as opposed to the seared conscience.
“Advancing God’s work,”
he says, comes by faith,
and love “comes from a pure heart
and a good conscience and a sincere faith”
(1 Timothy 1:4–5).
A good conscience has the capability
to tell right from wrong
and is free from guilt.
A person with a good conscience maintains his integrity.
He enjoys fellowship with those who
"walk in the light, as [Jesus] is in the light”
(1 John 1:7).
The lies of the devil are anathema to
the one with a good conscience.
Rather than follow the lies of apostates,
he will “fight the battle well, holding on to faith and a good conscience”
(1 Timothy 1:18–19).
The New Testament concept of conscience
is more individual in nature and involves three major truths.
First, conscience is a God-given capacity for human
beings to exercise self-evaluation.
Paul refers several times to his own conscience being “good” or “clear”
(Acts 23:1; 24:16; 1 Corinthians 4:4).
Paul examined his own words and deeds and found them
to be in accordance with his morals and value system,
which were, of course, based on God’s standards.
His conscience verified
the integrity of his heart.
Second, the New Testament
portrays the conscience as a witness to something.
Paul says the Gentiles have consciences that bear witness to the presence of the law of God written on their hearts,
even though they did not have the Mosaic Law (Romans 2:14-15).
He also appeals to his own conscience as a witness that
he speaks the truth
and that he has conducted himself in holiness
and sincerity in his dealings with men
(2 Corinthians 1:12).
He also says that his conscience tells him his actions are apparent to both God and the witness of other men’s consciences (2 Corinthians 5:11).
Third, the conscience is a servant
of the individual’s value system.
An immature or weak value system
produces a weak conscience, while
a fully informed value system produces
a strong sense of right and wrong.
In the Christian life,
one’s conscience can be driven by an
inadequate understanding of scriptural truths
and can produce feelings of guilt and shame
disproportionate to the
issues at hand.
Maturing in the faith strengthens the conscience.
This last function of the conscience is what Paul addresses in his instructions regarding eating food sacrificed to idols.
He makes the case that,
since idols are not real gods,
it makes no difference if food has been sacrificed to them or not.
But some in the Corinthian church were weak in their understanding and believed that such gods really existed.
These immature believers were horrified at the thought of eating food sacrificed to the gods,
because their consciences were informed
by erroneous prejudices and superstitious views.
Therefore, Paul encourages those more mature
in their understanding
not to exercise their freedom to eat
if it would cause the consciences of
their weaker brothers to condemn their actions.
The lesson here is that, if our consciences are clear
because of mature faith and understanding,
we are not to cause those with weaker consciences
to stumble by exercising
that comes with a stronger conscience.
The word of God tells us that the
will convict the world of sin
To help us understand what the conviction of sin is,
we can look at what it is not.
First, it is not simply a guilty conscience or even shame over sin.
Such feelings are naturally experienced by almost everyone.
But this is not true conviction of sin.
Second, conviction of sin is not a sense of trepidation
or a foreboding of divine punishment.
These feelings, too, are commonly experienced
in the hearts and minds of sinners.
But, again, true conviction of sin is something different.
Third, conviction of sin is not merely knowledge of right and wrong;
it is not an assent to Scripture’s teaching about sin.
Many people read the Bible and are fully aware that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). They may know that “no immoral, impure or greedy person . . . has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God” (Ephesians 5:5). They may even agree that “the wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God” (Psalm 9:17).
Yet, for all their knowledge, they continue to live in sin. They understand the consequences, but they’re far from being convicted of their sins.
The truth is,
if we experience nothing more than a pang of conscience, anxiety at the thought of judgment, or an academic awareness of hell, then we have never truly known the conviction of sin.
So, what is real conviction, the kind the Bible speaks of?
The word convict is a translation
of the Greek word elencho,
which means “to convince someone of the truth;
to reprove; to accuse, refute,
or cross-examine a witness.”
The Holy Spirit acts as a prosecuting attorney
who exposes evil,
and convinces people that they need a Savior.
To be convicted is to feel the sheer loathsomeness of sin.
This happens when we’ve seen God’s beauty, His purity and holiness, and when we recognize that sin cannot dwell with Him
When Isaiah stood in the presence of God, he was
immediately overwhelmed by his own sinfulness:
"Woe to me! . . . I am ruined!
For I am a man of unclean lips . . .
and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty”
To be convicted is to experience an utter dreadfulness of sin. Our attitude toward sin becomes that of Joseph who fled temptation, crying out, “How could I do this great evil and sin against God?”
