Sermon #1350                                             Miscellaneous Notes


            Title:               DO You Have A GOOD CONSCIENCE?

            Text:               Hebrews 13:18

            Reading:       Hebrews 9:1-28

            Subject:         Conscience

            Date:              Sunday Morning - June 27, 1999[1]

            Tape #           V-34b



            I want to talk to you this morning about your conscience. Is it right to follow your conscience? Should we let our consciences be our guide, as we make our way through this world? What is the conscience? What does it do? Should I trust my conscience?


            It is common for people in all walks of life, striving to rally men and women to a cause, to appeal to the conscience.


When our President was trying to move public opinion in support of bombing Czechoslovakia, he said the atrocities committed against the people of Kosovo had “awakened the American conscience.”


I have a book in my library by the late Barry Goldwater called, “The Conscience of a Conservative”. Larry Flynt, publisher of Hustler magazine, argues that his battle for the right to peddle pornography is “a matter of conscience”.


Yesterday, I read a brief portion of an article arguing in defense of feminism, abortion, and homosexuality. The writer appealed repeatedly to the readers’ consciences, insisting that conscience demands our approval of such perversity.


In the religious world, multitudes base their hope regarding eternal life, salvation, and everlasting acceptance with God, upon what they think is their “good conscience”.


Do you have a good conscience? Do I? Does the Word of God have anything to say about the conscience? Indeed, it does. There are numerous references to the conscience in Holy Scripture. The Word of God talks about…


·      “A Good Conscience”         “A Conscience Void of Offence

·      An Accusing Conscience   An Excusing Conscience

·      “A Weak Conscience”         “A Pure Conscience

·      “A Defiled Conscience”      “A Seared Conscience”

·      “An Evil Conscience”          A Purged Conscience


What kind of conscience do you have? What kind of conscience do I have? What do our consciences tell us about ourselves?


Proposition: A good conscience is something everyone wants, but few possess. – Do you have a good conscience? Do I?


Hebrews 13:18 "Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly."


            It is my prayer that God the Holy Spirit will be pleased this day to sprinkle your heart with the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ and cause you to have a good conscience by his grace.


Divisions:     I want to three things revealed in Holy Scripture about the conscience. Then, I will try to show you from the Scriptures what a good conscience is.


1. We all have a conscience.

2. We all want a good conscience.

3. The only way we can obtain a good conscience is by the sprinkling of the blood of Christ.

4. What is a good conscience?




            Someone said, The conscience is the voice of God in a man’s soul.” I do not know whether that is true or not; but I do know that God has put a conscience in every person, which either accuses or excuses him in all his actions.


            Conscience is that voice inside you hat you simply cannot silence. You can muffle the voice. You can sear the conscience. But you cannot silence it.


            Conscience is that faculty of the mind which God has put in us all, by which we judge the moral character of human conduct, our own and others. It is an inborn sense of right and wrong.


A. The conscience is the law of God written on the heart (Rom. 2:14-15).


Romans 2:14-15 "For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: 15 Which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)"


            All men have a sense of right and wrong which, to a greater or lesser degree, reflects the law of God written upon the heart in creation.


B. The conscience of a man often produces a sense of guilt, legal fear, which many mistake for conviction (John 8:9).


John 8:9 "And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst."


            The conviction of sin is more than a sense of guilt and just condemnation. The conviction of sin arises from the revelation of Christ in the heart and is accompanied by a conviction of righteousness and of judgment. Holy Spirit conviction is that gracious work of God the Holy Spirit by which he effectually applies the gospel to the hearts of chosen, redeemed sinners, causing them to see that…


1. Christ alone is and must be the object of faith. – “Of sin, because they believe not on me.”

2. Righteousness has been established by the obedience of the God-man. – “Of righteousness, because I go to my Father.”

3. Justice has been satisfied by the sin-atoning blood of Christ. – “Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged” (Genesis 3:15 has been fulfilled!)


Illustration: It was their conscience which caused Adam and Eve to hide from God after the fall. It was their conscience that made the know their nakedness and filled them with shame. And the fact that they could appease their consciences with fig leaf garment made by their own hands shows that the conscience of fallen man is, like every faculty of human nature, utterly perverted and depraved.


