Class Notes: 12/6/2015
Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8; The doctrine of witnessing part 33
In our study of the doctrine of witnessing Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8; we are examining the doctrines that undergird the gospel so that we can understand how and why it is God alone who made it possible for our so great salvation exclusively by grace through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. Eph 2:8-9;
Last time we completed our study on the Holy Spirit's grace ministry for the unbeliever and noted that after salvation His grace ministry continues in the believer through His indwelling, filling and teaching ministries that establish the believer a member of God's Royal Family and enables the believer to learn and use God's Word that comprises the thinking of Jesus Christ. 1Cor 2:16;
As members of God's Royal family all believers are given the mission to conduct themselves in compliance with God's Word under the filling ministry of God the Holy Spirit; 2Cor 3:3; 1Pet 3:15-17; NET
Believers are only able to comply with this mandate after they have allowed themselves to be humbled under God's mighty hand by submitting themselves to God's authority by being consistently filled with the Spirit and the communication with God's Word to the point where they have acquired capacity to fulfill God's mission. 1Pet 5:6; Heb 10:25;
This is where the believer's conscience comes into view because the conscience is where the norms and standards for the regulation of one's life are programmed. The conscience is what is used to bring the believer's life into compliance with God's Word. Heb 10:22; Eph 5:26; This brings us to a brief study of the doctrine of the conscience.
The Greek word translated conscience is "suneidesis", that means to know with a norm or standard. To have a norm or standard and be aware of that norm or standard in one's thinking, motivation, decision making and action.
The English word conscience comes from the transliteration of the Latin word "conscientia" that means combined knowledge; it means to know from a predetermined standard of reference. In the Old Testament there is no discussion of the function of the conscience in this manner so these principles are part of God's protocol plan that focuses on the thinking.
The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament defines "suneidesis as, "percipient and active self-awareness that is threatened at its heart by the disjunction of acknowledgement and perception, knowing and doing, and judgment and action."
Conscience is therefore the mental faculty whereby one distinguishes between right and wrong and that motivates the individual to do what he recognizes to be right and to restrain him from doing what he recognizes to be wrong.
The conscience is a sense or awareness in the right lobe of the soul related to the moral or spiritual goodness of one's thoughts, motives, decisions, and actions. The conscience is therefore a faculty, a power, or a principle that is conceived to determine the quality of one's thoughts, intentions, decisions, and actions.
The conscience regulates but for it to regulate properly it must be properly calibrated with God's Word. Rom 12:3; Eph 4:13; Calibration comes from the "metron" or "standard of thinking" from doctrine (faith).
In the conscience of the believer, the norms, standards, and priorities must originate from Bible doctrine because conscience stores the norms, standards, priorities, and values for life. The conscience is the place for the norms and standards that are developed from Bible doctrine so the only thing that makes a Christian conscience work properly is Bible doctrine.
The conscience extrapolates norms and standards for life from what it believes regardless of weather it comes from God's Word of truth or satan's lies and deceit. This means that to have a conscience you have to believe something because standards are developed from what you believe. For good or evil whatever you learn and believe in the right lobe of the soul becomes a part of your norms and standards.
The establishment of norms and standards in the conscience requires the development of vocabulary and thought. The conscience must be built on a vocabulary that begins with the word: "no," the two year olds favorite word, because the conscience begins to develop around the age of two.
Consciences are initially built with prohibitions that forbid doing certain things. Negatives are normally established first even though eventually there are mandates given in both positive and negative terms. The first example of this is found in Gen 2:16-17;
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