1 John 3: Christian Conscience
There is a lot has been said recently in the news about the importance of Christian conscience. 1 John 3 reminds us that conscience is important, but there is a higher authority than that.
1Jn 3:19 And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.
1Jn 3:20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.
1Jn 3:21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.
I think that all of us have had that feeling that something is just wrong. We don’t know why, but our consciences start to work on us. We obviously have two options at that point. We can try to suppress it and continue anyway, or we can stop doing what we’re doing because we are not comfortable with it. The options are rather straightforward, but we all have decisions to make.
John makes a very good point here. If we intuitively know that something is wrong but continue doing it, how much more then does God know that we have done something wrong? Remember that sins are deliberate actions that we take against God. Therefore, if we feel like we are deliberately doing something that is going against God, the obvious question is why would we want to do that?
If we are truly living in such a way that we are following Christ trying to discern His will in all things, then these intuitions are powerful. This is not talking about justifying our sins. After all, there are many people in the world who say they are Christians, but they justify things which are totally contrary to the word of God. Drunkenness is a rather obvious example. Alcohol use for Christians is obviously a debate, and I don’t really want to go there. However, it seems rather straightforward that we are never to consume to an excess. We can justify our own behavior on that, but that is not what John is talking about here. Even though we might feel fine about it, we are simply suppressing condemnation.
We have been given a conscience for reason, and it seems that as Christians, we need to take our Christian convictions and consciences very seriously.