The Safe Guide
“The word I have spoken unto you, the same shall judge you on the last day.”‑Jesus.
Some things allowed of men are condemned of God. God’s thoughts and way of looking at things have ever been at variance with the world’s. “My thoughts are not your thoughts and my ways are not your ways, saith the Lord.” God’s standard and the world’s do not agree. Man looks on those as heroes who have the heroic and sterner qualities of courage, boldness, daring, valor; God’s heroes, while not wanting in the firmer qualities when the occasion demands, glory in the milder virtues, meekness, humility, self‑abnegation, self‑humiliation, self-abasement, self‑renunciation, self‑denial. Big things are chronicled in history. But many of God’s big things are not chronicled and with Him big things are little things, and little things big things, and last things are first things, and first things are last things. The world admires the aggressive man of bold daring. But the man whom God approves must be aggressive only in the Divine order. He must be quiescent until God leads. He may not run before Him, whatever betide. The world chooses the cultured, wise and great. But with God not many mighty, not many wise, not many noble, are called. The world pays homage to the rich. But God hath chosen the poor to be rich in faith. The world favors the man of indomitable will; God delights in wills, strong, not in aggressiveness for self, but in subservience to His will.
With the world it is the mighty; with God not many mighty.
With the world it is the broad way; with God, the narrow way.
With the world it is the wise; with God the foolish.
With the world it is the crowd; with God it is “two or three in His name.”
With the world it is the strong; with God the weak.
With the world outward show; with God inward piety.
With the world it is Dives, the Rich Man; with God, Lazarus, the Beggar.
With the world it is exalted things; with God base things.
With the world it is the exterior; with God interior.
The world’s preacher is the eloquent orator; God’s speaks not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit’s power. The world counts he church strong, which is numerically so; God, when it is pure. The differences might be indefinitely extended. “That which is highly esteemed among men is an abomination to God.” And so we often find men allowing what God condemns and approving what He disproves.
The text sets aside human opinions, ideas, and notions and even the human conscience. In this solemn day the Word of God alone prevails. It is the standard of life, rewards and punishments. But, see, the record of the deeds done in the name of religion through the decisions of Conscience! It is one of the blackest and foulest in the annals of history. Every crime in the catalogue has been done in all good conscience. The bloody perpetrators of the cruel Inquisition thought they were doing God service in suppressing heresy. Paul was living in all good conscience when he was persecuting the saints and consenting to Stephen’s death. But was his conscience therefore right? Far from it. The saloonkeeper plies his wrecking, ruining, blasting, blighting trade in all good conscience because he must live. A man caught in David’s sin, justified himself on the plea he could not be expected to be any better than the man after God’s own heart (as though David was while he was an adulterer). The adulteress, the author of Proverbs, tells us, “wipes her mouth and says: ‘I have done nothing. I am innocent.”‘ Doubtless her conscience does not condemn her because sin is a necessity and poor, weak mortals are unable not to sin? Mrs. ‑ says she feels no condemnation at all from her conscience, and yet every conceivable device is resorted to, to defeat God in the propagation of His race and rob Him of the heritage of the Lord: “Lo, children are the heritage of the Lord and the fruit of the womb is his reward.‑Psalms. Had Mrs. consulted God’s standard for life, death, and judgment.
She would have found God daring to disagree with her conscience in the startling statements: “Thou shalt not kill,” and “Ye know no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.” An official (holiness professor) tells us how God reveals to him permission to practice a sin for which He killed a man in the Old Testament. Is it possible one’s conscience, while professing holiness, may become so seared that he actually believes God justifies him under grace, in a practice, when for the same sin, under law, he punishes a man with death? But still his course must be right ( ?), for his conscience feels all right! Mrs. condemns her husband for the lack of power of the former days and yet she is wholly responsible for causing him to violate his enlightened conscience through a period of years so that she might be selfishly free from the responsibilities of motherhood. Still another recommends the use of a questionable practice, with the same motive because he claims wisdom from God is profitable to direct. Strange indeed, God should advise through Conscience the commission of sin (to avoid God imposed responsibilities), which sin he has threatened to punish with eternal death. Yet all of these parties feel no condemnation from conscience. Truly a convenient type of conscience they possess.
A lady physician testifies (male physicians give similar testimony everywhere): “The number of married women who besiege their offices for criminal operations in making away with unborn life is legion. The startling part of their disclosures is, these same ones are often prominent church members and sometimes hail from the parsonage.”
Truly the hands of Twentieth Century Christianity are stained as Isaiah wrote, “with the blood of innocents.”
And in the face of all this we are told conscience is a safe guide and everything involving personal liberty and choice should be left to the individual’s conscience, and as long as it does not bother, the individual is all right.
Hear the word of the Lord, 0, ye deceived professors:
“HE THAT TURNETH AWAY HIS EAR FROM HEARING THE LAW (of God), EVEN HIS PRAYER (to God) SHALL BE ABOMINATION.”
