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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Exhibit B: Conscience

Exhibit B: Conscience

For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these ... show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them ...
~ Romans 2:14-15 (NKJV)

When I kept silent, my bones grew old
Through my groaning all the day long.
For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;
My vitality was turned into the drought of summer.
~ Psalms 32:3-4 (NKJV)

"And when He [the Holy Spirit] has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me ..."
~ John 16:8-9 (NKJV)

Paul lays out in the book of Romans a methodical case for Christianity. In chapter one, he establishes the existence of the Creator, and the Creator's denial of true atheism (see Without Excuse, Tuesday's post).

In chapter two of Romans, Paul establishes the existence of moral law, and therefore a Lawgiver. In a preemptive strike, he declares "inexcusable" any attempt for one person to use the law for condemnation of another (Grace, yesterday's post).

At the same time, Paul uses the existence of law to condemn us all in the sight of God. The proof of moral law's existence lies in conscience. Even a child understands the suffering of a soul which has chosen to do what it knows to be wrong. The psalmist's lament to God, "Your hand was heavy upon me" testifies to the voice of conscience, which some call the voice of God in the soul. One can indeed argue that the voice of conscience is the voice of the Holy Spirit, speaking conviction for sin. To blaspheme the Holy Spirit's testimony is to commit the unpardonable sin.

There are numerous and far more educated scholars who have elaborated upon this point at great length, C.S. Lewis foremost among them. Here I simply present to you Paul's exhibit B in His case for Christianity, an item familiar to us all. He names it conscience.

Our Father God and Creator, You are our Lawgiver. You show us clearly, "This is the way—walk in it." Please make our hearts tender to hear You, and our souls strong to heed You. Please lead us to repent quickly when we've been wrong.

Feedback appreciated! Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.


  1. Amen my friend, wonderful post.

  2. Psalm 32 touched me deeply. (all of the anguished psalms do) But I'm curious why it was included? Was it to demonstrate the David's conscience? It seems obvious, I'm almost embarrassed to ask.

    Thank you for laying out Paul's purpose so elegantly for me. I love this! It's interesting to see the trajectory of where he was going chapter to chapter.

  3. Denise, thank you for the affirmation.

    T. Anne, you don't ever need to be embarrassed to ask whatever you'd like. Yes, the Psalm demonstrates conscience.


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