Roy E. Cogdill
(A sermon delivered at the Lufkin, Texas, Church of Christ, Oct. 12, 1947.)
One of the common problems that confronts people today in the living of the Christian life is the problem that has sometimes been put in the term of "Worldliness." I'd like to call it Christian Recreation, and view it more from the positive side than from the other. Let us consider the question: What kind of recreation is permissible in the Christian life? What can a Christian do in the way of entertainment, or recreation, without sinning?
I am conscious as I study this question with you upon this occasion that there are a number of personal questions and problems, perhaps, in the minds of everyone of us concerning the very things that we should talk about, and also that there are, perhaps, upon the part of everyone of us questions that are due to personal relationships that are sustained. But the answer to this problem and the solution to it cannot be determined upon the 'basis of personal relationships any more than any other question of the truth. It isn't a question of likes or dislikes. It isn't a question of preference or anything of that kind. It is not a question of any grudge that we might bear, because that does not have anything to do with determining the right or the wrong of any matter. It is purely and only a question of how I may determine whether or not a practice that is before me in life, about which I have to render a decision, can be engaged in without violating any principle of God's righteousness. If it does violate a principle of righteousness, then it is wrong. To engage in it will condemn me whether I like to do it, or do not like it; whether it is a matter of preference with me or principle. Principles of righteousness violated determine sin. You and I need constantly to keep ourselves concerned with whether or not we are living in keeping with the principles of the righteousness of God. If we do, we are pleasing in God's sight. Otherwise, we stand condemned, and rob ourselves of the hope of heaven after a while.
A lot of people want to determine the question of where they can go and what they can engage in purely upon the basis of what they like. I know a man who thinks that a football game is born of the devil, but a rodeo was sent down from heaven. He doesn't like one, but he does like the other. He tries to determine whether they are right or wrong upon the basis of his own attitude toward it, and of course, that doesn't determine anything with reference to its being right or wrong. Whether I like it or don't like it, that ought to be simply put out of my mind as I try to reach a solution to this problem that perhaps confronts people as universally who are interested in doing right as any other problem that might be thought about.
Then there are those who have the idea that if they can get somebody's approval for the things they want to do, that if they can simply get somebody to say that it is all right, that that would make the thing entirely permissible and acceptable. They go about asking people, "What do you think about this?" Or, "What do you think about that?" Frequently that question is raised without an honest and sincere, earnest desire upon the part of the individual who asks for information. More often when we ask, "What do you think about it," we are asking for approval. We simply want somebody to approve the thing that we want to do. We are seeking for self-justification. I know of a man who went to the preacher of a certain Texas church not 'too' long ago, and ask of him that he get the elders together so that he might talk to them. The preacher was a little interested in what the man had in mind. He came to find out that the man had this in his mind. He had divorced his wife. He wanted to marry again, and he wanted to get the consent or approval of the elders of the church to do so. The preacher told him that the elders of the church did not have any jurisdiction in the matter, that they were not legislators, and what they said about it would not have anything to do with its being right or wrong. The man said, "I thought that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every Word can be established." His idea was that if I could just get two or three to agree, and to approve the thing that I want to do, that would make it right, no matter what God said about it.
The popularity of a thing, the fact that everybody is practicing it does not mean that it is right. It might be the most popular practice in town. Every civic club in town might sponsor it and approve it, and it might meet with the approval of all of the people in town, and yet it might be utterly wrong in the sight of God. If a practice violates the principles of God's righteousness it is wrong, even though the whole world does approve it. Getting the approval of the world would not alleviate the wrong that would be done, or eliminate it to the least degree. The fact of the whole matter is that popular approval is more often on the side of wrong doing than it is on the side of right doing. To prove that it is acceptable in the sight of the world would more often prove that 'it is wrong in the sight of 'God, for the Bible teaches that friendship with the world is enmity against God,
I need to recognize this: that the only way by which the solution can be found, the only way that the problem can be solved, in my mind and correctly, actually and truly, is to learn what are the principles of righteousness that govern me in the decision that I shall make. It isn't a question of what I want, or what I prefer. It isn't a question of what somebody else might approve. It isn't even a question of what somebody, like the preacher of the church or the elders of the church might tell me is right. They have not the authority to act as legislators in such matters, but the question is: 'What has God said about it? How may I determine for myself what is right or wrong?
Back when bobbed hair was first becoming common among the ladies, there was a certain woman who wrote a certain preacher, and she raised the question: Is it right for a woman to bob her hair? And along with it she wanted to know about bridge playing. Is it right for a woman to bob her hair and play bridge? She put down at the bottom of the letter a footnote, and the footnote read like this. She said: "Please understand that I want to do both." She was afraid that he might misunderstand what she was asking for. And that is the disposition that people frequently have in asking questions of that kind.