The simple apparent meaning of this solemn command is this: If a man professes to be a Christian by public prayer, or profession, while at the same time knowingly rejecting the law of God as the rule of his life, or if he rejects the law of God under the pretense his conscience does not condemn him in the things allowed, God informs him his profession and prayer, under these circumstances, are an abomination to Him! This plain, rugged language does not sound much like the individual’s conscience (even of the Twentieth Century intelligent, enlightened stamp) was safe to follow independent of its agreement with God’s law. Alas, alas, for the spiritual blindness which exalts Conscience to the place God’ standard should occupy! Spiritual blindness is evidence of a life that has not kept step with God‑its surest sign is in doing things contrary to the Sacred Record.
What a convenient dodge is the expression, “My conscience does not condemn me!” Men and women violate every command in the decalogue and this is their excuse. Here is one who says his conscience does not bother him for Sabbath desecration, reading yellow journals or doing unnecessary work therein but if he will turn to God’s standard he will find the command, “Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy.” Another claims his conscience does not condemn him for “putting the bottle to his neighbor,” or for voting for the licensed saloon, or for selling body‑poisoning nicotine. But God’s Standard demands the application of the Golden Rule. No one would want his own loved ones drunken, depraved sots, or nicotine fiends. Before avarice, greed, grasp and covetousness seized this poor man’s soul he stoutly condemned in others his present course. Another (professing Christian) receives whiskey for the railroad company and passes it on to others, but because lie must live his conscience does not bother him at all. He claims the sin is the other fellow’s, who ships the accursed stuff ; but the Standard of God has another tale: “Be not a partaker of other men’s sins.” It requires not only that we sin not ourselves but that we aid or abet no one else in his sin. Still another, with reference to faithful stewardship (giving God His share) says: “Oh, I’ll give God what I think I ought to give” and in this his convenient conscience concurs and permits him to feel perfectly right though God’s standard does call him a thief and robber. Nay, brother, what you think you ought is by no means the proper measure, but WHAT GOD SAYS! God’s standard justifies no such procedure. Not only does He plainly call this man a thief and robber who keeps back His tithes and offerings, but John, the beloved, writing under the Spirit’s inspiration, tells us that the robbers (thieves) are without heaven’s gate. Notwithstanding all this, his conscience feels all right. 0, yes! Of course! How could it bother him? It has been stifled so long. He has imbibed the common idea, that it is no crime to rob the Government, the Rail Road Company, Corporation, or God! Yet, “the word God has spoken” unto us has a different voice: “Thou shalt not steal,” and this is applicable equally in all cases. No, something is either wrong with God’s word or this man’s conscience. His conscience conflicts with God’s demands. Let God be true and every man’s (conscience) a liar. Manifestly the word of God, “which liveth and abideth forever,” and by which Jesus in our text, says we are to be judged, is preferable to this man’s seared conscience. If God had said “Our conscience, the same shall judge you in that day,” we could afford to follow it as a safe guide. But, Oh, the surprise in the last day when the “‘Law of Liberty” the “sayings of Jesus” or the word of God is opened and men’s ideas, opinions, notions and theories, and decisions, and consciences are forever set aside and God’s word, which He has exalted above His very name, prevails. Verily, many will be the surprises, as Jesus tells us, in that day.
Here is a young lady (she even professes to be sanctified), and gets hilariously happy and laughs and shouts, but her experience has not gone deep enough yet to shed a $25‑00, gaudy, long, red plume. True, it must be all right. Doesn’t she feel all right in her conscience? and has she not always been taught that it is safe to follow? Of course, she informs us, by way of justification for her ,extravagant practice, that “if she should ever come to ‑feel that she should not wear it, of course, why then, she would take it off.” But see another side of it. It is a waste of God’s money for which she can give no reasonable answer. It is needed for missions and the needy ‑, back of her very door are poor people who do not have even life’s comforts; her waste is money taken from God’s poor‑clothing from their backs, food from their mouths. Of course, while thus she wastes she is not able to hear the cry of the hungry and relieve the needy and distressed. And yet she is following the steps of the self denying, self‑sacrificing Jesus( ?). Observe, she makes the standard of her action, “what she feels;” but what God says concerning the adornment of holy women with “modest apparel, with shame‑facednessand sobriety,” has no weight with her whatever. This fact simply shows, no matter what the emotional blessings or manifestations may be, that she has never been truly awakened to see and embrace the plain word of God as the rule for life. Paul said, “Herein I exercise myself to have always a conscience void of offense toward God and man.” Let it be asked wherein? The context answers: “Believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets.” And herein says Paul, “I exercise, or work myself up to have a conscience void of offense. The apparent meaning is the decisions of his conscience, the things it allowed, were never allowed to be out of harmony, or conflict, with anything written in the law or prophets. He exercised himself always to this end. Not some time, or much of the time, or most of the time, but ALWAYS, ALL OF THE TIME. Not on some things, or many things, or most things, but on ALL THINGS. So does every sincere Christian.