We are convicted when we become
mindful of how much our sin dishonors God.
When David was convicted by the Holy Spirit, he cried out, “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight” (Psalm 51:4). David saw his sin primarily as
an affront to a holy God.
We are convicted when we become intensely aware
of the wrath it exposes to our souls
(Romans 1:18; Romans 2:5).
When the Philippian jailer fell at the apostles’ feet and cried, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” he was under conviction
He was certain that, without a Savior, he would die.
When the Holy Spirit convicts people of their sin,
He represents the righteous judgment of God
There is no appeal of this verdict.
The Holy Spirit not only convicts people of sin,
but He also brings them to repentance
(Acts 17:30; Luke 13:5).
The Holy Spirit brings to
light our relationship to God.
The convicting power of the Holy Spirit
opens our eyes to our sin and
opens our hearts to receive His grace
We praise the Lord for the conviction of sin.
Without it, there could be no salvation.
No one is saved apart from the Spirit’s convicting and regenerating work in the heart.
The Bible teaches that all people are by nature rebels against God
and hostile to Jesus Christ.
They are “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). Jesus said, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him” (John 6:44).
Part of that “draw” to Jesus is the conviction of sin.
Psalm 89:5–7 says, “The heavens praise your wonders, LORD, your faithfulness too, in the assembly of the holy ones. For who in the skies above can compare with the LORD? Who is like the LORD among the heavenly beings? In the council of the holy ones God is greatly feared; he is more awesome than all who surround him.” These verses present a divine council: heavenly beings referred to as “the council of the holy ones.”
Psalm 82:1 also indicates that
“God has taken his place in the divine council”
(Psalm 82:1, ESV)
The “divine council” is also called the “great assembly”
“heaven’s court” (NLT),
and “His own congregation” (NASB).
This divine council could also be referenced in Nehemiah 9:6,
“You alone are the LORD; You have made heaven, The heaven of heavens, with all their host, The earth and everything on it, The seas and all that is in them, And You preserve them all. The host of heaven worships You”
The “host” of the “heaven of heavens” are most likely angelic beings.
God is the Lord of hosts (Psalm 24:10; Isaiah 44:6). The God who presides in the heavenly council is sovereign over all,
including the spiritual beings
in His divine council.
Other passages of Scripture describe scenes that could be interpreted as a meeting of the divine council. In Job 1:6, a conclave is held in heaven: “One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord.” In 1 Kings 22:19, the prophet Micaiah relates a vision: “I saw the Lord sitting on his throne with all the multitudes of heaven standing around him on his right and on his left.” Micaiah goes on to describe how the spiritual beings there suggested various means of accomplishing God’s will, and God chose one spirit to carry out the task.
In Daniel 4:17,
the angels present a decision made by the divine council:
“This decision is by the decree of the watchers, and the sentence by the word of the holy ones, in order that the living may know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, gives it to whomever He will, and sets over it the lowest of men” (NKJV).
The divine council was in God’s presence
and was given the task of deciding Nebuchadnezzar’s judgment
and communicating the verdict to Daniel in a dream.
God does not need a divine council to give Him ideas or to approve His decisions.
He is the omniscient God Almighty.
In His wisdom, God has created a divine council
to stand in His presence and graciously allows them
to participate in various judgments and decrees.
It is a wonder that God allows created beings to be privy to His ways and even have input in His plan.
The divine council is privileged to participate in God’s plans, and, to an extent, so are we:
“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16). And God chooses to use us as ministers of reconciliation in the sharing of the gospel: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”
(Matthew 28:18–19; cf. 2 Corinthians 5:18).
"The testimony of Jesus is the
spirit of prophecy”
' book of Revelation is a book of prophecy given by Jesus Christ
The term revelation refers to a revealing
or the making known of something
that was previously unknown.
Revelation is like pulling back a veil
to show what’s behind it or
unwrapping a present to see what’s inside.
What is prophecy, then?
Simply put, prophecy is communication
from God to mankind.
Some prophecy can be speaking of future events,
and other prophecy might not be.
Prophets were utilized as a mouthpiece for God--
they listened to God and then conveyed God’s message to the masses.
Some examples of prophets are Elijah, Isaiah, Moses, and Jonah.