I stayed in a very nice home one time during a meeting, and the lady in that home asked me the question before I had been there very long what I thought about playing bridge, She told me she was a member of a Tuesday Bridge Club among the ladies of the town, that each one of them paid in weekly dues, and that out of these weekly dues, the prize was bought, and that prize was given to the winner. She was not asking for information that I could give her, but she was asking for approval. That's one meeting I held in which I actually lost weight, and didn't get enough to eat during the rest of the meeting, because she was displeased with the answer that I gave. I found out a long time ago that people are not always asking for information when they ask you about a thing. What we need to do, instead of seeking the approval of somebody for the things that we are interested in, and about which problems arise, is simply study the word of God. There are those who are pleased to make rules for us along this line. There are those who have the attitude and the idea that it is all right for the preacher to decide, fix out a schedule for us, and tell us where we can go and where we can't go. Likewise, for the elders to tell us where we can go and where we cannot go, and that that settles and determines the matter once and for all. It doesn't settle anything. The elders and the preacher have no more right to write for you a creed to live by than they do to write for you a creed to teach by, or believe by. It is as essential and necessary for God to decide the one as it is for God to decide the other. God's word and God's will then is the ruling factor in all problems of this kind.
When we begin to think about questions of worldliness, and what is right and what is wrong, we need to remember that God has not specifically legislated with reference to all the many things about which questions might arise in our minds and hearts. He has not decreed that we cannot do this, and we cannot do that the Bible would be so voluminous if God had undertaken to deal with every problem and with all of the questions that arise, it would be too voluminous even for us to read it in a lifetime, much less to remember all that it might say. If a man memorized every statute that the legislature wrote, and failed to discern, understand, and appreciate the principles of law, even if he did know the law, about every time that the legislature met it would repeal about 90 percent of everything that he knew, and he'd be left utterly stranded again. Principles are the important thing. Frequently people say, "Where has God prohibited the matter? Where has God said that it is wrong? 'Where does the Bible teach that it is right?" They expect God to deal specifically with all of the various questions that arise, and to either directly authorize it, or to directly disapprove and prohibit. We need to remember that the Bible has not been written upon that kind of a basis. God has revealed His word upon the basis of principles, and it is up to us to learn the principles, and make the proper application of them in our own lives, individually and personally.
What are some of the principles? We are interested in finding out, in getting into our minds and upon our hearts the principles of God's righteousness, which, if properly applied will solve the problem along this line for us. It doesn't matter to what they might be applied, the principles are the same. It doesn't matter whether you apply them to a game of tiddly winks, or to dancing, or drinking, or whatever else you might apply them to. The same principles will solve every problem that arises and will help you to determine for yourself individually as God intends for you to do exactly whether or not a thing is right or wrong.
The first principle that I want you to think with me about and remember is this: Does it destroy your identity as a Christian by causing you to be regarded as of the world? Does it classify you with the world instead of with Christ and the church? Whatever the practice may be, it doesn't matter to what you give it application, the question that will help you, one question that will help you to determine whether or not that practice is right or wrong is: Does it classify me with the world? Will it destroy my influence as a Christian? Will it cause people to classify me with the world instead of with Christ and the church?
Now there are a lot of things that would be very definite in their effect from that point of view. For example: If you were to see a man drinking liquor, I don't care what kind or where, if you 'were to see a man drinking liquor, you wouldn't think: "Now that man must be a Christian!" It simply would not have that effect. The effect that it would have would be this: That man belongs to the world. That man is not serving Christ, that man is not a servant of God. That man is not a child of God. That man, if he is a Christian, if he professes to be a Christian, if he is a member of the church, is not very sincere in it. He isn't living up to it. And so if you thought of him in connection with Christianity and the church at all, it would be by way of reflection upon it, casting a cloud upon the church as 'a result of the thing that he practiced.
