Built into our nature is an internal  judicial system, the conscience that commends us when we do right and condemns us when we do wrong. But this vital monitor of morality does not say the same thing to everyone. In some cultures vengeful killing is seen as honourable. In others, a person is still considered good even when he betrays a friend.

A story from The Philadelphia Inquirer illustrates this problem. A 12 year old boy was caught stealing a watch. He told police that previously he had shoplifted a gift for his mother and he felt he had to do the same for his dad. Although troubled about slighting his father, he had no qualms about stealing.

Because of sin the conscience is unreliable and needs a continual adjustment. This begins with a right relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ. He paid sin’s penalty, and now our hearts are “sprinkled from an evil conscience” (Heb. 10:22). But this does not make conscience obsolete. As we study the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit puts our inner monitor on a frequency that brings us in tune with the words, deeds and attitudes of the Lord Jesus.

‘Let your conscience be your guide’ is valid only if God’s Word is guiding your conscience.

Conscience is like a sundial: when the truth of God shines on it, it points in the right direction.


Dennis J. DeHaan


Our Daily Bread