Is Our Conscience Important?

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Is Our Conscience Important?

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Should we strive to maintain a clear conscience after we are baptized?

“Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith” (1 Timothy 1:5 1 Timothy 1:5Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:
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“Therefore you must be subject [to governing authorities], not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake” (Romans 13:5 Romans 13:5Why you must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.
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“For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully” (1 Peter 2:19 1 Peter 2:19For this is thank worthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.
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Will God forgive us if we sin after baptism?

“My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:1-2 1 John 2:1-2 1 My little children, these things write I to you, that you sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our’s only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
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, NRSV; compare 1 John 1:7-9 1 John 1:7-9 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleans us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
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“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9 1 John 1:9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
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We should diligently strive not to sin, especially after we are baptized. But we are not yet perfect beings. As Paul said: “I know that I have not yet reached that goal” (Philippians 3:13 Philippians 3:13Brothers, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth to those things which are before,
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, New Century Version). Therefore, when we genuinely repent of sins committed after baptism, God forgives us just as He does at the time of baptism.

The key lies in our repentant attitude of heart. After having rebuked the members of the Corinthian church for certain ungodly attitudes (1 Corinthians 3:1-4 1 Corinthians 3:1-4 1 And I, brothers, could not speak to you as to spiritual, but as to carnal, even as to babes in Christ. 2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for till now you were not able to bear it, neither yet now are you able. 3 For you are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are you not carnal, and walk as men? 4 For while one said, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are you not carnal?
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), Paul commended them for repenting. “For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it. For I perceive that the same epistle made you sorry, though only for a while. Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing.

“For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter” (2 Corinthians 7:8-11 2 Corinthians 7:8-11 8 For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same letter has made you sorry, though it were but for a season. 9 Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that you sorrowed to repentance: for you were made sorry after a godly manner, that you might receive damage by us in nothing. 10 For godly sorrow works repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world works death. 11 For behold this selfsame thing, that you sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it worked in you, yes, what clearing of yourselves, yes, what indignation, yes, what fear, yes, what vehement desire, yes, what zeal, yes, what revenge! In all things you have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.
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How great are God’s mercy and forgiveness?

“ ‘Come now, and let us reason together,’ says the LORD, ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool’ ” (Isaiah 1:18 Isaiah 1:18Come now, and let us reason together, said the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
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“For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You” (Psalms 86:5 Psalms 86:5For you, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy to all them that call on you.
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King David prayed: “Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions; according to Your mercy remember me, for Your goodness’ sake, O LORD” (Psalms 25:7 Psalms 25:7Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to your mercy remember you me for your goodness’ sake, O LORD.
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). In other psalms he praised God for the kindness and mercy shown him. From David’s words we, too, can learn to appreciate God’s abundant love, mercy and forgiveness.

David writes: “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: who forgives all your iniquities, … who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies” (Psalms 103:2-4 Psalms 103:2-4 2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: 3 Who forgives all your iniquities; who heals all your diseases; 4 Who redeems your life from destruction; who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies;
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“The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy … He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalms 103:8-12 Psalms 103:8-12 8 The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. 9 He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. 10 He has not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. 11 For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. 12 As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
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David continues: “As a father pities his children, so the LORD pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust … But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him … [and] keep His covenant, and to those who remember His commandments to do them” (Psalms 103:13-18 Psalms 103:13-18 13 Like as a father pities his children, so the LORD pities them that fear him. 14 For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust. 15 As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourishes. 16 For the wind passes over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more. 17 But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on them that fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children; 18 To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.
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So great is God’s mercy we also should be able to say, “Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever” (Psalms 118:1-2 Psalms 118:1-2 1 O give thanks to the LORD; for he is good: because his mercy endures for ever. 2 Let Israel now say, that his mercy endures for ever.
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