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What the Bible Says About ... Keeping a Good Conscience

by Betty Miller

Song of Solomon 2:15 says, "Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes."

Foxes sometimes in search of food would enter into the grape orchards and devour the grapes and spoil the crop. However, the little foxes were too small to reach the grape bunches so they would chew on the vines and it would kill the whole vine. Instead of the farmer just losing his crop, he would lose his vine which was more disastrous. Spiritually some things we do or allow that we might think are little or insignificant can also be disastrous for us.

Every man is born with a conscience. It is a gift of God to mankind. However, man can quench his conscience by continually ignoring its voice over a period of time. The result is that his heart becomes hardened and seared so that it no longer speaks to him. How does this happen? Little by little. Just as the "little foxes" spoil the vines, so it happens with men ignoring the voice of their consciences over little things, then bigger things, then nothing evil bothers them at all.

Webster's New World Dictionary defines the conscience as: "a knowledge or sense of right and wrong, with a compulsion to do right; moral judgement that opposes the violation of a previously recognized ethical principle and that leads to feelings of guilt."

God provided a conscience even in unregenerate men to point them toward His principles and ways. All of us, before we are saved would be totally depraved if it were not for this provision of God by His grace. However, the longer people live in sin and carnality, the less the true inward conscience has any authority in their lives. Most of the time, particularly in today's culture, we have developed "false" consciences. These are "programs" in our minds, not our spirits, as to what is right and wrong, and these things (evolution, secularism, humanism, situational ethics, and traditions and doctrines of religious thinking) control what we think is moral and ethical. The world's thinking overrides and drowns out the inner voice of the true conscience that God put within us.

Hebrews 10:22 "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.
23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised
24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works."

Because of the world's ungodly influences, it is very important for a Christian to allow His conscience to be "healed," or renewed, to reflect God's standards which we find in the Bible. That is why Christians cannot be guided by their consciences in most cases. It is much safer to be guided by the Word of God and by witnesses and guidance from the Holy Spirit.

Today we are shocked by the evil acts of men who perform ghastly deeds and show no remorse whatsoever. We ask, "How can they do such things?" When the conscience is seared -- burned out by constantly going against its nudgings -- then men become like animals in their behavior. The Bible speaks of this in the following verses.

1 Timothy 4:1-2: "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron."

This also happened in ancient times, according to Paul's letter to the church at Rome (Romans 1). After a certain period of time, God will give someone with a seared or evil conscience "over to a reprobate mind." That means the mind cannot be renewed, because the person has for so long chosen self-ways (which really are Satan's ways) over God's that it is not possible for them to change. This should be a warning for all who persist in sin.

Romans 1:28-32: "And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them."

When we give our lives to the Lord, He begins a work in our hearts and minds and brings healing and enlightenment to the conscience.When a Christian's conscience is renewed, it will not condemn them. When a Christian's mind is renewed, it will not think carnal, self-centered thoughts. When a Christian's emotions are renewed, they will no longer be negative. When a Christian's will is renewed and submitted to God, he will no longer choose against God's ways.

This happens on the positive just the way it does on the negative side. Our little choices to obey God and live by His Word day by day will eventually bring the changes in our lives that will cause us to be more like our Lord. While on the other side, those choices to ignore the conscience and go ahead and disobey God will bring about a hardened and unrepentant heart. We are warned against allowing this to happen. Do not allow this "little fox" of small disobedience choices to gradually harden your heart.

Hebrews 3:13-17: "But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;
15 While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.
16 For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.
17 But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness?"
Great study guide Chad . Many cannot stand to hear their own conscience without Christ . We must pray for the harvest . Mike
The Bible is so wonderful in this aspect. it goes into very explicit detail to explain in so many symbolic ways Gods message to man. Thank You for sharing this wonderful message. I did not know about full details and meaning of the parable - nor how foxes affect grape vines. So interesting and informative.
When the people I am mostly dealing with for now, many claiming to have been Christian, think it is still a problem of "little foxes" causing their many addictions, those foxes sometime ago actually were replaced by severe drought destroying what is left of many a vineyard. They remain cursed by their lively conscience reminding them of the terrible price parents, grandparents, and others paid to keep them out of jail, and from dying in their sins. Their conscience forever reminds them of causing family mortgages impossible to redeem, far beyond their theft of precious family heirloom jewelry pawned for some drugs money, raiding of their mother's savings, selling her home out from under her, ultimately destroying the family name. The conscience becomes for them a great playground for Satan to play them. The road back for them is very long and difficult to traverse, most giving up entirely. Very few return home like the prodigal son.

