Is Conscience Safe?

Scripture: Proverbs 16:25, Isaiah 55:6-9, Haggai 1:5
Is your conscience a safe guide to follow? Can we always rely on our own inner sense to lead us in the right way? Not according to the Bible. We need more help outside of ourselves. Jesus provides the help we need. We must "consider our ways". The natural inclination of the heart is not right.
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Today I wish to ask you a question. Is your conscience, that inner voice which speaks to you, a guide that is safe to follow? What of the man who feels that what is right and what is wrong can be determined by how his inner self feels about it? Some time ago the newspaper carried the account of a Puerto Rican in New York who purchased a ticket for a visit to his island home, went out and boarded the plane, and found himself in Gander, Newfoundland, the first stop of the flight to Europe. He was "sure" that he was on the right plane, but Pan American had to return him to New York, and get him on the right plane before he reached his destination. Again I ask, is your conscience a safe guide? Listen to God's Word and you will find the answer: "There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." Proverbs 16:25.

It is crystal clear that I cannot depend on conscience alone, and in view of this fact, God has a very special message for us. He invites you to "Seek ... the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near." Isaiah 55:6. Apparently there is coming a time when it will be too late, and He will not be found. "Let the wicked forsake his way" he continues, "and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord ... for he will abundantly pardon." Verse 7. Here, and only here, will we really find the right way, for He continues, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." Verses 8, 9.

The hardest man in the world for God to reach is not the hardened sinner, but it is the man who feels he is just as good as the next fellow. He measures himself by his neighbor, he compares himself with the other man, and in self-righteousness decides there is nothing more that he needs. Such self-deception is the most dangerous, for it blinds him to his true condition. It is only as he compares himself with the perfect Christ that his own need becomes apparent! Never forget, Jesus is your pattern. It is the Master alone, that we are to measure ourselves by, and only then will our need of change become crystal clear to us.

How true is the need, and clear the invitation of the Master, "Consider your ways." Haggai 1:5. He has told us that our ways are widely different from His ways, and just how different they are will become apparent as we proceed.

The Lord says, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." 1 John 2:15. The way of the world, the natural inclination of the heart is to compromise, to go with the crowd, to drift along through life. But there is a vital reason why we must not place our affections on the things of the world. Listen as God continues, "And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever." Verse 17. It is obedience that counts with God. It is only the obedient who will "abide forever."

Verbal professions of loyalty to God are not enough. In fact, they mean nothing unless they are backed up with obedience to Him. I have heard many say, "I am saved" or "I accepted Christ" and if they had not told you, you would not have known it!

"Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?" Romans 6:16. Far too many who claim to follow the Master are disobedient to Him. It is not the one who claims Him as Master that will be saved, "but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." Matthew 7:21. A miracle performed in the name of Jesus, unless accompanied by obedience is a work of iniquity for it leads to deception. Always be ready when truth is brought to you, to examine and then follow it. God cleanses from defilement, He will not condone sin in any way, shape or form! It is here that the nominal Christian loses the point of the gospel, it is the "power of God unto salvation" not merely the "whitewash" of the old life. It must be a new experience in Christ Jesus with a complete change in actions.

Therefore, all need to make a careful study of the revealed will of God. We must learn that His high standards are for us, that we might follow them. Never forget, Jesus did not, I repeat, did not come to save sinners. He came to make saints out of them and then save them! He became the "author of eternal salvation" only "unto all them that obey him." Hebrews 5:9. He will never save the willful disobedient. Therefore, to know His will is of prime importance. There are three sources where His standards for us are clearly shown. Let us notice them together.

1. The pattern of Christ. His life is a safe pattern to follow. We can with confidence, walk as He walked. He shows you how to keep the Sabbath to the glory of God. His ministrations to others, and interest in them should be our attitude to others. His patience, His kindness is an example to us. "He that saith, he (Jesus) abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked." 1 John 2:6.

