Truths About Conscience
1 Kings 13:18-19
He said to him, I am a prophet also as you are; and an angel spoke to me by the word of the LORD, saying…

I. CONSCIENCE, OF ITSELF ALONE, IS NOT A SUFFICIENT GUIDE FOR LIFE. Every night, set in the front of the locomotive as it dashes on through the darkness, gleam the rays of the headlight, piercing the gloom for a mile ahead. So, say many, man is himself luminous. Surround him with whatever darkness, and at once it is pierced and thrust aside by a blaze of inherent radiance. But neither Scripture nor experience sustains such notion. Yet conscience is a guide for life. Still, simply in itself conscience is not a sufficient guide for life. For, conscience does not possess the power of origination. It cannot make right right, or wrong wrong. It is only our power of recognising the distinction already made, and as eternal as the heavens. And, just as a blind eye cannot distinguish between night and day; just as a guide-board wrongly written may send the wearied and famished traveller from the warmth and help of home; so may a blinded, misinformed conscience lead toward wrong instead of toward the right. And therefore, if a man would do the right, he must not only follow his conscience, but he must follow a conscience educated into a knowledge of a higher law; of a standard higher than itself; a conscience conformed and bending to some exact and supremely reigning rule. This, then, is the all-important question — where may the conscience find such enlightenment and education? The answer is immediate. In the Bible and especially in the character of Christ, standing out from the pages of the Bible, gathering up into Himself the vigour of its law, the loveliness of its mercy, the winningness of its invitation. God manifest in the flesh is the real standard and education for the conscience.

II. LEARN THE DANGER OF MAKING FEELING, RATHER THAN AN ENLIGHTENED CONSCIENCE, THE TEST FOR LIFE. Feeling is not to rule. Conscience, educated by the Divine command and teaching, is always to rule.

III. LEARN THE DANGER OF A CONSCIENTIOUS ERROR. It is no less error. It is not less surely sin. The prophet was conscientiously deceived. That did not hinder the Divine retribution. It does make all difference what a man believes. It does make all difference if a man conscientiously hold to what is false. God has not only given conscience; He has also given light for conscience. It is a man's duty to hold his conscience in the light which God has given.

(W. Hoyt, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: He said unto him, I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the LORD, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water. But he lied unto him.

WEB: He said to him, "I also am a prophet as you are; and an angel spoke to me by the word of Yahweh, saying, 'Bring him back with you into your house, that he may eat bread and drink water.'" He lied to him.

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