For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus. (Romans 2:14–16, ESV)
Why, in every culture and on every continent, are certain transcendent truths present? Most cultures forbid murder, lying, and stealing, or have a similar form of prohibition. It’s because God’s law is written on the hearts of the human race.
Since the law is written on our hearts, why do we so often end up violating our conscience and so break the law? There are two basic reasons:
- We suppress in unrighteousness the truth God has shown us.
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. (Romans 1:18–19, NIV)
- Continual disobedience causes our conscience to become calloused.
So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.(Ephesians 4:17–19, NIV)
In our relational struggles, we often say, “I don’t know what to do.” But I have to disagree with that notion. You do know what to do, but you may not want to do it or you think you can’t. For instance, the law of God inside you is calling you to be kind, forgive, and show humility. However, in our sinfulness it’s easy to hold those characteristics down in and say the opposite. We are mean; we won’t consider forgiving; we hang onto power and control. As believers in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit directs our conscience. So, let’s be all the more willing to be attentive and walk according to God’s character and standards.
Lord, thank you for showing me the right way. Thank you for teaching me. Your faithfulness is amazing. Help me to follow the Holy Spirit’s nudges. . . . Continue praying.