In the context of Revelation 19:10, John has seen the fall of the evil world system called Babylon the Great (Revelation 18). A great multitude in heaven is celebrating and singing praise to God because of that judgment
and because it is now time for the wedding supper of the Lamb
An angel says to John,
"Blessed are those who are
invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!”
At this proclamation, John falls to worship
at the feet of the angel who is communicating this prophecy,
but the angel insists John rise to his feet,
for he is but “a fellow servant”
(Revelation 19:10; cf. Colossians 2:18).
In response to John’s wrongful worship, the angel says, “See that you do not do that! . . . Worship God!
For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:10, NKJV). It is critical to understand that this statement is a response to John’s intention to worship the angel. Because of the construction of the clause in the original language (Greek), there are three common understandings of the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy:
Following the angel’s command to John,
we ought to worship God alone.
We are to worship not the purveyor of the message
but the Source of the message.
(cf. John 17:3; 1 Timothy 1:17; 6:15; 1 Samuel 7:4).
The name Faithful and True
expresses the total trustworthiness, reliability,
and constancy of Jesus Christ.
The title reveals His character and
makes known His words and works.
In Revelation 19:11, John sees a vision of Jesus as the exalted King of kings leaving heaven to return to earth: “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war.”
This picture of Christ’s second coming at the end of the age
shows Jesus no longer as the peaceful,
humble servant riding on a lowly donkey
Now He is the victorious King,
charging forth like a conquering war general,
leading His troops into battle
In this vivid portrayal, John identifies Jesus by four different titles, beginning with Faithful and True. It is the first and only time this name of Jesus appears in Scripture. The second title is unknown to us (Revelation 19:12); the third is the Word of God (verse 13); the fourth is King of kings and Lord of lords (verse 16).
The word for “Faithful” in the original language means “characterized by steadfast affection or allegiance,” and the word translated “True” means “truthful or characterized by expressing the truth.” The nature of Jesus Christ—His whole being—exudes faithfulness and truth. Earlier, in Revelation 3:14, Jesus called Himself the “faithful and true witness” in His letter to the church in Laodicea. Faithful and True is who Jesus Christ is.
In His first coming to earth,
Jesus proved Himself to be faithful to the mission
and will of God His Father: “I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do” (John 17:4; see also John 5:30; Hebrews 3:6; Luke 4:43). Never once did the Lord give in to the temptation to sin (Hebrews 4:15–16), from the time Satan tempted Him in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1–11; Mark 1:12–13; Luke 4:1–13) until His death on the cross (Matthew 16:21–23; 26:36–44; Mark 8:31–33; 14:32–42; Luke 22:40–46).
From the day Isaiah foretold His coming,
Christ’s faithfulness was known
(Isaiah 11:5; 42:3).
As a young man (Luke 2:49) and throughout His ministry, Jesus was a faithful and obedient servant to His Father God (John 4:34; 6:38; 8:29; 12:27; 14:31). Jesus is consistently the same “yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). Others will wear out, change, or perish, but Jesus Christ remains the same for all eternity (Hebrews 1:11–12).
Jesus, who said, “I am the way and the truth and the life,”
is the very embodiment of truth
He came from His Father “full of grace and truth”
And His promise of eternal life is true:
“Truly, truly, I say to you,
whoever hears my word and believes him who sent
me has eternal life.
He does not come into judgment,
but has passed from death to life”
(John 5:24, ESV; see also John 6:47).
Because of the fidelity inherent in His character,
Jesus is faithful toward His followers in every circumstance.
“If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself,”
declares 2 Timothy 2:13
see also Matthew 28:20; 2 Thessalonians 3:3; Hebrews 10:23
Faithful and True
is a fitting title for Jesus Christ our King,
and He calls His followers to
emulate His faithfulness and truth
(Revelation 14:12; Hebrews 10:23).
The entire book of Revelation conveys a message to the church of Jesus Christ to be faithful and true,
just as He is Faithful and True.
In Revelation 19:11,
when John sees the gates of heaven open,
the One who has been Faithful and True from ages past
appears at the end of time to wage His final battle.
Jesus Christ comes with justice to judge and wage war, and
He will triumph over the enemies of God!
The outcome is sure because He is Faithful and True.
He will do what He has promised to do.
He shall defeat the devil once and for all.
He will destroy the power of death,
wiping away every sorrow,
tear, and pain from the hearts
of His devoted followers
(Isaiah 25:8; 1 Corinthians 15:54; Hebrews 2:14; Revelation 20:14).