The Gospel Observer
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the
nations...teaching them to observe all that I commanded you,
and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age"
November 29, 2015
1) Keeping a Pure Conscience (Sean P. Cavender)
2) News & Notes
Keeping a Pure Conscience
by Sean P. Cavender
While standing trial before Felix, the apostle Paul stated that he
had strived to live with a pure conscience before God and men (Acts
24:16). This should be the goal of each and every child of God --
living life with a pure conscience (I Timothy 1:5,19). The
conscience can be a valuable tool for the Christian which gives
personal insight into one's own actions, thoughts and desires.
While the conscience is not authoritative, binding or infallible it
can be helpful. Although your conscience can be mistaken -- no
matter the amount of sincerity shown in any practice -- it can be a
good gauge of one's spiritual status before God and before men.
When one's conscience is alarmed it is because of some area of
weakness or sin which causes one to feel guilty. That feeling of
guilt is the natural result of a wounded conscience -- you are
supposed to feel that way! The trouble is, many people ignore that
feeling of guilt and continue practicing such sin which causes one's
conscience to be hardened or seared over (I Timothy 4:2).
The Conscience Is a Witness
The term conscience is defined as co-knowledge with oneself. The
conscience shares information with yourself by processing your
innermost thoughts, feelings, emotions and desires. The conscience
is able to provide helpful insight into why you are involved in
certain activities or why you react in certain ways to particular
events. It serves as a self-witness.
The conscience can be a witness defending our actions (Romans 2:15).
The apostle Paul said that he had served God with a clear conscience
all of his life even while persecuting Christians (Acts 23:1).
Paul's conscience defended his actions. Paul was convinced he was
doing what God wanted him to do by killing Christians. Therein lies
the key to keeping a pure conscience: performing the will of God.
Now we see in Paul's case that his conscience was wrong. However, we
must teach ourselves what is pleasing to God in order to keep a pure
conscience for we will be judged based on the gospel of Jesus Christ
(Romans 2:16). We cannot determine practice just because we like an
activity, or we think it is right. We must study God's word and
allow that to be the judging factor.
The conscience can also testify against us, accusing us of guilt
(Romans 2:15). When our conscience is telling us we are guilty of
some sin we must eradicate that sin. Ignoring a guilt-bearing
conscience can cause worry, anxiety, festering, turmoil, distress,
grief and anger -- none of which are profitable emotions. Far too
often we ignore these feelings, or we turn to encouraging books, or
complain that we don't get enough encouragement from the preacher,
etc. What people need to do is repent.
The conscience will be judged before God. The terms "heart,"
"conscience," "thoughts" and "secrets" are used interchangeably
(Romans 2:15-16 NASB) and will be judged by God who will bring every
deed into consideration (Ecclesiastes 12:14). The standard that the
conscience will be judged is the gospel. Thus, it is vitally
important to live by that standard in order to keep a pure
The Conscience Is a Weapon
The term justification is a legal term which means to be free of any
guilt. The result of justification is peace with God (Romans 5:1).
Yet this peace can be disrupted by the piercing weapon that the
conscience is. Eliphaz described the conscience as "sounds of
terror" in one's ears and destroying the peace that one enjoys (Job
15:21), which results in distress, anguish and fear (Job 15:24).
What caused the turmoil and fear? Transgressing the commandment of
the Lord (Job 15:25). The conscience is unsheathed when we sin
against God Almighty!
The target of this weapon is the heart. The conscience is used to
convict and bring a knowledge of sin. That conviction of sin should
lead one to repent (Acts 2:37-38). When the weapon has been used and
cuts at the heart it arouses the feeling of guilt. What is the
purpose of the guilt one may feel? It is there to make you repent!
That is the purpose guilt has. Do not ignore the guilt-bearing
The conscience is supposed to feel guilt; it is supposed to be
harmed when one sins. The grief and guilt you feel from a wounded
conscience are natural (Psalm 73:21). Our society tends to think of
guilt as a negative feeling that we should ignore. Do not ignore the
guilt you feel -- its purpose is to cause repentance. To rid your
conscience of guilt you must repent!
