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 us that we simply cannot silence. We can muffle the voice. We can sear the conscience. But we 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.
The conscience is the law of God written on the heart (Rom. -15). 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. You cannot find a society, anywhere in history, which has not demonstrated this fact, no matter how barbaric. Even today, perverse as things are, men cannot escape this fact.
The conscience of a man often produces a sense of guilt, legal fear, which many mistake for Holy Spirit conviction (John 8:9). The conviction of sin is more than a sense of guilt and just condemnation (John 16:8-11).
The conviction of sin arises from the revelation of Christ in the heart (Zech. ), 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 Christ alone is and must be the object of faith. – “Of sin, because they believe not on me.” – that righteousness has been established by the obedience of the God-man. – “Of righteousness, because I go to my Father.” – and that justice has been satisfied by the sin-atoning blood of Christ. – “Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged” (Genesis has been fulfilled!)
It was their conscience which caused Adam and Eve to hide from God after the fall. It was their conscience that made them know their nakedness and filled them with shame. And the fact that they could, to some degree, 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.
Knowing these things, 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. 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! The total depravity of our nature has made us perverse in all our faculties, so perverse that even the conscience of fallen man is corrupt.