A Guilty Conscience
by Beth Moore
Life Today Weekly Devotional
Life Today Weekly Devotional
Torment. That's the best word I know to describe the fiery darts of accusation impaled in the bull's-eye of the unrelieved conscience. Once we have allowed and believed God to cleanse our consciences, Satan loses the bull's-eye and can only hope to hit a nerve where our pasts are concerned. As long as the conscience is not clear, however, he isn't left to hope. He has a virtual certainty. His drill points straight into the nerve where it hisses unmercifully and exposes us to the agony of unrelenting shame.
What may be news to many theologically (but not experientially) is that we can sincerely confess our sin and even turn from sin yet still die 1000 "deaths" at the stab wounds of a guilty conscience. We can quite possibly and inadvertently take God our confessions for forgiveness but not our consciences for cleansing. In doing so, we leave them unmercifully to the "accuser of the brethren."
A guilty conscience that precedes sincere repentance is the conviction of the Holy Spirit. A guilty conscience following sincere repentance is condemnation that is not coming from God. But until we have settled the matter by faith with Him, our consciences constitute an invitational tournament for the devil.
God is the only one who can purify a conscience that has become a playground for accusation. A cleansed conscience can and should be received at the time of our repentance, but often our unrecognized unbelief blocks reception.
A guilty conscience. What could be more torturous to a believer who has walked with God and enjoyed sweet fellowship? I may not understand much William Shakespeare wrote, but these words are crystal clear:
My conscience hath a thousand several tongues,
And every tongue brings in a several tale,
And every tale condemns me for a villain.
(The Tragedy of King Richard III)
There is no witness so dreadful, no accuser so terrible as the conscience that dwells in the heart of every man. (The Histories)
A troubled conscience respects no one. The unredeemed can certainly still suffer from a guilty conscience, which can often be the work of the Holy Spirit to draw them to repentance and salvation. Sadly, they have no real and lasting remedy without Christ.
Obviously, the lost are not the only ones who can deal with painful consciences. Believers who walk willingly into a season of rebellion can still bear the pangs of a guilty conscience.
If you can imagine the pain of either of the two preceding examples, can you fathom the anguish of those with wholehearted, sincere, and pure devotion to Christ who were seduced into a season of ungodliness? Torment. Until they allow God to deliver them from a guilty conscience, they are the objects of untold torture.
So often our lack of cooperation with God to finish what He started defaults us into an unknown cooperation with the enemy of our souls. Those remain lost will have all of eternity for torment. Satan knows that the only torment you and I will ever receive is that which he deals out to us on this earth. We do not have to cooperate with him. But we do have to cooperate with God if our consciences are going to be free from torment.
Excerpt taken from When Godly People Do Ungodly Things by Beth Moore (Broadman & Holman Publishers, ©2002. Beth teaches on spiritual freedom this week in the series “Get Out Of That Pit.”
When These Things Begin to Come to Pass
Pastor Adrian Rogers
“Therefore I will give thanks unto Thee, O Lord, among the heathen, and I will sing praises unto Thy name.” 2 Samuel 22:50
If we get into an auto accident and come out alive, we typically thank God for sparing our lives. But do you ever just thank God for saving your life as you drove home from work and didn’t have an accident? Isn’t that even better?
I heard a story that poignantly illustrates this. One Sunday a husband and wife heard that a person in their church whose son died on the battlefield gave a significant love offering in his memory. On the way home, the wife asked her husband, “Why don’t we give an offering for our son?”
“Why?” he answered. “Our son wasn’t killed.”
She said, “Don’t you think that’s a good reason?”
What should you do in all things? Whether you are safe or sorry?
For more from Love Worth Finding and Pastor Adrian Rogers, please visit www.lwf.org.