The maturing believer’s conscience is in the process of cleansing and purification. Judging other hypocritically is a sin. Gossips and slanderers are guilty of that sin. Believers are called to be cleansed of that sin.
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according to the promise of life in Christ Jesus,
2 To Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
I am grateful to God, whom I serve with a clear conscience the way my forefathers did, as I unceasingly remember you in my prayers night and day, 4 longing to see you, having remembered your tears, so that I may be filled with joy, 5 being reminded of the unhypocritical faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am convinced that it is in you as well. 6 For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:1-7 (LSB)
People are such illogical creatures. The fallen nature we all inherited from Adam reveals itself at the most maddening of times. Our Christian scholars, ministers, and theologians are not immune. It seems that our lack of humility is Satan’s most valuable tool in defeating us. I have a Blog as part of my writing ministry. I also participate in theological discussions on other Blogs. Some of those discussions can become chaotic situations at times. There are times when the ones contending in these “discussions” become so adamant about their polarized positions that the situation becomes ripe for frustration, anger, and bitterness.
The conscience is part of each of our Spirits. This part of our spirituality condemns us when we violate the “standards” it holds high. It also commends us when we do well as far as those “standards” are concerned. The condemnation it sends into the Soul makes us feel guilty and unfulfilled. The commendations it sends into the Soul leads makes us feel fulfilled. God designed it to condemn us when we are not experiencing His glory. This makes Man religious. Those outside of Christ have no way to contact God’s glory because the Spirit that the conscience is part of is deadened to God. The regenerated believer’s Spirit is not deadened to God. In fact, the Holy Spirit resides there. The believer has the ability to experience God’s glory directly via his or her Spirit; however, only maturing believers have learned to do this consistently. This is covered in detail in my first book, Walking the Walk by Faith.
The conscience’s role in our spiritual walk is huge. The immature Christian’s heart is relatively hard when compared to that of the maturing Christian. When I speak or write about our “hearts,” I am not speaking of the physical muscle in our chests that pumps blood to keep us alive. Instead, I am referring to our spiritual hearts. The “heart” is made up of the Soul and the conscience. When the Bible refers to “hearts of stone” or “hard hearts” it is speaking of a condition where a person has not heeded their conscience as they should resulting in a callous layer of hardness (Romans 2:5) or greasy fat (Psalm 119:70) separating God’s value system, which resides in the conscience, from the Soul.
A hard heart is one that has become defiled and possibly impure. That means, the person with a hard heart is not heeding his or her conscience. In extreme cases, this blatant denying of the conscience will actually sear it. Serial killers are said to have done this.
The Christians who have hard hearts are in trouble. They may be unaware of the danger they are in as well. However, their hard hearts blind them and deafen then from hearing their consciences condemn and blame them about their sinful behavior. With each act of disobedience, their hearts become more and more callous towards God. However, when the believer responds to God’s calling to repent and turn his or her heart back to Him a miracle takes place. God will cut away the callousness from the repentant heart. He will circumcise the repentant heart making His ways, His values, His Law, and the reality of His grace apparent to that believer’s Soul. This enables the Walk by Faith.