Have you ever eaten a meal where the food was really bad and hours later your gut is still telling you about it? The same thing happens when we force trash into our minds and then cram it down our throats into our heart. We may succeed in getting in there, but it will keep coming back to haunt us for quite some time.
God placed within us a thing called the conscience. Our conscience is supposed to act as our moral compass to keep us from getting into trouble. Our conscience is supposed to be the voice of reason which keeps us from falling into temptation. Our conscience is supposed to be our very best friend in this life.
In the years before we got saved and became acquainted with the truth from God's Word, we developed many bad habits. These habits in due time became locked in our conscience. As great as the conscience is, it can go no further than what it is taught. If a person is continually programmed to believe it is allowable to steal, kill and commit adultery; then the conscience will cease to object to such things as being wrong.
When a person gets saved, the Holy Spirit sets up residence within the heart of that person and spiritually there is a clean and pure conscience found in the "new man". But, the new birth does nothing to alter the old conscience stained by years of wrong teaching and perverted living. A conflict arises soon after a person gets saved as the old nature rebels against the new man found in Christ.
This battle intensifies as aspects of the old are confronted with the truth found in the new. The old nature does not change easily. In fact, it usually goes down kicking and screaming. How many times have believers found themselves engaged in a knock down drag out fight that would make those wrestlers on television proud. This fight between the old perverted way of thinking and the new righteous way of thinking can be very unpleasant.
The Bible speaks of the need to "renew your mind" and this process is found in systematically putting on the new man and allowing it to push out the old. There is an amazing principle that states that when we put on the new man the old man dies. Yet, religion wants to concentrate on trying to change the old man by imposing laws, restrictions and prohibitions on it. Like most criminals, the old nature may grudgingly yield for a season, but will show its ugly face again when allowed.
We cannot change the old nature or the old perverted conscience by dwelling on it. God does not ask us to try and do the impossible. Instead, we are to concentrate on putting on the new man who is created in righteousness and pure holiness. As we bathe our minds with the pure water of God's Word, we will find that new righteous way of thinking permeate and change our conscience into a reflection of God's Word.
In due time, as a believer faithfully keeps putting on the new man via reading and studying God's Word; the conscience becomes that moral compass and friend to keep us on the straight and narrow. Romans chapter 12 talks of the process involved in renewing the mind as a transformation. This metamorphosis is exactly what takes place when a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. Our goal, as children of God, is to so put on the Word of God and in so doing , the new man, that our conscience undergoes a metamorphosis and is changed from an ugly worm into a beautiful butterfly.
It is never easy renewing the mind to think as God does, but the reward are great if done faithfully. The old nature will always fight and Romans 7 speaks of this as carrying around a dead body. This is because that old nature is already spiritually dead. But, in due season it is available to so renew (change) the mind to think in alignment with God's Word that the old nature ceases to be anything more than excess weight to drag around.
The purpose in spending time daily reading, studying and learning God's Word is so that the light and truth of God's Word seeps into our heart and ultimately changes our conscience. The cleansed conscience is the ultimate goal of any believer who wants to be found faithful and able to walk in fellowship with God for any length of time.
So, if we want to enjoy the benefits of a cleansed conscience functioning as the moral compass and still small voice of reason; we must faithfully keep cleaning it with the pure truth of God's Word. This simple truth allows us to walk righteously before God.
Thanks B2Y for explaining Romans 7 and 8 in clear language of our day.
The sad part of the Christian struggle is that when we allow the carnal nature to show, it impacts on our Christian witness and also on our personal spiritual growth.
2.When Christians find ourselves acting in our old nature too often
O may the Lord help us realize that
-He promises us victory, and we must avail ourselves of it constantly with the help of the Holy Spirit
O for grace to love Him more.
When I was working with teens who belonged to a Christian theatre company, we would always say "Garbage in, garbage out. Perhaps we need to take a closer look at what we're consuming. I have a feeling that if we were to "watch what we eat", we'd find ourselves in much better spiritual condition and that spills out into all areas of our lives.
Excellent post my brother. Amen, we truly are cleansed and purified with the washing of water by the Word. Your writings truly are a blessing to us.