C. We must not trust our consciences.


            The conscience cannot be trusted any more than the thoughts of the depraved mind or the emotions of the depraved heart can be trusted, because our depravity has made us perverse in all our faculties.


1. The Scriptures tell us plainly that the conscience of fallen man is “an evil conscience” from which we must be cleansed by the blood of Christ (Heb. 10:22).


2. The consciences of lost religious men are “defiled” (Tit. 1:15), so defiled that they may, in a sense, have a good conscience” while performing abominable things. – Saul of Tarsus did.


Acts 23:1 "And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day."


John 16:2 "They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service."


Acts 26:9 "I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth."


Romans 9:1 "I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,"


NOTE: The Apostle Paul, writing by divine inspiration, tells us that when he was persecuting the church, wishing himself accursed from Christ, his conscience was bearing him witness. He was fully convinced that he was doing the right thing.


3. Some are so hardened by free will, works religion or by ungodly behavior, often by both, that they live with a “seared” conscience (1 Tim. 4:1-2).


1 Timothy 4:1-3 "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; 3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth."


            Such men and women, even children (Littleton, CO) have consciences which are so cauterized and hardened that they are past feeling. They have no regard for the rightness or wrongness of what they say or do. They have no conscience of anything.


John Gill wrote, “Under a cloak of sanctity they commit the most shocking impieties.”


            If you work at it, if you hold down the truth of God long enough and persistently enough, you can cauterize your conscience. You can so sear your conscience, so harden yourself, that your conscience will excuse your wickedness.


D. We must never trust our consciences.


            Let us ever be careful not to violate our consciences, not for anyone. But do not trust your conscience. He who trusts his own conscience, like he who trusts his own heart, trusts both a fool and a devil.


            Our guide in all things must be the Word of God alone! -- Not our feelings! -- Not our desires! -- Not the opinions of others! -- The Word of God alone!




            Everyone of us wants to have a good conscience, a quiet, peaceful conscience. What would you not give to have a good conscience? -- A conscience which will let you sleep at night? -- A conscience that would let you draw near to God with full assurance? -- A conscience which gives you ease, real ease and peace of heart and mind in the prospect of death, judgment, and eternity?


A. All the religion and religious practices, ceremonies, and sacrifices in the world cannot obtain a good conscience.


B. All the gifts, works of charity and philanthropy imaginable cannot buy a good conscience.


C. Good works of moral reformation and religious devotion, no matter how earnest and sincere, can never earn you a good conscience.


D. Our consciences demand what we cannot give.


            Your conscience and mine demands and can only be satisfied with perfection. As I said before, the conscience echoes God’s holy law. Echoing the law, the conscience demands the same thing God’s law demands. Our consciences demand perfection.


1. Our consciences demand and will only accept perfect atonement for sin.


2. Our consciences demand and will only accept perfect righteousness.


3. That perfect atonement and perfect righteousness is found only in Christ’s obedience and death as our Substitute (Heb. 10:1-22).


Illustration: Pilgrim At Calvary


Hebrews 10:1-22 "For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. 2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. 3 But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. 4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. 5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: 6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. 7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. 8 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; 9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. 10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. 14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. 15 Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, 16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; 17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. 18 Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. 19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; 21 And having an high priest over the house of God; 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."


            Horatius Bonar was exactly on the money when he wrote, “In another's righteousness we stand, and by another's righteousness we are justified. All accusations against us, founded upon our unrighteousness, we answer by pointing to the perfection of the righteousness which covers us from head to foot, in virtue of which we are unassailable by law as well as shielded from wrath.


Thy work alone, 0 Christ,

Can ease this weight of sin;

Thy blood alone, 0 Lamb of God,

Can give me peace within.

Thy love to me, 0 God,

Not mine, 0 Lord, to Thee,

Can rid me of this dark unrest,

And set my spirit free.”




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."


In the Old Testament, the law required that if anyone so much as touched a dead body, he ceremonially unclean. If one person died in the tent, all the family and the tent itself were ceremonially defiled and unclean. That is a picture of our sin and uncleanness in our father Adam.


