Is Your Conscience Clear?
This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck (1 Timothy 1:18-19, NKJV).
It may surprise you to know that every year the federal government receives hundreds of thousands of dollars, plus items ranging from wrenches to silverware, from citizens with a guilty conscience who have cheated on their income taxes.
In 1811, the U. S. Treasury established what is known as a conscience fund when an anonymous individual mailed the government $5. Since that time, over $4 million has been received from guilt-ridden citizens with a guilty conscience, with donations ranging from a single penny to $139,000, the largest contribution ever recorded in the funds two hundred year existence.
One of the greatest gifts that God has given to man is the gift of conscience. It is one of the things that is uniquely human. Animals don't have a conscience, but people do. But not only has God given us a conscience, He also wants us to have a good conscience.
Paul, in writing to his young protégé Timothy, not only requested that he have a good conscience, but we see in these two verses that he charged him to "Have faith and a good conscience." The word of God tells us why a good conscience is absolutely vital to being right with God, right with others, and right with ourselves.
Now what is the conscience? Well, the conscience is the compass of the soul. It is the watchdog of the heart that barks when something is wrong. The word "conscience" in our English language is a combination of two Latin words: con meaning "together" or "with" and seire meaning "to know." So it literally means "to know with" or "to know together." Conscience is what knows one's self. It knows the inner motives, and it knows the true thoughts. It is that inner knowledge and internal insight that helps me to know myself.
A regular diet of scripture will strengthen a weak conscience, or restrain an overactive conscience. That conscience that judges best is that conscience which judges right, and that conscience which judges right has as its standard, the Word of God. If you want to live with a clear conscience, and die with a cleansed conscience, surrender your heart to the Son of God, submit your life to the Word of God, and your conscience can be your guide all the way to heaven.
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