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Everyone alive is born with a conscience. Part of being made in the image of God is that all of us have an innate understanding of right and wrong, good and evil. We are of course free to ignore our conscience, and ignored long enough, if we compromise our morals long enough, it may cease altogether in warning us that what we are doing is wrong. The Holy Spirit, however, is a lot different than our conscience. The Holy Spirit is God, the third member of the Trinity. The Spirit has one role that He aims to fulfill in our lives. That role is to point us towards Christ. This is what the Holy Spirit does. Before Salvation, He convicts of sin and reveals to us our need for forgiveness and that Christ is the answer to the forgiveness that we need. After Salvation, The Spirit literally comes and resides in us. Inside us, He is our Counselor and Guide. He points us towards Christ, encourages us, convicts of sin - He helps us progress on our path of sanctification. The Spirit provides gifts to Believers which are beyond normal talents that all people have. He gives these gifts out as He pleases, to whom He pleases, in amounts that He pleases. Our conscience is something sourced inside of us that comes from being made in the image of God. The Holy Spirit is God Himself, helping us to become more like Christ. Something we cannot do apart from Him. Galatians 5:22-25 - But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those wh belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.
Our conscience is our human flesh responding and it changes all the time. The Holy Spirit speaking to us is God's voice speaking through His word. I had problems in this area when I starting having suicidal thoughts as I was healing from a traumatic brain injury, TBI. I kept having these thoughts of throwing myself out the car door or sticking my head down the toilette. These were just ways that my physical brain thought of how to escape my current situation of recovery. I had the thought of, what if it is God telling me to kill myself. But I had to put that against what God's word says. The word states in I John 14:19b because I live, you will live also. Our human conscience can lead humans away if we only follow it. But this is what I have learned and gleaned from bible study. Sarah
HOLY SPIRIT AND CONSCIENCE The Holy Spirit is the supernatural force that lives within us and constantly prompts us to choose that which is good or right and shun that which is evil or wrong in every situation. Conscience, on the other hand, is the natural force within us that tells us what is good and what is evil, what is right and what is wrong; and usually stops at that, leaving us to choose. There is a third force though and that is the FLESH. The flesh always prompts us to choose that which is evil or wrong in every situation in which we have to make a choice. For example, when faced with the temptation to commit sexual immorality, the conscience will say it is bad and continue to impress it on us that it is bad. The flesh, on the other hand, will jump at it with excitement. It will begin to send signals to the brain of how pleasing and gratifying it will be to commit it. It will begin to weaken the resistance against doing it. Then, the Holy Spirit will counter the flesh by not only prompting us not to do it but by also strengthening our resolve to avoid it. If the flesh wins, we will come out with a guilty conscience; if the Spirit wins, we will come out with a clear conscience. Thus under the watchful eyes of the conscience, the Spirit and the flesh are always struggling against each other to take control of us. The Bible confirms this when it says in Galatians 5.17 that, "... the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would." Holy Spirit is applicable only to Christians - born-again Christians. For to be born again is to admit the Holy Spirit into the inner self where He will now begin to guide the thoughts and actions, countering the flesh and leading the bearer in the path of righteousness. In the absence of the Holy Spirit, the role of conscience will extend to that of decision-making. It will not only tell us that what we are about to do is either wrong or right, it will also prick us to choose the right and shun the wrong. Conscience can, therefore, substitute for the Holy Spirit but it will then be an unreliable and weak substitute. For in such a situation, the flesh will hold sway and time and again overwhelm the conscience. Thus, to overcome evil and do good always, we must allow the Holy Spirit to dwell within us. We must not leave the job for our conscience alone but instead support and strengthen the conscience with the Holy Spirit which alone has the power to counter the flesh. Demola Ijabiyi
Every normal human being is born with an essence of thought and conscience which cannot be found in animals. That inherent ability is present in all sinner and believer alike. It enables us to separate what is good from what is bad. There is also that part in man which is called the spirit and the same is made in the image of God. It is through this part that man is able relate with God. When man (Adam) sinned, the preeminence of the spirit in man was cut-off and his carnal mind which has a tendency to sin became dominant. It meant that the capacity of the human being to fully commune with God had been undone. At repentance the new believer must invite the Holy Spirit, who is the 3rd Person of the God Head to come and stay in him. It is the function of the Holy Spirit to bring back dominance of the spirit in man in order to restore the lost relationship with God. As the born-again meditates on the Word the Holy Spirit will reveal to the former in-depth knowledge of the of Christ. The Spirit will guide the christian on how to deal with the affairs of life.
Here's my 'basic, easy words and details' answer. From my personal experiences since my night of salvation in 1979, I seem to always know when, how and immediately His Holy Spirit's soft voice or soft nudging and sometimes 'alert of no, no or don't do that' --or-- take this path, which is the right way, etc...' It seems to me that I hardly remember a day that I don't think of His guidance passage in scripture that has a huge impact on my life; you may as well..."Trust in the Lord with all your heart, with all your strength and with all your might, that He may direct your paths and keep you on that narrow path of righteousness, so that you may be found holy and blameless before Him." God is always there, always on time, always watching over you and me, always in the right place, always trustworthy and always God! So...."Seek Him daily, all day long while allowing Him to guide and direct your every step along life's journey". ~~Andy Mangus~~
I taught cross-cultural communication in the missions (now "global ministries") department of a Christian College for a number of years. The question that seems unique to this discussion is that there are groups of people in our world whose conscience seems to guide them to do what the Bible would define as evil. For example, killing an enemy and capturing women and children may be seen as "good." Of course this would change if they trust Christ as Savior and are indwelt by the Holy Spirit; however, we can't say that without Christ our conscience will always cause us to know true right from wrong. Proverbs 22:6 is precise in helping us to know that one's training will have a strong bearing on what the conscience will tell us.
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