The same thing would be true of gambling. If you were to see a man gambling, it would not make any difference what the circumstances were, it wouldn't make any difference what the stakes were, do you know that the principle is the same whether it is a 5c slot machine, or a two dollar bet on a horse race, or a ten dollar bet on a baseball or football game, or a thousand dollar bet on the election. It doesn't matter. The principle of gambling is the same whatever the amount of the stakes is. And it is rather astonishing to me, in spite of the fact that everyone recognizes gambling has always belonged to the devil's crowd. It has always belonged to the world. It has always been identified with sin and unrighteousness, and never with Christ and the church. Yet people today are caused to look lightly upon it, and the practice is becoming more and more common in places of respectability, in high places among us. Various civic organizations think nothing about raffling off a car, or gambling sums of money, somewhere and in some way, and get out and expect the business people of the town, even those who respect the Lord and who are inclined to do his will, to buy a chance on an automobile, or a chance at something else. It hasn't been very long ago since two young ladies, down in the center of Lufkin in the business district, stopped and asked me if I would like to make some kind of a contribution to a bingo game. They were to have a bingo table at a school carnival, and by playing bingo and giving away prizes to those who held the lucky numbers, they were to raise money for a certain thing. Now what is the difference between that and a roulette wheel? What is the difference in that and a gambling casino, or any other kind of gambling? What would be the difference between taking a chance in a bingo game where I get some kind of prize, and taking a chance in a poker game? What would be the difference in the principle? The difference is exactly none. Gambling is wrong. It has always been wrong, and never has it been looked upon with any respectability whatsoever upon the part of those who love the Lord and are members of the church. The attitude of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ toward it has not changed. Not one whit, and it would not matter if all the world gave approval to it. Even if those in high places in religious affairs did it. Christians would have to take the same attitude toward it: that it belongs to the devil and his crowd, and to those who are serving him, not the Lord. There isn't any place to stop and the evils of it are too well known for me to stop to argue that question. The question doesn't need arguing. It needs honesty in dealing with it. I know that sometimes even in the realm of religion approval is given to it. For example: Catholicism. They have given their approval. The Catholic Church, over and over, has actually participated in it, given it their approval and endorsement. I can point out instance after instance where the Episcopal Church has done exactly the same thing. I think it was at Galveston, not long ago, when the question of horse racing or gambling was being brought before the legislature of the state of Texas, the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese, Byrnes, said that gambling in the State of Texas was all right, and gambling or horse racing was all right. So if a man is looking for some kind of religion that will give him just plenty of latitude, and the Bishop would endorse a thing of that kind, well, perhaps that's where he ought to land. But if you are interested in what is right in the sight of God, in what the Lord approves, in what Christian men and women have always approved and respected as right, and that which would not violate any principle of righteousness, then you'd have to look farther than that. The New Testament teaches along that line what it 'has always taught, that a man ought to work with his hands, that he might have to give to them that are in need. And any time a man engages in a game of chance that does not require honest, earnest industry and in which he has the chance to profit inordinately at somebody else's loss, the principle of Christianity has been violated all the way through, and God is displeased, whether religion approves it and whether the world looks upon it with favor or not. It belongs definitely to the world.
The same thing is true exactly of dancing. Dancing has never belonged in the realm of Christian activity. The testimonials against it are too many, the evidence is too strong, the fruit of it has been too destructive through the years. You and I know that through the generations of the past, the teaching of the word of God along that line has remained exactly the same. If you were to see one of the elders of the church upon the dance floor at the next one you attend, what would your attitude toward it be? Would you go away and say that he is bound to be a good Christian man in whom I ought to have confidence, because I saw him dancing? Certainly not! You would go away and say that fellow doesn't have any business being an elder in the church. Why? Because I saw him out there doing a thing that no elder of the church ought to do. That would be your attitude, and even the dancing members of the church know that that would be their attitude toward it. I said a few things not long ago in Houston along the line of dancing, and why the dance is wrong, preaching particularly on that, and a young man came around to me after the service was over and said: "I don't like what you had to say about dancing." I said, "Well, that doesn't necessarily mean that it isn't so. Just because you don't like it doesn't mean that it necessarily isn't so, and that I was wrong about it. You should stop and investigate the matter anyhow, even if you don't like it." He said, "I think it is all right to dance." I said, "All right for whom? Now who are you talking about? Do you think it is all right for the preacher? Do you? Do you think he preacher will be respected, that anybody would respect him if he went? He has as much business going as you do." "Sure," he said. "Do you mean that it is all right for the elders of the church? Is that what you mean? That it is all right for the preachers and the elders of the church to go? Why, you would go away and talk about them, if you saw them at the next one you attend, and you wouldn't have any confidence in them. If you had a dancing preacher and a group of dancing elders, you wouldn't call upon them for comfort and consolation, and for help when the trials and tribulations of life come. You wouldn't have any confidence in them. But you say it is all right to dance. You mean it is all right for me? You mean it is all right for the whole church? Why not next Wednesday night, let us just roll the benches back and have one here in one of the back rooms, when prayer meeting is over. It is all right for us to get together and do anything else that is all right. It would be all right for us to get together and have dinner. The members of the church do that when the service is over. It would be all right for the members of the church to get together and do anything else that is respectable. Now why not just have a dance next Wednesday evening; when prayer meeting is over?"
