This is a guest post by Andrew David Naselli and J. D. Crowley, authors of Conscience: What It Is, How to Train It, and Loving Those Who Differ.
A Moral Version of Your Nervous System
What happens if your finger accidentally touches an extremely hot object like a stove or a dish that just came out of the oven? If your nervous system is functioning correctly, then you would reflexively pull back your hand to avoid more pain and harm. Your nervous system is a priceless gift from God because it saves you from danger. It’s a built-in system that instantly communicates, “Warning! Pull back!” It’s a gift from God.
Your conscience can function like a moral version of your nervous system. The guilt that your conscience makes you feel when you sin should lead you to turn from your sin to Jesus. That sense of guilt is for your good. And it is something that God—not your mother or father or anyone else—gave you.
Or here’s another example. Some vehicles have bumper-mounted sensors that beep when the vehicle is getting close to another object. For example, if you are backing up your car and are about to crash into a wall or another vehicle, your car would warn you by beeping more and more loudly and quickly.
When you ignore your conscience, it is more foolish than ignoring the beeping from your car’s bumper-mounted sensors.
When you ignore your conscience, it is more foolish than ignoring the searing pain you feel when you accidentally touch a hot stove.
When you ignore your conscience, you foolishly reject God’s priceless gift and thus defy the God who made you.
[Editor's Note: Written by Andrew David Naselli and J.D. Crowley, authors of Conscience: What It Is, How to Train It, and Loving Those Who Differ, originally appearing on Crossway.org. Used with permission.]
Andrew David Naselli (PhD, Bob Jones University; PhD, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is assistant professor of New Testament and biblical theology at Bethlehem College & Seminary in Minneapolis, Minnesota
J. D. Crowley (MA, Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary) has been doing missionary and linguistic work among the indigenous minorities of northeast Cambodia since 1994. He is the author of numerous books, including Commentary on Romans for Cambodia and Asia and the Tampuan/Khmer/English Dictionary.
Publication date: April 22, 2016
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/Brian A. Jackson