RE-FORMATION THESES #35-37
Thesis #35 of 95 – In taking heed to conscience one is effectively responding to something or Someone superior to oneself
Thesis #36 of 95 – Conscience is therefore a sufficient object of faith, being man’s positive response to the divine revelation he has received
Thesis #37 of 95 – Those who defer to the dictates of their conscience are exercising a form of godly fear
Heb11:6 Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for the one who comes to God must believe that He exists, and that He proves to be One who rewards those who seek Him
Rom2:15 (Gentiles] demonstrate the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience testifying and their thoughts either accusing or else defending (a particular action)
Ps51:5 I was formed in iniquity and in sin did my mother conceived me
Conscience is the eluded medium of effectual common grace and pertains to the human’s spirit, also largely eluded since the time of Augustine. Conscience pertains to natural law, and in the absence of a personal knowledge of Jesus Christ is “the impression of a divine Light within us, a participation of the eternal law in the rational creature” [ref#1]. As such, conscience as the universal revelation of God, anterior to the Gospel and supreme over all other human faculties provides everyone with “a clear and sufficient object of faith” [ref#2]. The quotations are from an earlier and far more scholarly Calvinist-turned-Catholic, John Henry Newman (pictured) – and he was right. For “faith” in its essence is man’s positive response to what has been revealed to him from God, be it innately through his spiritual faculties or religiously through a creed. Either way, one comes to discern the nature of right and wrong and senses a benefit in practicing the former to be at peace with oneself. As Newman also observed, the cardinal truth that conscience teaches is that God rewards the good and punishes the wayward; again, a facet of faith as the bible defines it (Heb11:6).
The faculty derives from the fact that the human spirit is created in God’s image and has been enlightened by Christ (Jn1:9KJV). In contrast, the vessel that temporarily houses our spiritual essence is drawn to worldly lust like a magnet. For unlike the God-given spirit it was conceived in sin and shaped in iniquity (Ps51:5). But by habitually taking heed to the dictates of conscience, the soul/spirit is responding to something greater than itself. Hence such a person is regarded as exercising faith in God and so is justified through the merits of Christ’s atonement. For by habitually taking heed to the dictates of conscience, the soul/spirit is effectively relating positively to something, ultimately to Someone superior to itself. Hence the person is regarded as exercising faith in God and so is justified through the merits of Christ’s faithfulness (Note#1).
#1 John Henry Newman: “Grammar of Ascent” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammar_of_Assent
#1 Greek: “ek pisteos Christou” – as in Rom3:22, Gal2:16; Gal3:22, where it is usually (wrongly) translated as if referring to a believer’s faith in Christ rather than Christ’s own faithfulness (to His redemptive mission).
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