- However, the Trustworthy Spirit’s communications are understood through our filters, which must be shaped and formed in order to be trustworthy.
- Three extremely important filters through which my understanding of the Spirit’s communication is filtered are: My conscience, my understanding of the Bible, and my spiritual community.
Today’s lesson is intended to communicate how the conscience determines the moral value given to experiences, choices and behaviors, and thoughts and intents.
- When the conscience determines the moral value in the positive we sense “rightness.”
- When the conscience determines the moral value in the negative we sense “wrongness.”
This is, in part, the reason it is vital for your conscience to be shaped by the character and personality of God as revealed in the Bible.
Sensing moral rightness and wrongness is crucial to the Christian life. Let’s consider the conscience and the sense of moral wrongness.
Because of the birth, life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, all people are in a covenant relationship with God. Therefore every human being is responsible to shape his or her conscience according to the character and nature of the covenant God.
God’s covenant with humanity includes the revelation of moral rightness and wrongness. In most cases, the covenant stipulations are exceptionally clear. Live according to God’s covenant and you are in relationship with God and called holy. Live in violation to God’s covenant and you are in a broken relationship with God and called unholy.
You have made a moral choice that is in opposition to God’s covenant with humanity:
- Your conscience should make the determination that your choice is morally wrong. You are, in fact, guilty before God. Psalm 51:4
- Wrong should be interpreted as feelings of guilt. Psalm 25:11
- Shameful should be interpreted as feelings of shame. Jeremiah 6:15
- Condemnable should be interpreted as feelings of condemnation. John 3:18
- The Holy Spirit will convict you with the invitation to restore covenant relationship with God through repentance. John 16:8
- Spirit conviction should be interpreted as God’s amazing love and grace calling you to restored relationship.
- With contrition, humility, and authenticity you repent. 2 Corinthians 7:8-11
- Proper relationship with God and His covenant are restored.
- All feelings of guilt, shame, and condemnation should vanish.
- Feelings of joy, purity, and holiness should appear.
You have made a moral choice that is in alignment with God’s covenant with humanity.
- Your conscience should make the determination that your choice is morally right.
- There should be no feelings of guilt, shame, or condemnation. 1 Peter 2:24 and Hebrews 12:2
- The Holy Spirit will grant you the sense of continued and growing covenant relationship with God.
- With humility and authenticity you live as one favored and blessed by God.
After conviction of the Holy Spirit, repentance, and restored relationship with God, what are the differences between conviction and condemnation?
Condemnation leads to hopelessness.
Conviction of the Holy Spirit leads to, “God is good.”
Condemnation leads to feeling my own “un-goodness.”
Conviction of the Holy Spirit leads to “Jesus paid it all!”
Condemnation leads to self-loathing and “I must punish myself.”
Conviction of the Holy Spirit is specific, “This action was sin.”
Condemnation leads to a general sense of, “I am no good.”
As the character and nature of God shape your conscience, you will have a growing ability to trust the Holy Spirit.
Listen – Your Story
- Have you experienced condemnation?
- What words capture the feelings you felt at that time?
Learn – Dig Deeper
- Looking back at your notes from this week’s teaching, is there anything that particularly caught your attention, challenged or confused you?
- Please read these stories of two failures: Peter – Luke 22:52-64 and Judas – Matthew 27:3-5Would you call Peter’s experience conviction or condemnation? Why?
- Would you call Judas’ experience conviction or condemnation? Why?
- What does the Bible say to us when we feel shame, guilt, or condemnation for things we didn’t do?
- What would you say to those who never feel conviction or condemnation? Revelation 3:19
- To those who are in right covenant relationship with Jesus, what does Paul declare about condemnation? Romans 8:31-39
Live – Taking it Home
- Looking back on this weeks teaching and study, what is the most important thing to remember?
- Do you feel condemnation today? What steps should you take?
- Is the Holy Spirit convicting you? What steps should you take?
Lift – Prayer
- Do you have any prayer requests you would like to share with your group?
- Please pray for members of your group who are feeling condemnation.
- Please pray for members of your group who are feeling conviction.
- Please pray for MCA Church’s missions’ ministry.