2. The divine Law of God. Here is God's great mirror that reflects His perfect character. "The law of the Lord is perfect" said the Psalmist. Psalm 19:7. "I had not known sin, but by the law" said Paul. Romans 7:7. It defines what sin is for us, and the violation of any of its precepts is sin (James 2:10-12). To ignore any one of its precepts, is to ignore light and truth.

3. The Holy Word of God. Within the confines of your Bible is to be found a powerhouse of resources. There is power there to completely change your life-if you let it. "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever." 1 Peter 1:23. A study of these sources will reveal His will for you.

One cannot walk with Jesus without having his life changed. He it is who takes you from the lower (your own way) to the upper (His own way) and puts you on the highway to eternal life and happiness. He it is who will show you a way of self-denial, and self-abnegation, a way of true humility. Then it is the proud heart becomes less sensitive. (Psalm 119:165).

Within the Bible you will find broad principles to walk by, and God gives you the intelligence to apply those principles. Ask yourself how your practice fits into this statement, "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31. The Bible does not say, "Thou shalt not smoke." They did not acquire this habit until more recent times, but it does say, "Thou shalt not kill," and whether death is by degrees or instantaneous, it is still sin!

Never forget this text, underline it, memorize it, make it verily a part of your life! Use it to measure, to weigh, to check everything you allow to pass into your mind! Listen, "... whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, ... pure ... lovely ... of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." Philippians 4:8.

Here is your yardstick for the books you read, the music you hear, the recreation you follow, the places you go, the TV programs you watch, the radio programs you listen to! Ask yourself, is it true? That book, is it a novel, a fabrication of some fertile brain? Is it honest, is it of good report, uplifting? Take the movie screen today, to find that which is true is like hunting for a needle in a haystack. The Spectator of Boston calls it "... a menace to the growing population ... aims its products at those of low tastes. ..." The moral fiber of Americans is revealed today by what they fill their minds with, and it is not a pretty picture. God clearly states what will be the end of those who "make" fiction and those who "love" it. They will be outside of the Holy City (Revelation 22:15) for God only deals with the true and lovely. Take music today. It either appeals to the higher or the lower nature. It either draws you heavenward or down to the sensual. "Wherefore come out ... and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing." 2 Corinthians 6:17.

God's plan is not to "whitewash" your sins, not to cover them with a cloak of righteousness. "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed" for this is the power of the gospel that is available to you. Romans 12:2. He changes our actions, our words, our likes and our dislikes, yes, He even tells you that you cannot dress as you please! The child of God will dress as God pleases. "Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart." 1 Peter 3:3, 4. Dressing for display, for show is foreign to the gospel of Christ, and the reason is obvious. The Christian is in this world to attract attention to the Master, not to himself. Far too many who claim to be Christians dress to attract attention to self, and others cannot even get a glimpse of the Master. Outward display is foreign to the principles of the gospel. "In like manner also, that woman adorn themselves in modest apparel, ... not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array." 1 Timothy 2:9. Even the lowly pearl, what then of the most flashing jewels? In Revelation 21 and 22, God tells us where the gold and jewels belong, but for His children today, He tells us that we are to dress with dignity and modesty, that our consecrated lives might draw others to our Master, not to ourselves. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away ... ." 2 Corinthians 5:17.

The thrilling thing is that everything about us is to be new! It changes us completely, and why should that not be so? Remember our opening text, "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:9. He lifts us to a completely new plane of living! Now I ask again, is your conscience a safe guide? It wasn't before, but now it is, for like a clock, it has been set in harmony with the Bible, and it has been wound by the Holy Spirit! Now it speaks to us with the ring of truth, for it is in tune with the Master.

My friend, let him show you His ways, for time has just about run its course. Don't put it off, for it could well mean your eternal destiny. Jesus never comes to save the willful sinner! He says, "... if we walk in the light ... the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." 1 John 1:7.

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