READ : Romans 2:12-16
. . . what the law requires is written on their hearts, to which their own conscience also bears witness. (v. 15)
The jury had reentered the trial room. As the foreman read the verdict (“Guilty, your honor”), all eyes focused on the defendant. He stood there stone-faced and slowly shook his head, as if to say, “I can’t believe they convicted me.” He showed no remorse.
Where was this man’s conscience? Doesn’t everyone have a conscience? Can’t you “let your conscience be your guide”? For the vast majority of us the answer is yes, but some people’s consciences are so warped that they excuse rather than accuse them. Such people have no sense of wrongdoing.
In Romans 2 Paul continues his description of how sin works throughout the human race, affecting both Gentiles and Jews. One piece of evidence he musters for the universality of sin is the fact of human conscience. Everyone—well, almost everyone—has an innate sense of right and wrong. Thus, we all know we have a problem with sin that we must deal with. Someday we must give account to God for our sin, not only because of what his law says, but because of how our own consciences accuse us.
The only acceptable response to sin is repentance and turning to Jesus for forgiveness. Only this can quiet a guilty conscience.
God, my sins are ever before me; cleanse me through the blood of Jesus. Amen.