Promises and Secrets

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A website for those not afraid to examine their beliefs, compare them to the real world, and make sure they fit.



Conscience

VIEWPOINT



If you are not sure what the Bible says about the will of the Father, how can you be prompted to stay within it? Truth is true whether or not you believe it. Your conscience will not help if you if it has not been trained in truth in the first place.

FACT


Your conscience should be able to tell you right from wrong. For Christians, the conscience should help to guide us to the path to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but first it must know right from wrong:

21Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 7:21)


BLUE VIEWPOINT



The Christian world is fast losing the only thing that is keeping the rest of the world in check - a conscience.

This is not a reference to sentience, consciousness, or the ability to be cognizant and think, but points more to the ability to have an awareness of the right thing to do and follow it. The place where the lack of this quality is the most obvious is in today's "churches". When I say "churches", I mean the body of people who attend the different buildings every Sunday and claim to worship God and His Son.

What are we talking about here? Well, most people think of a church as a place where you can find genuine believers and followers of God. We think of them as having a knowledge of the will of God and a strong desire to follow whatever He says to do and not do what He says not to do. We expect that the Holy Spirit uses this knowledge to prompt them to do what He describes as the right thing to do. This prompting is what we think of as a "conscience".

So, why do most Christians ignore the clear will of God?

Unlike what most people think, a conscience is not something that automatically tells us what is the right or wrong thing to do. A conscience develops inside each of us as we live our lives, and informs us about what we have learned about right and wrong. Exactly what we learn and where that learning originates is what forms our conscience. If that learning is not in line with what the Bible teaches, then our conscience will not automatically teach us to be in line with God's will.

Definition time

Just to make sure we are all thinking along the same lines, let's see how the Google dictionary defines "conscience":

con-science
(kan(t)shens)

noun
noun: conscience; plural noun: consciences

an inner feeling or voice viewed as acting as a guide to the rightness or wrongness of one's behavior.
    "he had a guilty conscience about his desires"

Similar:
sense of right and wrong, sense of right, moral sense, still small voice, inner voice, voice within, morals, standards, values, principles, ethics, creed, beliefs, compunction, scruples, qualms

Phrases
in conscience
     by any reasonable standard; by all that is fair. "they have in conscience done all they could"
on one's conscience
    weighing heavily and guiltily on one's mind. "an act of providence had prevented him from having a death on his conscience"

Origin
    Middle English (also in the sense 'inner thoughts or knowledge'): via Old French from Latin conscientia, from conscient- 'being privy to', from the verb conscire, from con- 'with' + scire 'know'.

conscience is sometimes confused with conscious

You get the idea. This page opened with a brash statement about the church losing a conscience and refers to it as the only thing keeping the rest of the world in check. Let me explain.

What do churches teach?

Go into any of today's churches on Sunday morning, and you will hear a sermon. A vast majority of the time, you will hear about the love of Christ, His forgiveness, the lack of need for you to do anything to attain the final goal of every Christian - entrance to eternal life "in Heaven" with the Father and the Son. In fact, you are often told that once you accept Christ, there is actually nothing you can do to lose that very goal. This is based on a kind of reverse thinking based on the concept that there is nothing you can do as an individual to gain righteousness or eternal life. The thinking is that if you cannot gain it by works, you cannot lose it by works.

Now, some of this is actually true, but a significant portion of it is not only false, but is causing an easing of our consciences to the point where they no longer prompt us to stay in the will of God. Worse, people are often encouraged to go outside the will of God. That will cause you to lose your salvation (Matthew 7:21
21Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

).

What are we really learning?

Besides the sermon message, or more appropriately, including the sermon message, what are we learning in church? First - be there every Sunday, rain or shine. Biblical? Not hardly. But, for someone who is raised that way or attends regularly, if they miss Sunday church, they feel the twinge of a guilty conscience. This "twinge" of conscience does not come from God. It does not even come from the Bible. There is no command in the Bible, or even suggestion that we should go to church every Sunday - or any Sunday. So, where does the conscience get this idea?

