Conscience And The Gospel

Feb 25, 2016 1138

Two thousand years ago the cock crowed for the big fisherman. A dart pierced him, and he fled into the darkness to weep as though with his tears he could flood away the past. From the maelstrom of remorse and self-reproach emerged a new man who could stand unmoved amid the tempests of persecution and pray calmly while being crucified inverted on a cross. The cock still crows. It crows for most of us several times a day. Our response determines destiny, for our cock crowing is the shrill call of conscience which cannot be intimidated or entirely silenced.

Only one man has ever lived in complete accord with his conscience. He spoke with authority on truth, for he himself was and is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. To a generation as corrupt as our own he gave the following warning: “Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is sound. your whole body is full of light; but when it is not sound, your body is full of darkness. Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness. If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light” (Lk 11 :34-36).

The gospel alone can educate and suffice conscience. But it is a gospel that must be received afresh every day. In the story of Mark 8 we note that a single touch was not enough to bring fullness of vision. Repeated contact with Christ is the soul’s need, lest the world cast a returning film of sin over the newly cleansed eye of the soul. The chastenings of conscience recur daily in order that we might learn to live close to the cross. Although victory over revealed sins becomes the believer’s privilege, Luther’s words remain true that “the Christian is “always a sinner, always a penitent, and always right with God.” Christ, through conscience. ever breaks us in order to make us. And here is the ultimate purpose of conscience, not merely to function as a condition for health and sound personality, but as the hound of heaven pursuing us and depriving us of supposed strength until we are taken by him who is love.

– Des Ford. Rom 8:27–32 (Adapted from “The Hound of Heaven”)

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