Class Notes: 2/2/2023
The book of Romans part 110; Rom 2:15; Doctrine of the Conscience part 2
In our verse by verse study of Romans last time we finished Rom 2:15; with the expanded translation "The very ones who demonstrate the accomplishment of the law written in their hearts, their conscience confirming the testimony, in fact their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending themselves;)"
This brought us to the doctrine of the conscience where last time we noted that the conscience extrapolates from doctrine the norms and standards for life. You have to know something to have a conscience.
When you know something you develop standards. Whatever you think becomes a part of your norms and standards.
You must have vocabulary and thought to establish norms and standards. The conscience must be built on a vocabulary that starts with learning one word no.
All consciences begin by being built with negative words that forbid doing something. This means that negatives initially establish mankind's conscience, although eventually there are explanations in both positive and negative terms.
The only possible way for the believer to have a conscience that honors God is to have norms and standards and priorities from God's Word of truth that is contained in Bible doctrine.
Some verses that reference the conscience include: Rom 9:1, Rom 13:5; 1Cor 8:7; 2Cor 4:2; 2Cor 5:11; Titus 1:15; Heb 9:14;
While the Old Testament does not have a specific word that is translated as conscience God's Word does explain how the conscience worked in the Old Testament.
We see this in our passage Rom 2:14-15; "The law written in your hearts, their conscience confirming the testimony and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending themselves."
All normal people develop some form of norms, standards, priorities, and concepts for life in the thinking of their soul. Believers develop norms, standards, and priorities in their thinking that is based on absolute truth through persistent, consistent perception, metabolization, and application of Bible doctrine.
An Old Testament example of this is found in Dan 1:8;
The Conscience is the most basic attribute of the soul related to self-consciousness; it is located in the heart aka the right lobe of the soul.
It is where the norms and standards that you have learned related to everything are maintained. These standards set up your own personal honor code. If you are going to have freedom, privacy and property these standards must recognize legitimate authority.
Everyone has a system of norms in their conscience. It is the basis of the honor and integrity that you may have. This would include making and keeping promises, not reneging on obligations, and it is the basis for males becoming gentlemen and females becoming ladies.
Honor is more important than anything else in life. A society without standards is no society at all. The Roman Empire destroyed itself because it rejected its own standards and the better standards of Christianity.
The USA is doing the same thing at this time with the demonic lies of critical race theory and wokeism that allege that absolute truth is an artifact of 'white privilege." Nothing could be farther from the truth.
If you are a believer in Jesus Christ you were born again into a spiritual aristocracy of privilege and honor. This means that you have to develop new standards.
Your first standard should be recognition of legitimate authority, so that all of us may have freedom under the laws of Divine establishment.
People have the right to learn their own standards and make their own decisions but your standards don't make you spiritual or advance you to spiritual maturity only God's standards that are based on absolute truth do.
No one has the right to superimpose their standards on anyone else. Privacy means you are allowed to hold any opinion until you grow up spiritually. You have the privacy to take in doctrine without anyone setting standards for you.
As you learn doctrine your norms and standards will change. At every stage of spiritual growth you have a consolidated conscience so that you regulate your own life on the basis of your own standards.
False standards from legalism produce a weak conscience. 1Cor 8:7; "Not all men have this knowledge (about food offered to idols), but some being accustomed to idol worship until now (after salvation) eat the food as if it were sacrificed to idols, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled."
Some of the best food in Corinth had been offered to idols and then sold as the choicest meat in the temple market. Food is food and meat is meat. So it was all right to eat that food, once you sanctified it.
But for those with an idolatrous background and a weak conscience, eating food offered to idols was very offensive. The ones with a weak conscience had legalistic norms and standards in their conscience from their legalistic ascetic religious background.
So there is a conflict between those with a strong conscience and those with a weak conscience. A strong conscience has Biblical standards from metabolized doctrine. A weak conscience lives by standards acquired from its background, that may or may not be good, or may be distorted.
The food one eats is a physical issue, and has nothing to do with the spiritual life.
Those with a weak conscience assume they are strong, because legalism always assumes it is strong. Yet legalism is really very weak because it is easily offended. The invasion of guilt into the conscience is one of the biggest problems in legalism because guilt becomes evil motivation for legalistic believers.
So the conscience is a very sensitive thing. Without doctrine it can be erroneous in its concepts. If doctrine does not feed the conscience, instinct will. And instinct rapidly develops legalism because it has no grace orientation.
We see from this that guilt is an indication of a weak conscience.
Paul had a balanced conscience regarding establishment and the principles of Bible doctrine, or theology. 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.
Acts 23:1; "Then Paul, looking intently at the Sanhedrin, said, `Brethren, I have conducted myself as a citizen with a good conscience before God up to this day.'"
Acts 24:16; "In view of this, even I myself keep on practicing to maintain even a blameless conscience, both before God and before men."
In order to have a blameless conscience you must have a balanced conscience that has the proper norms and standards related to both God and man.
Paul had two sets of norms and standards from Bible doctrine. He had one set related to God and one set related to man. True strength is to develop your standards toward both God and man from the Biblical standards of God's absolute Word of truth.
Paul's conscience before God originated from the mystery doctrine of the Church Age. His conscience before people originated from the Mosaic Law combined with what he had learned related to Bible doctrine of the Church Age.
Believers who are functioning in the categories of extended carnality from living in satan's cosmic systems destroy their conscience and become sucked into Christian degeneracy. This is why the USA is declining.
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