CONSCIENCE AND FELLOWSHIP
The following verse shows us the relationship between the conscience and man’s fellowship with God in the intuition. "How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" (Heb. 9:14). If man wants to fellowship with God and "serve God," his conscience must first be cleansed by the precious blood. Because the conscience of the believer is cleansed by the Lord’s blood, he is regenerated. Therefore, according to the Bible, the cleansing by the blood and the regeneration of the spirit happen at the same instant. The conscience must be cleansed by the blood so that a believer can obtain a new life and have his intuition quickened; then he may serve God. The spirit can only serve God in the intuition if the conscience receives the cleansing of the blood first. The relationship between the conscience and the intuition cannot be separated.
Hebrews 10:22 says, "Let us come forward to the Holy of Holies with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water." When we come forward to God, we do not use our bodies like those in the Old Testament, because our Holy of Holies (v. 19) is in the heavens; neither do we use our thoughts and feelings because these parts of the soul cannot have fellowship with God. Only the regenerated spirit can come forward to God. The believer can only worship God through his revived intuition (we have said this in the past). This verse of the Bible shows that washing away the offenses of the conscience is the foundation for fellowship with God in the intuition; if the conscience is conscious of any offense, there cannot be any fellowship with God in the intuition. If the conscience has any offense, a believer will spontaneously condemn himself. Then the intuition, which is closely knit with the conscience, is immediately affected. The believer therefore dares not, and cannot, draw near to God. Moreover, when the believer is fellowshipping with God, there cannot be a lack of "a true heart in full assurance of faith." Once the conscience has any offense, the believer will draw near to God with reluctance and not out of a true heart; naturally, he will not be able to believe that God is for him, and that He has nothing against him. This type of self-condemnation and doubting oppresses the intuition so that it cannot freely have fellowship with God. The believer must not have any condemnation from the conscience at all. He should know that he has already been washed of his sins by the blood of the Lord, and that there is nothing to oppose him (Rom. 8:33-34). A tiny offense in the conscience is sufficient to oppress, hinder, and stop the work of fellowship by the intuition. Whenever a believer is conscious of any sin, all of the spirit’s power is concentrated on getting rid of this particular sin, and there is no strength to go outward or ascend toward heaven.
THE CONSCIENCE OF THE BELIEVER
After the spirit of the believer has been regenerated, his conscience is made alive. The precious blood of the Lord Jesus has purified the conscience so that the conscience is clean, possessing the sharpest feeling, and able to work according to the will of the Holy Spirit. The sanctifying and renewing work of the Holy Spirit in man and the work of the conscience are mutually related and interconnected. If the believer wants to be filled by the Holy Spirit, wants to be sanctified, wants his life to fit into God’s purpose, and wants to walk fully according to the spirit, he cannot ignore the voice of the conscience. If we do not give the conscience the position it deserves, we definitely will fall into the position of walking according to the flesh. Being faithful in dealing with the conscience is the first step in the work of sanctification. Walking according to the conscience is a sign of real spirituality. If a fleshly believer does not allow the conscience to do a thorough job, he has no way of entering into the spiritual realm. Even if a man thinks of himself as being spiritual, his spirituality is without foundation. If sins and the things which are not according to God’s purpose and do not befit the saints’ proper conduct are not dealt with, according to the voice of the conscience, then a spiritual foundation has not been properly laid. No matter how many spiritual ideals are built upon it, they will eventually collapse.
The work of the conscience is to testify to us whether we are right with God and men, and whether our deeds, thoughts, and words are according to God’s will and not in rebellion against Christ. Whenever there is progress in the Christian life, the testimony of the conscience and the testimony of the Holy Spirit are almost identical. When the conscience is completely controlled by the Holy Spirit, the conscience becomes keener day by day until it matches the speaking of the Holy Spirit. Moreover, the Holy Spirit also speaks to the believers through the conscience. This is the meaning of the words of the apostle: "My conscience bearing witness with me in the Holy Spirit" (Rom. 9:1).
If our conscience testifies that we are wrong, then we are wrong. If the conscience condemns us of sins, we must repent immediately. We definitely cannot cover up or bribe the conscience. "If our heart blames us, it is because God is greater than our heart" (1 John 3:20). Will God not condemn us even more? The condemnation of the conscience tells us that we are wrong. Whatever our conscience condemns is definitely condemned by God as well. There is certainly no such thing as the righteousness of God being less than the standard of our conscience. Therefore, if our conscience tells us that we are wrong, we must certainly be wrong.
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 13: The Spiritual Man (2), Chapter 7, by Watchman Nee)