Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Honor of Humanity Part 6 - Holiness (Conscience)

This is my personal summary of the preaching of Rev.Dr.Stephen Tong on his apologetics series on The Honor of Humanity Part 6 on 10th September 2006

God is a holy God. As we have been made in the image of God, God put the concept of holiness, righteousness and truth in our hearts. We have a potential for holiness.

Is holiness the mark of being saved or a goal we try to achieve? The potential of being holy is the aspect of being made in the image of God. But because we have this image of God, we should imitate the likeness of Jesus Christ. Jesus becomes an example.

Every civilization wants to find a role model. Sukarno is considered Indonesia’s model. Gandhi is India’s model. Confucius is China’s model. But every model here will show their feet of clay in their moments of human weakness. The religious leaders especially can show most hypocrisy because their lives and teaching have such a big gap. Only in Jesus Christ we see a spotless example.

When did we lose this holiness? When did we express this holiness? How do we know human beings have potential for holiness?

In every culture, there is an expression of guilt. Although nobody has known we have done the wrong thing, our conscience can accuse ourselves. This is something very real. Our conscience proves that we have the image of God. The presence of conscience is something that cannot be denied, and something that cannot be explained by the theory of evolution. It demands justice so every society has their law to administer justice.

But what is a conscience?

In China, Mencius has great discovery in this idea. Mencius categorized conscience into 4 aspects:

1. The heart of compassion. This is the ability to show empathy to others.
2. The sense of shame. Everybody can feel shameful when doing something wrong.
3. The heart of sharing. Everybody can have the heart to share what he has with others.
4. The heart of justice. Everybody knows what he should or should not do.

The Old Testament English Bible does not use the term “conscience” at all. But the Old Testament summarizes image and likeness of God, so everything is included. There are many accounts that imply the presence of conscience, e.g. Adam, when he sinned and hid in the cool of the day because of guilty conscience.

The Proverbs says that the spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord. God has placed a lantern in the heart of man so that it shines in our life. It is the representative of God who speaks for God and searches our heart. So it becomes the judge of your heart. It is also a prophet that warns us.

Someone once discuss about the three functions of conscience. The first one is to give warning. When we want to sin, it warns against the danger. In response to the warning of our conscience, we can have two reactions. If we accept the warning, we will become a friend to our conscience so it will continue to guard our ways.

But if we reject it, our conscience will respond by letting us go our way. This is the second function of conscience, i.e. sleep and let you have your ‘freedom’.

Relatively speaking, we seem to be free when we are left alone. We frequently think that we can keep sinning and make use of the loopholes of the law and get away with it, but there is ultimate judgment.

Our conscience will awake again. He will wake up when you have finished sinning. It will become your judge now.

He is God’s representative. He is not there to serve you, but to serve God. Can you remember how fast your heart beat the first time you stole, the first time you lied, the first time you committed adultery?

The Greek word for conscience means “co-knower”, i.e. the person who knows with me. When you sin, you know, the devil who tempts you to sin knows, and God who made you and would judge you also knows. And then there is your conscience who judges you.

In Arabian, the word for conscience is “Nur”, in Indonesian, “Hati Nurani”, it means a shining heart.

In Latin, the meaning is similar to the Greek language. Latin has 3 level of knowledge. The first one is “scio” (I know), the second one is “cogito” (I think) and the third one is “credo” (I believe). The word Science comes from the first level of knowledge “scio”, which refer to the things I can know. The word conscience is called “conscientia” in Latin, which also means co-knower. In English, it becomes conscience.

This is what God has given us so that we cannot escape from our responsibilities. God told Israel He demands holiness because He is the Holy God. He created us in His image and likeness so we have the potential for holiness. In our Fall He redeemed us in Jesus Christ so that we are made holy and righteous before Him. With Jesus Christ as our perfect example, through the work of the Holy Spirit we continue to sanctify ourselves so that we can live a holy life according to His original design for us.


At 5:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mej, your part 6 got hijack by the casinos ;-(


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