The following outline was created by Pastor John Tock of Sovereign Grace Bible Church in December 2010. You can listen to the sermon by clicking here.

Conscience – Testing and Educating Conscience’s Voice


A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory – source unknown


1) What are the stages of the renewal of our consciences

A) My conscience becomes willingly captive to God’s authority, Psalm 119:29-32.

B) I satisfy the judicial demands of conscience through the gospel, Psalm 51:7-9, Hebrews 9:9-14.

1. Having judicial peace and still feeling wrong when we sin.

C) I learn to respect my conscience’s voice, instead of suppressing it.

D) I learn to test my conscience’s voice by God’s Word and when necessary educate it to conform to God’s Word.

E) I learn to examine the value systems and traditions of men by God’s Word, Colossians 2:20-22.


2) Our consciences are not infallible but fail in two ways

A) They approve our wrong or remain silent, not condemning us.

B) They condemn us for what is not sin.

C) Our consciences react to sin in three ways

  1. I sin and I know it. This is the proper working of conscience
  2. I sin and I don’t know it. My conscience is failing
  3. I don’t sin but I think I have. My conscience is failing.


3) Examples of conscience approving or remaining silent regarding our sin

A) Holy zeal? Not really, Luke 9:51-56.

B) Spiritually mature? Not at all. 1 Cor. 5:1-2, 6:1-5, 11:31-32; 2 Cor. 11:16-20.

C) Seeing the sins of others while we are blind to our own, Matthew 7:1-5.

D) These are all cases where we are guilty but we don’t  feel guilty.


4) Examples of conscience condemning what is not sin

A. This is a significant problem because;

  1. It affects our attitude toward God, especially our thoughts as to what He requires of us.
  2. God does not give us grace to change in areas that are not sinful.
  3. Our view of others is affected. We consider them sinning when they aren’t.

B) Example 1: Calling things unclean which God calls pure, Acts 10:9-16, 24-28, 34-35, 43-48, they were astonished.

C) Example 2: Placing regulations on others which are not from God, Acts 15:22-29

D) Example 3: Man made regulations – who do we think we are? Col. 2:20-23, 1 Tim. 4:13.

E) Now these are cases where we are not guilty, but we feel guilty.


5) In order to avoid these failings our consciences must be tested and educated by God’s Word.

A) The foundation – a right view of Scripture

  1. God alone has the right to define good and evil.
  2. He has communicated His definition of good and evil to us in his word.
  3. His word is sufficient to reveal to us everything He considers to be sin.
  4. Therefore our conscience’s voice must be tested and educated by God’s word.

B) How can we make progress? In either case the answer is the same, we must test and educate our consciences with God’s word.

  1. Psalm 119:130, Psalm 1:1-2, 1 Tim. 3:16 – think God’s thoughts!
  2. We should examine our guilt feelings. True or false guilt?
  3. We should be open to the instruction of others. Proverbs 10:17, 11:14, 12:1, 12:15, 13:20, 14:15


6) Conclusions

A) We must learn to live with an active conscience.

B) Three things are occurring during the maturing process:

  1. We are learning to always satisfy the judicial demands of our consciences by the blood of Jesus Christ.
  2. Our consciences are becoming bound (obligated) to God’s authority expressed in His Word.
  3. Our consciences are being freed from the false rules, expecta­tions, and guilt brought on by the standards of men, which impose themselves in the place of God.


For further study:

Taking Sin Seriously by John MacArthur


Tags: ,


  1. DFB October 27, 2011 at 12:31 PM #

    May be the greatest piece yet…



  1. YOU KNOW RIGHT FROM WRONG FOR GOD MADE IT EVIDENT TO YOU … | Nicholas Voss - August 22, 2013



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