Fighting for a Clean Conscience

I just posted an excerpt from John Ensor’s The Great Work of the Gospel: How We Experience God’s Grace. It’s an encouraging read that I needed. I commend it to you. Here is a portion of that excerpt:


Not that this sense of liberty is always there and never flags. It surely does. One problem is that our conscience is not sufficiently informed about the gospel. It needs training in righteousness. In terms of human experience, we must often “reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart” (1 John 3:19-20). I take this to mean that we need to bring the work of God in Christ to bear on our stubborn conscience. We must grasp the truth of the cross and wrestle our conscience into alignment and conformity. We must instruct our conscience about the cross until our conviction of guilt gives way to joy and confidence. Hebrews 10:22 calls this having “our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil [burdened] conscience.”

When my conscience condemns and blocks the way to God, I must be ready to stand on the truth of the gospel and contend for my faith.

By faith, I look to the heavens and shout, “Oh happy day!”

Conscience shouts back, “I object.”

I reply, “On what basis?”

Conscience says, “You did such-and-such. How can you possibly think God does not see it?”

I admit, “I will not deny the facts, and God knows the tears that have been shed over it. But I ask, ‘Was it or was it not a sin for which Christ died?'”

Conscience demurs, “Well, yes.”

My faith takes the offensive, “If yes, was it or was it not paid in full?”

Conscience pauses, “I withdraw the objection.”

Faith presses further, “And should you not also rejoice with me?”

Conscience is awestruck by the all-sufficiency of the cross. And faith says, then let us draw near to God and say, “Thank You, Father, for paying for that awful sin my conscience has just brought to mind. I rejoice all the more deeply in your loving-kindness.”

We can truly say, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). Such is the cleansing power of the cross, when grasped by faith, on a stained conscience.


Some things, such as dandelions, never seem to go away for good. Shame and guilt can be like that. They constantly reassert themselves and keep us from experiencing the joy of a “good conscience toward God” (1 Peter 3:21, NIV). What makes persistent shame a serious problem is that it belies a persistent unbelief in the sufficiency of Christ to atone for our guilt. It calls the truth of the gospel into question. And that is a serious matter.

Read the whole excerpt.

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