I have been wanting to write this for a while, as I have been concerned about errors creeping in, even among reformed, and especially among home educators.
Myth number 1: Unbelievers do not have consciences.
Romans 2:14 ' For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)'
There are many in this day who say that there is no such thing as right, and wrong, but with the same breath they decry murder as a horrible sin. This shows the error of their thinking!
The verse in Romans clearly states that we have an inborn sense of right and wrong. We are made in God's image and have His moral principles on our conscience.
However, having said this, it is possible through sin to become hard hearted, and this can lead to a seared conscience, i.e a reprobate who will call evil good, and good evil. They will even glory in their sin. I believe this is what happened to Judas Iscariot. He started with the sin of covetuosness, and stealing; this lead to the betrayal of Jesus, and it was quoted that it would have been better if he hadn't been born. Sad to think of such a thing. I certainly wouldn't have wanted to have been in Judas' shoes.
1 Tim 4:2 'Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;...'
'When sin grows stronger, the conscience grows weaker.' Buchanan.
Of course there are those with weaker or stronger consciences, and those who give excuse for legalism. If something is in the Bible, and it is condemned, then we can be sure it is wrong to do it. However, there are plenty of blurry lines, and that is where it becomes a problem to impose that on others. There is certainly nothing wrong with us giving our arguments for something. We will find as home educators we will often give our reasons, and for my family and I this remains our conscience issue. In some parts of the world home education is banned on the grounds of conscience!!
It is important as believers to never condone, or dumb down sin, we need to call it out for what it is, and offer the Gospel to people. When Paul was stoned in Acts 14, it was because he failed to compromise with the peoples' sin. There was a wonderful healing performed, and the people thought the Apostles must have been gods, and they wanted to sacrifice. He urged them to repent, and gave all the glory to God.
Myth number 2: There is no such thing as greater sin and lesser sin:all sin is the same.
Yes, it is true that sin, and all sin separates us from God. Even in our 'best acts' we can commit sin. However, there are varying degrees of sin, and we will be punished accordingly if we do not have Jesus as our advocate. Only through Jesus' blood sacrifice on the cross, and repentance and trust in Him can we truly be free.
Our whole law system in this country gives degrees of punishment. If you murder you will get a longer punishment, than if you just stole a coat.
John 19:11 ' Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.' Jesus also said that it would be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah than the Jews. Something to think about.
That verse is found in Matthew 10:15.
At the foremost we must always be commanding people to repent. Obviously we have to use our discernment, but it would be wrong to offer people the 'God is love', and an easy believism gospel without mention the Judgment of God. When we are saved, we are first convicted of sin. There are some evangelists who think they can get anyone converted just given enough time, and the right arguments, however it is God who convinces our hearts through his Holy Spirit. We cannot convince anyone, we can only pray that God opens hearts and puts in us the right words, etc.