"But, what about Hebrews 10:25...?"

If you ask any pastor why they feel it is important to make sure people come to church on Sunday, they will most often refer to Hebrews 10:23-25:

23Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Wait, "as you see the Day approaching"?

Sounds pretty convincing, right? Sounds like Paul, or whoever wrote Hebrews, speaking to the Hebrew congregation saying something he has, for some reason, never said to any other congregation about making sure that people go to "church" on Sunday in a letter to the Hebrews. That would be Jews to those of you not paying attention.

However, it is unlikely that last phrase about "as you see the Day approaching" is referring to the Sabbath because they never called it the "Day". And it is not Sunday as they, those pesky Hebrews, did not meet regularly on Sunday for worship, just on odd speaking occasions as was the case in Acts 20:7
7And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.

for their traditional Havdalah Sabbath-ending ceremony.

Unless, that is, you think that their regular "new" Hebrew church services waited until after sundown on Sabbath and ran until midnight. And, that this change was made with no announcement or notification at all, and did not even coincide with the early morning daylight hours of their visit to Christ's tomb. Also, they never referred to "the first day of the week" as "the Day". Their "regular" meetings for worship were on the Sabbath because of the nature of that day of rest and their pause from normal activities, as they had always been since the desert in the time of Moses. (Acts 15:21
21"For the law of Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath."

).

The other big example of modern pastors' claims for regular Sunday worship is Acts 2:1
1When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.

, when the Pentecost came on Sunday, like it has every year since Leviticus 23:15-21
15" 'From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks. 16Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the Lord. 17From wherever you live, bring two loaves made of two-tenths of an ephah of the finest flour, baked with yeast, as a wave offering of firstfruits to the Lord. 18Present with this bread seven male lambs, each a year old and without defect, one young bull and two rams. They will be a burnt offering to the Lord, together with their grain offerings and drink offerings - a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the Lord. 19Then sacrifice one male goat for a sin offering[a] and two lambs, each a year old, for a fellowship offering. 20The priest is to wave the two lambs before the Lord as a wave offering, together with the bread of the firstfruits. They are a sacred offering to the Lord for the priest. 21On that same day you are to proclaim a sacred assembly and do no regular work. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live.

. Pentecost is not a new day to replace the Sabbath but is a once-a-year feast of God, celebrated in addition to the regular Sabbath days.

Something feels wrong...

There is something off about this "go to church weekly" interpretation. The only Day they thought was approaching was the the Day of the coming of the Lord.

If you look closer at the Greek from which this was translated, you will see that this verse (25) is not speaking of "meeting together" in the sense of weekly gatherings. The word used here is "episynagogen" which is used in this form only two places in the Bible - Hebrews 10:25 (above) and 2 Thessalonians 2:1.

Not about church meetings

2 Thessalonians 2:1
Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters,

has a very specific sense for that exact word and it has nothing to do with going to "church". Now, there were some in the "church" that had given up on the return of Christ and His being able to save those who had already died. They thought that only those living at the time of the return would be saved, so in their eyes it was too late for the dead. Hebrews 10:25 referred to this as "forsaking belief in our final gathering to Christ (episynagogen)" as some were beginning to do. Paul expressed in the same thought his confidence that the Day of His coming was approaching quickly.

This "giving up on this assembly" was becoming so common in Thessalonica that Paul spent some time in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17
13Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 13For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15According to the Lord's word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

explaining the details of what would happen at Christ's return. He was asking them to "hang in there" and "keep the faith" because the promise was still good and the dead in Christ would not be lost.

The traditions of others

Tradition. You have been made to feel guilty about not going to "church" by something that is not Biblical. Your mind has been trained by centuries of anti-Semitic church history to think that going to church on Sunday is the right thing to do, but the Bible says no such thing. So, where did it come from? Have you ever had someone sit you down and show you where the Bible says, "Go to church every Sunday?" I guarantee that no one has done that, because there is no such statement or implication in the Bible text. Someone would have to have a special bible with the special new book of 2 Opinions 1:1
1Thou shalt go to church on the morning of the first day of the week, and forget thou not to bring with thee thy wallet full of cash.

