John 8:1-1 KJV
8:1 Jesus went unto the Mount of Olives.
2 And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.
3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,
4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
What is Holy Spirit teaching about the conscience through this recorded incident in Christís life? Letís look closely here for the answer. The conscience is often used in Christian circles synonymously with Holy Spirit as if they are the same thing or function in the same way. This is false. Holy Spirit is not your conscience. Holy Spirit is Christís Spirit living in your spirit which has been regenerated and made holy by God. You (your spirit) must be born-again to be inhabited by Holy Spirit. Every human being has a conscience but every human being is not inhabited by Holy Spirit. The functions of the Holy Spirit differ in many ways from those of the conscience. But if you are not aware of the differences you will be easily misled thinking each one functions the same. Because all human beings have a conscience they can be self-deceived in spiritual matters. The greatest deception and the most costly is that many decent, religious and moral people who possess an active conscience of knowing right from wrong believe they are Christians or born-gain and in truth they are not.
The conscience was at work in these religious men who brought this woman to Christ. Caught in the very act of adultery, her accusers were to stone her according to the law of which they were accustomed.
If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel. Deut 22:22KJV
Examine the motives of the accusers in bringing the woman to Christ. Was their motive to uphold the law, to keep their conscience clear in this matter? No, as their motive was clearly to trap Jesus so they could accuse Him of wrongdoing. In reality the woman was a pawn in their self-righteous scheme to discredit Jesus. If this was really a matter of the law being upheld why then did they not bring the other guilty party? The human conscience is capable of agreeing with the thoughts that both accuse behavior in oneself and others as well as excuse it. In this case the motives of the accusers were wicked and yet their conscience allowed for their behavior.
They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or perhaps excuse them 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus. Rom 2:15-16RSV
Jesus was not caught off-guard in their schemes. He had been on the Mount of Olives as was his habit to go there and pray. Jesus moved by the Spirit of God was able to discern the secrets in their hearts. He only did what His Father showed Him. He did nothing without the Father.
Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. John 5:19KJV
Christís accusers were not born-again. They did not have Holy Spirit within them neither could they function by Holy Spirit. But they surely had a conscience, one that in this case excused their wicked scheme.
As we see further the conscience once activated externally or indirectly is capable of bringing conviction. As Christ stooped to the ground, their consciences were pricked by what Christ wrote in the dust. What He wrote we do not know but whatever it was it grounded them amidst their wrongful acts. I think He wrote each onesí sins and perhaps the names of those of with which they had engaged in adultery. These religionists were disarmed because of what Christ wrote in the dirt. He had exposed the dirt in their own lives and their conscience would not allow them to stone this woman. But it is worthy to note that up until the time that Christ began to write in the dust their conscience was excusing their sinful deed.
Holy Spirit does not accuse or excuse instead He convicts people. Though He never excuses sin, He also never condemns. He convinces people what is right from an inward sense instead of an outward sense. He speaks to your spirit as versus your intellect or mind. As long as people donít know about your sin your conscience will allow you to get away with a lot. You may feel some regret but you will not repent. Holy Spirit inwardly moves so that you do what is right whether people know it or not. You are deeply sorry for your sin and you desire to repent. Repentance is a change of how you think, once this occurs behavior will follow suit and change as well.
Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him. 33 When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them. Acts 5:31-33 KJV
But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance. Acts 26:20KJV
Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. 2 Cor 7:9-10KJV
Multitudes of people make superficial decisions for Christ in a moment of deep regret. They have been caught. They are in crisis of one sort or another. They are being made to feel they need to do something externally by other people and so they cave in to the pressure and accept Christ by praying a prayer of salvation. Their consciences are accusing them. But because they are not being convinced by the Holy Spirit, though they get baptized and say they believe in God they are not born-again because no inward transformation of their spirit has happened. No regeneration of their spirit has occurred only a rededication by their conscience of giving it one more try to do better. This person will not go the distance and will not bear fruit of repentance.