The Holy Spirit or my conscience?

Each and everyone has a conscience. It is the reason why people often say, “Something told me ”.   We were born with it, and we grow with it. Conscience is that part of a human being that is morally aware. It condones or excuses our actions. It makes us judgmental, leading to either commendation or condemnation of ourselves or others-Romans 2:14-15.

Human beings are spirit beings. We have a soul, and we live in a body.  Conscience is an intangible aspect of man, including the soul, mind, and emotions.  It is an evaluative instinct. In ( Proverbs 20:27 AMP), conscience is man’s spirit and God’s lamp. 

But conscience should not be confused with the Holy Spirit who resides in those who are saved through  Jesus Christ -Luke 3:16. The comprehensive role of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer is outlined in John 14:16-17 and 14:26. The Holy Spirit also convicts the world  (the unbeliever) concerning sin-John 16:8-11.

Conscience in the Bible

Many scriptures in the Bible mention conscience, confirming that even as a believer who has the Holy Spirit, your conscience will still be very active.  Our conscience does not leave us because we have been born again. It continually informs our decisions daily as we either listen to or ignore them. It is the inner voice that tells us what to do and what not to do

 In 1 Timothy 1:5, Paul reminds us that a good conscience plus faith produces genuine love.

In 2 Corinthians 1:12,  we discovered that our conscience could testify to our good conduct. 

Distinguishing genuine and fake Christians, Titus 1:15-16 reveals,  that conscience can be corrupted. Because of its flesh component, the conscience is prone to deception -1 Timothy 4:2. Meanwhile, Hebrews 10:22 mentions an evil conscience. 

In Acts 24:16, we read of Paul striving to have a clear conscience as Peter encourages each and everyone to have a clear conscience even  when we are being falsely accused in 1 Peter 3:16-17

But it is not only Christians who strive to have a clean conscience. Unbelievers seek a clear conscience too.   Conscience is why those who don’t have faith in Jesus Christ still live morally upright lives and choose to do good instead of evil. It causes people to regret or defend their actions. It is the early warning system for every human being including children. Those who usually defended their heinous crimes are often thought of as having no conscience, but in reality, it is a choice they’ve made.

Ignoring your conscience as a believer can shipwreck your faith -1 Timothy 1:19. The Bible also speaks of a seared conscience in 1 Timothy 4:1-2 as God draws our attention to deceiving spirits.  Craving for attention and seeking to settle scores, they teach hypocritical lies. 

The Holy Spirit our Helper

Conscience serves our fleshly desires, despite its important role. Our conscience is part of the flesh that wages war with the Holy Spirit-Galatians 5:17. Though it helps us to be good people, conscience does not save anyone otherwise there would have been no need for Jesus Christ to die -John 3:16.

But believers have a helper in the Holy Spirit and best yet, the blood of Jesus Christ cleans or purges our conscience -Hebrews 9:14.  As a born-again Christian, your body is home to two spirits- your spirit and the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:16 confirms that the Holy Spirit bears witness to our spirit.  It’s the Holy Spirit who guides us into all truth -John 16:13 and in Romans 9:1 (NKJV), Paul is convinced that the Holy Spirit would confirm truth guided by conscience.  But our struggle is largely caused by factors that influence our conscience including our senses, emotions, thoughts, circumstances, personal experiences, and the environment.  Thus, we can mistake the voice of our conscience for the voice of the Holy Spirit.  

A personal relationship with the Holy Spirit is a sure way to know His voice so you can distinguish between the voice of the Holy Spirit and other voices. While the voice of the Holy Spirit aligns with the will and word of God, our conscience aims at pleasing the flesh.  

Wrongly attributing our conscience to the Holy Spirit may present the Spirit of Truth as an author of confusion, especially in situations where two people claiming “the Holy Spirit told me” contradict each other on the same subject. 

So, the next time you replace “something told me “ with the “Holy Spirit told me “, be certain it is the Holy Spirit. To hear his voice, you must know Him – John 10:27, John 16:13-15.

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