, making sure that everyone knows about the New Testament "Green" Deal designed to save the pastor - er, save the world.

Your conscience likely tells you to disobey God

So, if someone comes along and says that you should keep the seventh-day Sabbath holy, which is in the Bible in the real book of Genesis and many others including the New Testament, would you do it? You will likely not only have no compunction to do so, you will actually rebel against the idea because it violates your tradition. Note that this suggestion to keep the Sabbath is not violating what the Bible says, just your tradition and your conscience. So you see, your conscience does not tell you what is right and wrong, but it reminds you of what your mind has been taught that it is "supposed to do". And, this likely came right from your pastor's sermons.

How our consciences are numbed

As a real-world example of this very thing, a pastor of the church my wife was once attending came to my home and we discussed this subject for five hours one day. Now, five hours on any subject will tend to cover a lot of bases, so you can imagine that we got into some pretty specific topics.

"You can't sin because there is no law and 'where there is no law there is no sin'! (Romans 4:15
15because the law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression.

)"

One of them was the possibility of the loss of salvation for any true Christian. He is certain that it is not possible to lose it because he believes that it is impossible to commit sin if you are a real Christian, while I am certain that you can sin and lose your salvation. (What is the subject of 2 Peter 2:20
20If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.

?) He is certain that no laws or rules apply to Gentile Christians, while I am certain that all laws except those that pertain to sacrifices for sin still apply to Gentile Christians. (What about Romans 3:31
31Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.

?)

Notice that today's "Christian" claims that Romans 4:15 above says that the law is gone. Now back up 15 verses and look at the last verse in Romans 3
31Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.

(Romans 3:31)

. How can you summarize that Paul says that the law is gone in chapter 4 when he says the opposite in chapter 3? One example of how today's "Christian" pastors do this is shown in the NIV notes for this Romans 4:15 verse:

4:15 ... transgression. Overstepping a clearly defined line. Where there is no law there is still sin, but it does not have the character of transgression.

This was written in the footnotes of a Bible. Google defines transgression as:

trans-gres-sion
/trans-greSHun, tranz-greSHun/

noun
noun: transgression; plural noun: transgressions

an act that goes against a law, rule, or code of conduct; an offense.
"I'll be keeping an eye out for further transgressions"

This means that sin is a transgression. That is the meaning of 1 John 3:4
4Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. (NIV)

Or, even better on that point, the King James:

4Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. (KJV)
, especially in the KJV. There is no way for a sin to "not have the character of transgression". One of the interpretations is wrong. If you base them both on the clear statment of Romans 3:31, there will be no contradiction. Paul is merely saying that if you remove the law, there is no way to identify sin. Otherwise we get lost in opinions.

"Sin is sin, even though it isn't sin, so when you sin, you have not sinned."

What does that "explanation" in the NIV notes even mean? The word transgression is in the Biblical definition of sin! So, what these pastors are saying is that, regardless of the definitions, now that "the law is gone", there is still sin, but it is not really sin because there "is no law", so even when you clearly sin, you are sinless. No wonder people don't recognize sin - even their Bible notes won't tell them that a stone is a stone. Our consciences are being set up to fail.

"No rules, and you can't sin."

You can see that there is a large gulf between the pastor and myself, and his view is typical of the viewpoints of the modern churches. At this point, on the surface it appears to be only a matter of our individual opinions. The real difference is that I can point to Bible text to support my position with clear words, and the pastor can only tell me that the texts I use do not mean what they say, but then has to explain that they really mean something that supports him. Then, he has to explain the obvious contradictions.

How does this affect us?

Now, back to conscience, the topic of this article. According to the definition above, conscience is "an inner feeling or voice acting as a guide to the rightness or wrongness of one's behavior". This simple definition brings out one very important point - to be in line with the will of God, there must be a starting place for the determination of "rightness or wrongness". Not only that, but this starting place must be a visible standard with a common foundation.

