Ben Reaoch | Category: The Christian Life
This is the final post in a series on the Conscience:
See Conscience Part 1: Definition here.
See Conscience Part 2: Discretion here.
See Conscience Part 3: Discretion, cont'd here.
A third implication here is that we should all seek to educate our conscience. John Stott, in his commentary on Romans, observes that “alongside this explicit instruction not to violate our conscience, there is an implicit requirement to educate it.”(Stott, Romans, page 368). We have seen Paul’s comments that all things are clean. He adds to that in the second half of verse 22, “Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves.”
There is blessing in having a conscience that is increasingly informed by God’s Word and increasingly aware of our Christ-bought liberties. This takes time, though. It’s not going to happen all at once. And it’s never going to happen perfectly in this life. So as we think about our own conscience and the conscience of other believers around us, let’s realize that this is going to be a process that requires much patience and sensitivity. It’s not that we can read one article or have one conversation, and then we “get it.” It’s going to be an ongoing development of having a conscience that is enlightened by Scripture.
I have an aunt and uncle who live in Idaho. And my uncle, in his retirement, has taken up the hobby of boat building. He has completed one boat and is now working on a second. I thought of him this week because I remembered him describing the process of forming the side boards of the boat to fit the frame. I wrote him this week to ask more about it. He said that he actually uses already pliable planks. But there is a process that many use which requires a steam box. You take the plank, which is rigid, and you steam it for a period of time. Then it’s sufficiently pliable to fasten to the frame of the boat and it cools and hardens in its new shape.
I think of that as a good picture of how the Christian conscience needs to be formed. If an insensitive Christian tries to bend the rigid board of a weak believer’s conscience, it may very well break. But through Bible reading and prayer and mentoring by godly individuals, the conscience will, over time, become more aligned with God’s design.
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