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In the moral sense, "conscience" may be defined as the ability to differentiate right from wrong. Although there has never been any shortage of politicians or religionists who would gladly do everyone else's thinking for them, ultimately, "conscience" isn't something that someone can have or do for someone else. The temporary exception (come the Judgment Day everyone is going to answer for themselves for what they've done through their lifetimes; see also When Will You Be Judged?) is when parents are raising their children, but even then the parent's duty to God (because all children are God's potential children, depending on the choice, the conscience, that they have) is to instill within their children a good conscience according to the parent's own (hopefully good, based on what God says is good) values and beliefs - unlike, for example, Satanists who want to raise their children to be fine, upstanding Satanists.

A conscience (not to be confused with conscious, which simply means to be aware i.e. to be awake) is often regarded as something that only good people have, but according to the Scriptures bad people have as much "conscience" as those who strive to live according to God's Word. The difference with the unholy is that their "conscience is defiled" (Titus 1:15 KJV) and they have a "conscience seared with a hot iron" (1 Timothy 4:2 KJV). Their conscience is based on self-righteousness (in effect, moral anarchy; see also I Did It My Way...), not true righteousness, which can only be defined by God (see the Fact Finder question below).

"Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil"

The first incidence of the consequences of human conscience occurred when Adam and Eve ran and hid from The Lord after they knew that they had done wrong. Ironically, they only became capable of knowing wrong because they had done wrong.


"And The Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil" (Genesis 3:22 KJV)

When "the scribes and Pharisees brought unto Him a woman taken in adultery" and wanted to have her stoned (see also Stoning), Jesus Christ uttered His famous "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." Their good conscience was enabled when they were revealed, in their own eyes, to be hypocrites. In defending the woman, The Messiah wasn't condoning her sin because He told her afterward "go, and sin no more" (John 8:11 KJV), something that her accusers should also have done before they became her accusers.

"So when they continued asking Him, He lifted up Himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again He stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one" (John 8:7-9 KJV)

The apostle Paul (see also Paul's Ministry) knew the difference between good and bad conscience, and that good conscience is based on being "void of offence toward God" (for how God says to do that, see the Fact Finder question below):

"I have lived in all good conscience before God" (Acts 23:1 KJV)

"And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God" (Acts 24:16 KJV)

"For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and Godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God" (1 Corinthians 1:12 KJV)

"Now the end of the Commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned" (1 Timothy 1:5 KJV)

"Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water" (Hebrews 10:22 KJV)

Fact Finder: What is the basis of having "a good conscience toward God"?

The Decalogue
First Commandment
Second Commandment
Third Commandment
Fourth Commandment
Fifth Commandment
Sixth Commandment
Seventh Commandment
Eighth Commandment
Ninth Commandment
Tenth Commandment

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