You know, things like the fact that murder cannot be right for one person and wrong for another, and that idolatry is wrong for everyone - not just pagans. Direct disobedience to God's will is wrong for everyone - not just all other denominations except ours. Determination of rightness or wrongness of an action cannot be flexible for each individual or denomination. Otherwise, there are no longer standards, just opinions. Tying this thought to the five-hour discussion above, what can we conclude?

"You cannot lose your salvation..."

If you cannot lose your salvation through your actions, then direct disobedience of God's commands will have no affect or your future. No really, is this a true statement or not? You must have a position on this issue. Your conscience uses this decision to prompt you about your actions. Not speaking your position aloud doesn't help you, because God knows your heart. Do you feel that once you are saved, you are in? (Hint: 2 Peter 2:20
20If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.

)

"The law does not apply to Gentiles..."

In the same way, does a Christian have to obey God's laws? It is really the same question as was posed above. Can you disobey God's law with no consequences? How about the first commandment? Again, you must have a position on this question. Either yes or no.

If you say "Sometimes...", then list for us those times when it is OK to obey and when it is not necessary. We know that we do not have to sacrifice animals for our sins because Christ did that "once for all" (Hebrews 10:10
10And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

), but what about any of the other laws? Do you feel that Paul's statement that "we have been made holy" means that we can now disobey God, or worse, that God no longer cares if we obey?

What your stand means

Is your stand based on that of your church denomination, or based on the actual words of the Bible? No, not what your pastor says the words mean, but what they actually say. Now, if you take the common church stand that you cannot lose your salvation and that the law does not apply to Gentiles, what is it that now guides your conscience? Certainly not the Bible.

Remember that definition - "an inner feeling or voice viewed as acting as a guide to the rightness or wrongness of one's behavior"? That little voice comes from what your mind learns about what is right and wrong - from whatever source gets the most of your attention. If "you can do no wrong" and "there are no rules" floats around in your mind, what do you think is guiding your conscience?

Subtle persuasion

Where did you get your ideas of right and wrong? Do you check what you have been taught against the Bible? If you have no standard by which to be guided other than your pastor's sermons, and he says that disobedience toward God will not affect your salvation, shouldn't you make sure that he is not leading you astray as to "rightness" or "wrongness"?

He may not be doing it knowingly, but according to the antinomial stand (against any law) of most church denominations today, these sermons are almost always inclusive of a teaching, originally proposed by the self-admitted anti-Semitic early church fathers, that goes against the Bible teachings. Mixing truth and lies will sound convincing, but it will lead to error. It only takes one or two incorrect thoughts mixed in with the "well-meaning" thoughts to persuade a conscience (remember Eve in the garden of Eden
3Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?"

2The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.' "

4"You will not certainly die," the serpent said to the woman. 5"For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." (Genesis 3:1-5)

).

The pastors are teaching their own "consciences", so why are they all teaching something different?

By Biblical standards, most - yes most - of those sermons are somewhere advising you incorrectly to go against the rules and will of God. The pastors may mean well, but the general teachings are that there are no rules that we have to obey because they won't do us any good anyway. They forget that not obeying the rules also has an effect on our salvation. Just because we can't earn our salvation does not mean we can't throw it away (2 Peter 2:20
20If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.

). God set those rules up, not to ruin all your fun, but to keep you in His will (Matthew 7:21
21Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

). Tossing them aside shows a very arrogant disregard for God's advice, and it will affect your salvation.

Summary

This kind of thinking is what this site is all about. We are not here pontificating what is right and what is wrong, the Bible does that. We are pointing out where today's churches teach compromise with the world and go directly against the word of God. When the churches compromise to the point where they look just like the rest of the world, who is left to keep the world honest? That compromise can be seen in the blending of paganism and Christianity and God said to never do that. Don't think so? Check out some of our pages under "Christianity" (in the menu on the main page) called Christless Christianity? or Pagan Christianity?.

Otherwise, just turn your head and walk away, leaving the compromising churches to teach the searing of our consciences into silence. Let us know if you disagree and we will let others know what you think.











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