Monday, January 9, 2012

Discussions -- Conscience, salvation, and grace

Had some good discussions on Sunday regarding some aspects of Rom 2. Some that stood out to me and would be willing to discuss more are the following.

#1 To what degree can you trust your conscience? (Rom 2:15)
#2 Can one be "saved" even if they've committed no offense? (Rom 2:7,10)
#3 Do we over-emphasize grace? (Rom 2:5-11)

To #1 -- My short answer on this is... see Rom 14. The biblical example of varying conscience regarding meat and special days declares pretty clearly that our conscience, even among Christians, is not objective, consistent and reliable. Not that we should ignore our conscience for that is its own sin (Rom 14:23) but we need to submit and shape our conscience to fit truth rather than fit truth to the whims of our conscience.

To #2 -- Yes, because the judgment we ultimately face is a judgment against mankind as a whole, not just us as individuals. Thus, even if we could (for sake of discussion) live an entire lifetime free of personal sin we are nevertheless 'sinners" positionally by nature and in need of salvation.

To #3 -- In the context of "getting saved" (justification) I think it's impossible to over-emphasize grace since salvation is by no other means than grace through faith. (Eph 2:8,9) It's often confusing in-fact to discuss sanctification in the context of justification because there's a tendency to blur the distinction as do John MacArthur, Ray Comfort, and others who espouse Lordship Salvation.

However, In the context of "living saved" (sanctification) grace CAN be over-emphasized to the point of fostering an antinomian attitude which is just as wrong as legalism. (Rom 6).

1 comment:

  1. More regarding conscience: Our conscience is demonstrably subjective as it can and is shaped through our personal experience apart from objective truth -- it can be either seared through neglect to insensitivity or abused through legalism to regard things as "wrong" that actually aren't. Whether it accuses or excuses us then, our conscience is a subjective guide that is no substitute for the objective morale truth revealed in God's word.

    Another example of our conscience's subjectivity is this: Our conscience is often both used as a vehicle to attack our joy and confidence in Christ, and also through which we seek justification of our actions. I'm sure I'm not alone having seen even Christian brothers/sisters (myself included) do things that are overtly against scripture yet claim "my conscience is clear, I'm at peace" to justify their actions, and this is what I mean by not allowing our conscience to shape truth, but submitting our conscience rather TO truth.