When Adam sinned against God, we all sinned. When he died, we all died in him (Romans 5:12). From the moment of Adam’s fall, the conscience of man (The ability to know God in truth) has been defiled. By Adam's disobedience, all human kind was plunged into darkness. Men are totally incapable of knowing God, truth, or good, unless and until God himself purifies the conscience (Ephesians 4:18-19).


The sprinkling of blood in the Old Testament was ordained of God to make defiled things ceremonially clean. This was a type of the true cleansing of the hearts and souls of sinners by the blood of the Lord Jesus. "The blood of Christ" is a phrase that refers to His atoning sacrifice for the sins of God's elect (Hebrews 10:10). It is his perfect obedience to God’s holy law, his suffering and death that cleanses condemned sinners whom God the Father chose by his eternal grace in Christ (2 Timothy 1:9). The blood of Christ alone answers all the demands of Gods holy law. And the blood of Christ alone answers all the demands of the conscience. “Without shedding of blood is no remission!”


·      God the Father ordained peace by the blood.

·      God the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ obtained peace, by the shedding of his blood.

·      God the Holy Spirit gives the sinner peace, speaking peace to the conscience, by sprinkling our hearts with the blood of Christ.

·      Faith receives peace by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ.


            I have peace with God because my heart, my conscience, looking on the shed blood of Christ echoes what the holy law of God says about the blood – “ENOUGH!”


Christ Jesus my discharge procured,

The whole of wrath divine endured:

The law's tremendous curse He bore;

Justice can never ask for more. – (SOG #135)





Guilty, oppressed and vexed with sin,

My fear no words could tell;

God's law my soul in terror held

And threatened me with hell!

I tried, but found I could not do

One thing pleasing to God:

Neither my works nor all my prayers

Could ease me of my load.


I sank in deep despair and felt

That I would surely die:

"No hope for me, I'm lost, undone!"

My soul began to cry.

But then I heard the Savior say,

"Look unto Me and live,

My blood has full atonement made,

I can salvation give."


When Christ revealed Himself to me,

I looked, and I believed;

And trusting Him alone I have

Salvation now received!

My conscience now is free and clear,

And it condemns me not!

The precious blood of Jesus Christ

My sin has blotted out!


My sins are gone! My sins are gone!

Christ washed them all away!

He satisfied my awful debt,

There's nothing left to pay!

Now this is all my hope and peace,

And my security:

Christ Jesus lived in righteousness

And shed His blood for me! -- (SOG #31)


(Tune: America the Beautiful)

Common Meter Double 86.96.D





            In Bible terms, a good conscience is a conscience purified from the guilt of sin by the grace of God and purged from reliance upon dead works by the blood of Christ.


Hebrews 9:9-14 "Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; 10 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation. 11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; 12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. 13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: 14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?"


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."


            A pure conscience may be a weak conscience, not always free from the taboos of religion and society.


1 Corinthians 8:7-12 "Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. 8 But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse. 9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak. 10 For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol's temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols; 11 And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? 12 But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ."


But a good conscience is a conscience which has been freed from both the guilt of sin and the dead works of legal religion, relying upon Christ alone for all things. The good conscience sees and understands that “CHRIST IS ALL!”


A Good Conscience Is A Conscience Which…


A. Seeks To Be Void of Offence.


Acts 24:16 "And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men."


B. Is Honest and Sincere.


1 Timothy 1:5 "Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned."


            Faith unfeigned is true faith, not the pretended faith of the hypocrite. A man with a pure conscience really believes what he says he believes. It is holding the mystery of the faith in a good conscience


C. Is A Source Of Peace and Joy.


2 Corinthians 1:12 "For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward."


2 Corinthians 4:1-2 "Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; 2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God."


D. Is Submissive To The Will Of God.


1 Peter 2:19 "For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully."


E. Is Obedient To Christ.


1 Peter 3:21 "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:"


F. Causes People To Live Right.


1 Peter 3:16 "Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ."


Application: Now, I ask again what I asked at the beginning of my message – Do you have a good conscience? May God be pleased this day to give you a good conscience by the sprinkling of the blood of Christ.







Don Fortner



Listen to sermons at



[1]Danville (AM 06/27/99)— Rescue, CA – 6-30-99—Danville (Hebrews Series #100-Tuesday 12/10/02)