John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
Yesterday I spoke of outer wars. Today, I will speak on inner wars, especially the war against your own conscience. This is a war we all face—a war I am all too familiar with. It is good to have a conscience, of course. God gave us a conscience and He intends us to use it. Our conscience tells us when we’ve done something wrong and tells us we need to repent and seek recompense. It also tells us when we need to do the right thing over against the wrong thing. Having a conscience is part of what it means to be created in the image of God.
However, as sinners, we also have a fallen conscience. At times, our conscience can be overactive. We will recognise that we have sinned and have done something wrong, and then we will beat ourselves up over it. Our conscience begins to beat the dead horse, saying, “You did something wrong; you did something wrong. Feel guilty; feel guilty. You’re a bad person; you’re a bad person,” no matter how many times you repent and say you’re sorry. This is when the Devil uses our conscience—a gift from God—to work against us so that we might fall into despair.
Yet again, hear Jesus’ words. He gives you peace. He invites you not to be troubled or afraid. Your conscience might convince you that even though you’ve repented, you’re not forgiven. The Devil might even use it to convince you that your sin cannot be forgiven. Both of these are lies. God’s forgiveness is not conditional. The moment you repent, you are forgiven; this is the peace Christ gives you. That is, He gives you peace with God, which is totally unconditional. There are no conditions placed upon His peace; all you need to do is ask, and He gives it to you.