The king was pleased. The queen was pleased. All the officers and those in attendance were pleased--except for one:
God. God was NOT pleased. That king had a conscience and all his reputation and all his power did not shield him. He had drowned his conscience, pushed it under and held it down, but when God gets ready to speak, there are not enough devils in hell and out of hell to shield one from hearing the voice of God through his or her conscience. Yes, just about the time old Belshazzar was at the height of his glory and prestige, he looked up on that wall and saw, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN
.

Then the king's countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another. The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers... Daniel 5:6,7. The Bible says the king's countenance changed--he grew pale with fear. Up until then, he'd laughed and been having a big time, but then his knees knocked together and his legs gave 'way beneath him. As soon as he could find his voice, he cried out, "Bring in the fortune-tellers, bring in the soothsayers--bring me SOMEBODY who can tell me what this means!" This is the power of conscience. This is why people's countenances change under the preaching of God's Word.

They blame it on the preacher and the way he says it, but it is NOT the way the preacher is working on them. It is the way their conscience is working on them that changes their countenance. Belshazzar went from the gallery of glee to the depths of despair in a mere few seconds of time. Conscience is powerful when it can change your whole being and quickly take you from a place of great rejoicing to a place of great fear.

Belshazzar was the ruling king and he was not afraid of any man, but when the handwriting came, his knees smote together and he lost control of his body. The queen tried to quiet his fears and reassure him, but it was too serious a matter for him to be easily calmed. When God gets around to dealing with the conscience, the rest of the people can say, "Let's start the party right back up where we were interrupted," but there will be no party left in you. God will put an end to the party. Oh yes, the king commanded that the astrologers be brought in--he wanted someone to tell him what it meant.

Then the queen reminded him, "There is a man with an excellent spirit; he is a doubt-dissolver." The king had Daniel brought in.

Daniel was very different than the preachers of today: he was no jelly-backboned preacher! He told the king what the handwriting said: "You are weighed in God's balances and found wanting. The kingdom is taken away from you." Old King Belshazzar had played TOO long!

Conscience is a court that is always in session and there is a judge sitting on that court that cannot be bribed.
The nearest thing in the world to the Judgement Bar of God is the court of conscience. The court of conscience in your heart coincides one hundred percent with the same judgement you will meet at the Judgement Bar of God.

Though conscience be drugged in partial apathy or intoxicated with worldly pleasure, the time comes when this court calls you to its bar. Every transgressor is called in, sooner or later. It is God's ordained plan, for without it you would never find salvation, and without it you will never make Heaven your home. You must be called "before the Bar" where you conscience is awakened and the handwriting of God is made plain against your soul.

Conscience Can Become Unbearable
Wherever we go, conscience accompanies us.It can be the best friend we have or it can be the worst enemy. The real problems of many where there is sadness in homes is just somebody that is being stirred down inside by a conscience and cannot please himself or anyone else, and nobody pleases him. Much of the peace of mind and the liberty of the spirit rests on the favorable witness of the conscience. You have to have a clear message from conscience to be really free in spirit.

When the gnawings of conscience are intensified, they become unendurable, and man cannot stand them. ...Cain said unto the Lord, My punishment is greater than I can bear. (Genesis 4:13). What was his punishment? God had not done to thing to him yet. No one had bothered him, but his punishment was greater than he could bear. The punishment was that which was sounding off inside: "You have killed your brother! You have killed your brother!"

A guilty conscience becomes unendurable. Consider Judas, who sold the Master. Jesus did not do anything but tenderly look at him and tell him to go ahead and do quickly what he was going to do. No one misused Judas. No one laid a finger on him or threw a stone at him. But his punishment was unbearable. He could not stand it, so he hanged himself.

Doctors say that a great percentage of nervous breakdowns and even some illnesses are nothing other than people having trouble on their minds--things they need to straighten out. One doctor I know would scare people nearly to death. They would come to him with a nervous breakdown, and all at once he would jump at them and say, "What you got covered? Now you have something covered in your life. I have checked you from head to foot. There is nothing organically wrong with you. You have something troubling you!" You can go through the worst sick spell you ever had trying to hold down a conscience that is sounding off against you.

The gnawing conscience will become so unbearable that you will get a real foretaste of the eternal torment of hell right here on Earth. David said, The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow. Psalm 116:3. In Psalm 32, he said he sweat till he had no more sweat. No one bothered him! He was king! No one could put him in jail. Why was he troubled so? Why did the torments of hell take hold of him? Because his conscience was speaking: "You took a man's wife. You killed the man. You took a man's wife. You killed the man."

Conscience is something every one of us has. What is the use of being deceptive about it? You are deceptive when you say that sinful things do not bother you. Quit your lying! No one EVER did wrong and got by with it! You are troubled like any other person. God fashioned our hearts all alike and gave us all the same kind of conscience in that sense.

 


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