What Is A Conscience and How Does It Work?

What Is A Conscience and How Does It Work?

Author: Dr. Ron Allchin
December 08, 2015

What is the conscience and how does it work?  It seems that some people have no conscience at all and other people have consciences that seem to be working over time.

The conscience is a moral program, which God has placed in men’s hearts. Unfortunately, it is not just God and His Word that programs our conscience.  Many are surprised to realize that our culture, family values, and our personal conduct can alter this program.  This conscience was given to us by God and was designed to function as a moral compass to pass judgement on the activities of our lives and either approves or disapproves of them.

One’s conscience can function in several conditions.  1 Corinthians 8:10 mentions the “weak” conscience.  A person with this conscience may believe he is sinning even when the Bible doesn’t prohibit the activity in which he is engaged.  The activity is nowhere found as sin in the Scriptures, but the person feels guilty for practicing it.

Another person’s conscience may be “untrained”. This person has had little if any training concerning good and bad choices.  He has little or no guilt because his conscience has never been activated by biblical truth.  These persons become a law to themselves.

The seared conscience is another condition.  A person can render their consciences insensitive in certain areas by violating it repeatedly.  The more one offends the conscience the more calloused it gets.  This person can get to the place where he feels little when he does wrong.

The believer must strive to have a biblical conscience.  1 Timothy 1:19 calls it a “good conscience.” This is a conscience programmed and activated by biblical truth. When a clear standard of God’s Word has been broken this conscience produces legitimate guilt for the right reasons.

God’s Word teaches that repentance and confession of sin to God and others and a humble offer of restitution is the way to clear the guilty conscience.  A clear and biblically trained conscience has been programmed to reflect solid, biblical teaching. 


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