The Conscience Is a Warning System
The conscience is intended to sound an alarm when it has been
harmed. The conscience is supposed to be sensitive to sin. In order
for the conscience to be sensitive to sin it must first know what
sin is. We must educate ourselves concerning the law of God. If we
do not read, understand and apply God's law then how can we expect
to know what sin is? All sin must be defined and shown to be
transgression through the Scriptures. We cannot quit preaching
against sin to soothe our conscience because then we will have
untrained consciences that will be given over to sin. Danger also
lies when we become associated with sin, causing one to become
desensitized resulting in indifference (I Timothy 4:1-2).
Indifference will ultimately lead to approval of sinful activities.
Paul warned the Gentiles of judgment for approving sinful activities
with no differentiation between slanderers, gossips, haters of God
and murderers (Romans 1:32). Thus, the warnings to flee and abhor
sin and cleave to what is good (Romans 12:9).
When we find ourselves in situations that cause us to feel
uncomfortable, then our conscience is telling us to flee! However,
if we ignore our conscience we run the risk of losing any
sensitivity we may have to sin.
Pharaoh allowed his heart to be hardened because he ignored God's
glory (Exodus 7:1,3), refused to believe in God (Exodus 7:13), and
was impenitent (Exodus 9:27,35). There is great danger in ignoring
the cries of our guilty conscience.
The Conscience Can Be Made Whole
Even though our conscience may be giving us the warning that we have
sinned, we may take steps in order to clear our conscience. Our
consciences are intended to be pure and whole. How can I maintain a
pure conscience? In order to keep a pure conscience we must follow
through with repentance by doing five steps to clear your
1. Confess and forsake sin (Psalm 32:5; I John 1:9)
2. Ask for forgiveness and be reconciled to those whom
you've wronged (Matthew 5:23,24; 6:14-15)
3. Make restitution (Numbers 5:6-7; Luke 19:8)
4. Don't procrastinate in clearing your wounded conscience
(Acts 24:16; Titus 1:5)
5. Educate your conscience (I Corinthians 8:7,12; Romans
By following these five steps we will strengthen our conscience, our
knowledge and our faith. Repentance is necessary to keeping a pure
Keeping a pure conscience is vital to each Christian's faith (Romans
14:22-23). Knowing that we have maintained a pure conscience, we may
be confident when we appear before the judgment seat of God, knowing
that there is laid up for ourselves a crown of righteousness (II
1. The five steps in order to keep a pure conscience was borrowed
from John MacArthur's book, "The Vanishing Conscience."
-- Via articles from the La Vista church of Christ
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against
the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and
blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the
cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual
forces of evil in the heavenly places."
News & Notes
On November 6, Shirley Davis had fallen while at the
hospital. She was going there for her first antibiotic
treatment to be received through an IV, which was needful for an
infection in her toe. In falling, the right side of her face
hit the wall, putting a gash near her eye and badly bruising her
face. Her right arm was also bruised, and though the soreness
from these injuries have subsided; the pain in her left hip, which
she also landed on, continues about the same as initially; and pain
pills do not give her much relief. She is now housebound, but
receives her IV there and will continue to do so about an hour a day
for six weeks, until December 14.
Let us also continue to remember Danielle Howard in prayer
as she is in the process of having a blood clot dissolved in her
jugular vein. She is now no longer in the hospital for that,
but she is returning regularly and will continue to do so for a few
more weeks, due to her recent kidney transplant.
WordPress version for this bulletin:
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes
(Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24;
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts
5) Be baptized in water for the
remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal.
3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21)
6) Continue in the faith; for, if not, salvation
can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday services: 9:00 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 5 PM
Wednesday: 7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
(Gospel Observer website)