Guard your conscience with all your might in the Lord, which is the most basic natural connection for man to God that leads to the spiritual connection with Jesus. It spawned the many religions of man seeking a divine connection. Never compromise it by creating a dream world that defies all reality.
Sounds something like we would find in a mental institution. Are these children being helped by you ?
Sounds something like we would find in a mental institution. Are these children being helped by you ?
They are mostly late teens to mature adults ignoring the guidance of Chad's post #1. An example is happening right now. A 23 year old once bright, talented, beautiful daughter of a friend is once again hitch hiking in pursuit of the disastrous lifestyle of the opiod crisis. Parents welcomed her home repeatedly until she began destroying the house, taking off in their vehicles, bringing "friends" in. She has talked her way our of every mental facility, every court ordered halfway house, "cured" quite suddenly by special medicines given to bring her back down to earth. She breaks into the parents', grandparents, and friends homes to raid for stuff to pawn to get high then disappear again, last night finding her mother's wedding rings hidden in a secret place in the car. A co-traveler "friend" gained entrance by damaging a window. Our ministry is to then, now, not her, especially now that her whereabouts are not known. They are devastated so much they can't focus to return to work, and can't sleep properly waiting for some county or state law enforcement official to call to come get her. Since she is mentally ill from substance abuse, no jail will keep her. No Judge and no jail wants her. There are now an estimated 350 people like that in our county, 23 million in the USA, of which over 100,000 die each year over drubs, alcohol and smoking.

I added my post because one day that sweet girl ignored her conscience screaming "NO, don't do it" while she was at a party, accepting drugs. There's a "game" kids play. Each steals a handful of parent's meds, dumping them into a bowl. Each kid has to grab a mixed handful and swallow it with an alcoholic drink. On the last round the last still standing eats the remains. She was instantly addicted to several narcotics at age 14. Peer pressure.

The conscience is like an alarm going off inside. Don't reach over and slap it quiet, going back to sleep in sin. It's so powerful that people begin physically running away from it rather than giving God a chance to minister. When their conscience "burns out", they settle into the false peace of a substance abuser's life, abusing their bodies and anyone else they can beg, con, steal, or burglarize.

Cherish the conscience, a gift of God, as much as eyesight. It'sa gateway the Holy Spirit used to reach us.
That is good that You can see the problem for what it is and make decisions that can help the lives of these people and their suffering families.

I also have experienced and seen a somewhat similar situation in previous years growing up living and also later worked in some of the major cities. I am aware that there is always someone around with an eternal hand held out, who needs help.

I believe that many prescription drugs, medications and opium, heroin and artificial drugs such as methamphetamines have caused many birth defects and children born with many malformities as well as a factor in causing miscarriages. Also As a side note, I believe that sexual promiscuity also has let to many health problems for many children for generations. Even juvenile and teen children are taking these drugs at an early age. Drugs have very negative effects on the mind and body of a developing child from the womb and even as children are still growing in early adulthood - they are still taking these illegal and harmful drugs.

Thousands of children every month are admitted to hospitals with acute alcoholic poisoning. In May 1997 a survey found that 65 percent of boys and 54 percent of girls were drinking regularly by the age of 16. Also, there is the reality that some peoples bodies simply have greater difficulty in processing drugs and chemical substances, and some others do not have the great harmful negative effects from certain drugs as others. Eventually, addicts - even adults - who can not manage their substance intake or even prescriptions - usually end up with major problems.