ART 27 - A GOOD CONSCIENCE
- 1 Timothy 1:5 – Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.
How can we who are sinners have a good conscience before a holy and righteous God? Self-righteous religion teaches men and women that they can have a good conscience before God based on efforts to obey and to be holy. Although true believers should do their best in these areas, our efforts in these areas cannot be the source of a good conscience before a holy God. Just as our works and efforts to be holy fall short of God's perfect requirement and, thus, are not good enough to sanctify us or entitle us to any part of salvation, they are not good enough to cleanse our consciences. How then can our consciences be cleansed? Consider the following – How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Heb. 9:14). And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. (Heb. 10:21-22).
The conscience can only be truly cleansed and made good BY THE BLOOD OF CHRIST; i.e., by seeing and believing that HIS blood alone, not our works and efforts, but HIS blood totally removes the guilt and defilement of sin. The conscience is purged by faith. When a sinner understands and believes that Christ's righteousness alone enables a holy God to justify him and still remain holy, and that Christ's righteousness alone merits for him all of Heaven, then that sinner can come with a good conscience into the very presence of a holy God. His conscience has been purged, cleansed, "from dead works," from any notion that anything other than the righteousness of Christ will merit for him God's favor and all the blessings of grace. His heart has been "sprinkled from an evil conscience." An evil conscience is a legal conscience, one that imagines salvation, or some part of it (that entitlement to God's presence and Heaven itself) is based on something the sinner does or abstains from doing, anything other than the blood and righteousness of Christ alone.