July-August - The Gospel Magazine

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July-August - The Gospel Magazine

The Gospel Magazine 111

How do you reach such hardened consciences, How can they be made to

repent?

God's dealings with conscience

God put those wicked inhabitants of Jerusalem through His mill, and punished

their misdeeds in His deep love, until they saw things differently. He did it by

using Assyria and Babylon to ravage their land and destroy all they valued, and

take them away into captivity. God is doing the same today to those He loves. God

is at work in arousing the consciences of sinners.

Only yesterday I heard of a foremost lawyer, a religious man, whose trial for

fraud in very high places cost the British taxpayer hundreds of thousands, and

who went to prison for nine years. Some three years ago he wrote that he had in

his cell a Bible which he read, and saw for the first time what sort of a man he

really was, and how wrong his religion was. He said he was convicted in his

conscience, was saved, and was witnessing boldly, holding Bible studies in the

prison, helping many of the illiterate prisoners and spending an hour a day in

prayer on his knees. He took pains to emphasize his repentance and confessed

what an evil man he had been in unvarnished terms.

A restored conscience

Isaiah sees into the future. He prophesies that when God has dealt with the

inhabitants of Jerusalem they will be saying out loud "I am sick". They will each

have received light in their consciences and will see themselves as they are - vile,

and go round saying so. God deals with each of us as individuals, as unique

beings, not in the herd. So each one is so driven by this powerful persistent

conscience so as to feel so miserable for his sins that he cries out, "I anl sick".

Suppress conscience as we will, it bursts out.

Once as a boy I was going to a railway station eafJy on an autumn morning, and

saw a heavy paving slab that had been lifted right up. Looking under, I saw that

the cause was a couple of thin, spindly, weak toadstool stems, little thicker than a

pencil lead, that had come up in the night. Such is conscience, it appears so weak,

despicable, under-powered, but it is more powerful than anything else in the world.

It cannot be silenced. An unrenewed conscience costs the taxpayer millions untold.

It fills our doctor's surgeries, our hospital beds, and it disorders lives. It costs

billions in drugs, tranquillisers, psychiatrists, time off work, many forms of

breakdown, and protection against those whose consciences say, "plant a bomb"!

Conscience is the candle of the Lord, and it searches my heart. Like the

inhabitants of Jerusalem, and like that lawyer, the nearer I get to the Lord, the

more it reveals my sin to me, and the worse [ see myself to be, so 1 grow sad.

A contented conscience

However, I know I am forgiven, so I have a happy and contented conscience, a

paradox if ever there was one. How is that? It is because I have understood and

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