Class Notes: 11/13/2022
The book of Romans part 90; Rom 2:5; The doctrine of the heart part 6
In our verse by verse study of Romans we finished Rom 2:5. Our expanded translation is "Because of your hardness and unrepentant heart, you store up and accumulate for yourself wrath against the day of wrath, even disclosure of just judgment from the God."
The words translated heart, hardness, unrepentant, and judgment in this verse brought up some doctrines to look at and we are presently looking at the doctrine of the heart.
At the moment we are looking at the compartments of the heart and last time we started discussing the conscience.
We noted that the Greek word "suneidesis" means "to know with." The Latin translation is "conscientia" that means joint knowledge or knowledge as a standard of reference.
The conscience is divided into two parts. There is a place for the norms and standards that are developed from Bible doctrine and a place where carnal cosmic norms and standards developed from the world and the old sin nature.
Unless the conscience is seared, the decisions a person makes are generally aligned with the norms and standards that have been programmed into their conscience from the culture they grew up in.
If the decisions are based on doctrinal norms and standards, then the decisions are good decisions made from a position of power. In this case the conscience extrapolates the norms and standards for life from Bible doctrine.
This means that knowledge is required for the norms and standards of the conscience to be developed. The knowledge that is in the heart becomes a part of the person's norms and standards.
If decisions are based on carnal cosmic norms and standards, then the decisions that are made will be poor decisions made from a position of weakness.
Norms and standards are developed from vocabulary and recall. The conscience is built on a vocabulary that begins with the word "no."
All consciences are initially built with negative words that forbid doing something. So the conscience of man is first established by negatives, although eventually there are explanations in terms of both negatives and positives.
This means that the conscience becomes the residency of the priorities of your soul. This is the decision process that is described in Dan 1:8. Daniel's conscience was programmed by the Jewish culture so he rejected the norms and standards of the Caldean culture.
Rom 2:14-15; "The law printed (written) in your hearts their conscience confirming the testimony and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending themselves."
Once norms and standards are developed in the conscience the person orients to the conscience to rapidly determine whether something is right or wrong for them to do.
The conscience is the heart's storage compartment for norms and standards and priorities in life are cataloged for rapid recall and application, Rom 9:1; Rom 13:5; 1Cor 8:7; 2Cor 4:2; 2Cor 5:11; Titus 1:15; Heb 9:14.
All normal people have norms and standards that are located in the heart of the mentality of the soul. From these norms and standards come each person's priorities and scale of values in life that become the basis of their decision making.
False standards in the conscience can cause spiritual weaknesses. 1Cor 8:7, "Not all men have this knowledge (about food offered to idols), but some being accustomed to idol worship until now (when saved) eat the food as if it were sacrificed to idols, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled."
Some of the highest quality food in Corinth was being offered to idols and then sold as the choicest meat in the temple market. Food is food and meat is meat. So it was fine to eat that food, once God had sanctified it on the basis of the believer's prayer.
But for those with a legalistic religious background and a weak conscience, eating food offered to idols was very offensive. The one with the weak conscience had legalistic norms and standards in his conscience from his culture's religion.
This creates a conflict between those with a strong conscience and those with a weak conscience. A strong conscience has accurate Biblical standards derived from "epignosis" and "Sophia."
A weak conscience lives by standards acquired from its background, that may or may not be accurate, or that may be distorted in the spiritual life. Eating is a physical issue so it has nothing to do with the spiritual life of the Church Age.
The person with the weak conscience assumes he's strong, because legalism always assumes it is strong. The reality is that legalism is really very weak because it is inflexible and therefore intolerant.
This menas that the conscience is a very sensitive thing. Apart from doctrine it can be erroneous in its concepts. If doctrine does not feed the conscience, instinct will. And instinct develops legalism very easily.
The norms and standards located in the conscience are directed toward both God and man, but primarily toward mankind until you become aware of the existence of God and what He has done for you through Jesus Christ.
Acts 24:16; "In view of this, even I myself keep practicing to always maintain a blameless conscience, both before God and before men."
True strength is to develop your standards toward both God and man from doctrinal Biblical standards.
The believer's conscience is supposed to be formed from the PMA of Bible doctrine. 2Cor 4:2; "But we have renounced the things hidden because of shame (false doctrine and apostasy), not walking in craftiness, not adulterating the Word of God, but by the unveiling of doctrine (post- salvation renovation of the thinking), commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God."
This passage tells us that there is a legitimate function that goes with the spiritual life. You will build up norms and standards related to it from Bible doctrine, and at the same time false norms and standards related to legalism are removed.
The believer's conscience demands that he submit to establishment authority. Rom 13:5; "Therefore, it is necessary to be in subordination, not only because of wrath (law enforcement), but also for conscience sake."
This means that the Christian doesn't refrain from criminal activity because he's afraid of going to jail, but because, with a strong conscience, his norms and standards refuse to let him even consider any criminal activity because the conscience in the heart is far stronger than any fear of punishment from law enforcement.
Conscience as a motivator is mentioned in 2 Tim 1:3; "I thank God whom I serve with a clear conscience, the way my ancestors did, as I constantly remember you in my prayers, day and night."
So your conscience has something to do with your effectiveness in prayer. Paul's conscience demanded that he pray for certain people, and he did so. Paul didn't pray for people because he liked them, but for conscience sake,that is the strongest motivation possible.
Since the conscience is located in the heart, right lobe of the soul, the norms and standards of the conscience are to be built on "epignosis" doctrine, not on "gnosis" doctrine.
The conscience is also related to unjust and unfair treatment, 1 Pet 2:18-19;
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