Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Do you have a conscience?

A summary of the Bible Hour presentation at the Christadelphian Hall, Blackpool Street, Burton-upon-Trent on Sunday 28th November 2010.

This blog uses Bible references. If you don’t have a Bible, you can find the Bible text online.

What is conscience?If you found a purse in the street, what would you do?

You wouldn’t keep it? Why not? Because of some inner sense or instinct which we call conscience.

Where does conscience come from? Evolution theory tries to explain it in terms of altruism, putting the good of the herd in front of the good of the individual – but this isn’t a satisfactory explanation for all that our conscience makes us do. The Bible says that we are made in the image of God – we have an innate sense of what is right and wrong.

Even people who have no knowledge of God at all have this innate sense (Romans 2:14-15).

The Bible contains a moral teaching which serves to highly tune the conscience, e.g. Leviticus 19:18 “You shall love your neighbour as yourself” and Deuteronomy 22:1-3.

Bible examples of conscience at work

Genesis 3:8, 1 Samuel 24:5, 2 Samuel 24:10, John 8:9.

The Christian conscience

The Christian must obey the laws of the land (Matthew 22:21, Romans 13:1-7). Except where the law of the land conflicts with the law of God (Philippians 3:20, Acts 5:29).

Christadelphians are conscientious objectors to involvement in politics and war:

Matthew 5:39-44, don’t resist evil people; Romans 12:19, don’t avenge yourself.
John 18:36, Jesus said “My kingdom is not of this world, else would my servants fight.” It’s not that Christians are pacifists, but that they have no part in the world’s wars and politics – they belong to the Kingdom of God (Hebrews 11:13).
1 Peter 2:19, it’s commendable to suffer wrongfully for the sake of your conscience.
1 Peter 3:14-16, always be ready to explain your conscience to anyone who asks.

Some questions of conscience for the Christian

 Would you vote?
 Would you get involved in dishonest dealings at work?
 So you might not fight on the front line, but would you work in an ammunition factory?
 Would you undertake a transport contract for the MoD?
 Would you work in an abortion clinic?
 As a teacher, would you tell children about alternative sexual lifestyles?

Strangers and pilgrims

We are citizens of the Kingdom of God (Hebrews 11:13), and waiting for it to be established by Jesus Christ at his return.
The Kingdom of God will be a kingdom of righteousness and truth. Because that is where we belong, we should live according to its laws and principles now.

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