The purification of the conscience

In his wonderful study, The Conscience – Conquering or Conquered? (Blackwood: New Creation, 1987), Geoffrey Bingham contends that a person ‘cannot displace the creational faculty of the conscience, so he must war with it. He must seek to control its elements which, not being allowed to help man, must now be enlisted – against God – to give him the peace which may only come from true obedience, i.e. true creational functioning. Man then, seeks to control his conscience and re-educate it, even to the point of being enlisted in idolatry’. (pp. 15-6).

Idolatry not only perverts God’s creation, but also demeans God and the idolater. For God to do nothing in the face of such perversion and demeaning is unthinkable. Just as Forsyth argued, for God to do nothing in the face of evil manifested in Germany in the early Twentieth Century would be unimaginable. Judgement is the only possible outcome. So it is on the personal level. Psalms 32:3-4 and 38:1-8 bear witness to the truth that the human conscience refuses to let us off the hook, despite our best efforts to pervert and appease it. Deeply down the nemesis is working. Only perfect obedience from the side of sin will satisfy God and purge the evil rampant in God’s creation. The conscience ever testifies to this, even if the human mind insists otherwise. Satisfaction is a must, and the conscience knows this. The cross alone satisfies the human conscience – and God’s.

So Bingham, this time from Everything in Beautiful Array:

‘The things of which I was deeply ashamed, the things that harrowed my spirit, and that burned their shamefulness into me, are now expending themselves upon this great High Priest who is the true Guilt-Offering, the true Holy Oblation. Into his pure self flow the sin and evil of me, only to be met by such utter purity that the evil dissolves in the pure, the darkness in the light. Pain it all is to him, but effective pain, for it destroys all my evil, all my guilt, and it destroys it wholly until not one fragment remains. There is nothing in me or about me which is evil: no sin remains, no guilt is in my conscience. That conscience has been wholly purified and so has given me the first true sight of the loving God whom now I desire to worship in my purified spirit.’ – Geoffrey C. Bingham, Everything in Beautiful Array (Blackwood: New Creation, 1999), 75.

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