There is not a dancing member of the church of the Lord in the whole country that would be willing to see that thing happen. We just don't want it. We know that it doesn't belong there. We know the connection would be bad. We know the church would he brought into it. We know that reflection would be cast upon the church of Christ and the religion of Christ. We know that great harm would be done. You know, when people say that it is all right to dance, they usually mean that they think it is all right for them to dance. They wouldn't want everybody doing it, but they think it would be all right for them. That is usually what they mean. You don't have a lot of privileges like that which other members of the church cannot exercise, and you are not living by a different standard than the rest of us. You are walking by the same rule that the rest of us are walking by, and if it is all right for you to drink beer and gamble, and if it is all right for you to dance, then it is all right for any other member of the church to dance, as far as God's attitude is concerned. So let us have a dancing, beer drinking,
gambling congregation, and see how much good we will do toward saving the souls of men and being respected by them.
Sometimes people say to me; "Brother Cogdill, do you think it would be wrong for a man to dance with his own wife at home?" Now who ever heard of one doing that? Now honestly, when did you ever hear of one doing that? If the man couldn't dance with the other fellow's wife he wouldn't have an interest in dancing, would he? Let me tell you what you do. You just let the boys dance together and the girls dance together, or let every boy dance with his own sister, and every man with his own wife, and see how long your dancing lasts. I have heard of people who love it, but they don't love it enough to put it on that basis. That shows you where the foundation of it is. When you stop promiscuous association among the sexes, letting a man dance with any woman that he can get to dance with him, when you stop that, dancing with somebody besides his own wife, sister, or mother, you will kill dancing as dead as a hammer, and there isn't a honky-tonk in this country that could promote another one if you put it on that basis. You know that is so. I don't need to argue with you on that point. That shows you what the basis of it really is. Fundamentally, there the basis of it is exposed.
Now I say to you that these things are positive in the influence that they have, because they violate not only the first principle, but nearly every principle of righteousness. You will find these things that we are talking about an absolute violation of many of the principles of righteousness.
Does it classify you with the world or the church? Now if you saw a man going to prayer meeting, going to Bible class, going down and helping somebody that is in need, taking some food to the hungry and some clothing to the naked, helping somebody that is in trouble; if you saw a man doing things of that kind, if you knew he was a member of the church, you would think religion means something to him because he is demonstrating it. But if you see a man, that professes to be a Christian, a member of the church, engaging in dancing, drinking or gambling, what effect would it have? Why the effect will be that that fellow is a mighty poor sort of a Christian. There isn't much to him when it comes to religion. I would be afraid to put too much confidence in him. That is the effect. That classifies him with the world. Let us get the passage. In II Cor. 6:14, the Apostle Paul said: "Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness and iniquity? or what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial?" Then he quotes this passage from the Old Testament: "Wherefore, Come ye out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, And touch no unclean thing; And I will receive you, and will be to you a Father, and ye shall be to me sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. Having therefore these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." What is it Paul? Here it is: Come out from among them. That is Christianity. Being made separate from the world, that is the demand of Christianity. "And I will be to you a Father, and ye shall be to me sons and daughters." God promises that he will recognize us as his children when we leave the world behind and live in such a way that people can see the difference between Christ and the world. That is it. And if my life has not demonstrated separation from the world, and whenever I get so much like the world that people cannot tell by the way I live and by what I do whether I am a Christian or not, then I am not, and God will not accept me as such. I have to maintain separation from the world, and whenever any practice has the tendency or effect of classifying me with the world, destroying my identity as a Christian, ruining my influence as a child of God, and classifying me in the minds of those who see me do it, and know that I am engaged in it, with the world rather than with the church, then it is wrong for that reason, if for no other reason, because it separates me from Christ and classifies me with the world, and destroys that separation and that identity that should characterize a Christian.
Another passage of Scripture, there are many of them. We just mention one or two of them. Paul said, in Romans 12, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service." Now listen: "And be not fashioned according to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God." That you may be able to demonstrate. Do you get the idea? Paul said, "Do not be made like unto the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may be able to demonstrate what is the good and perfect will of God." A Christian is to be a living demonstration. That's the idea of that passage. The word "prove" in that passage is an unfortunate translation, because the word "prove" has changed its meaning. Today when you and I think about proving a thing, we think about putting it on the board, showing the facts concerning it, or orally arguing it, or proving it by evidence. But that isn't the sense of that word in the passage at all. The sense of it is demonstration. I am to be a living demonstration by the renewing of my mind, keeping fresh in my mind what is the will of God. I am to be a living demonstration of it, and that is exactly what God expects me as a Christian to do. Whenever I become so much like the world, going to all of the places to which the world goes, practicing everything the world practices, or anything that the world engages in that has the affect of destroying my influence as a Christian an classifying me with the world, then I have done wrong. I need carefully to guard my life lest I might destroy my influence where I go and be classified with the world rather than with Christ and the church.
The second principle is this: Is the practice questionable in your own mind, and therefore an offense to your own conscience? Sometimes people say, "Do you think it is wrong to do a certain thing?" Now one of the answers to that question might be found by simply turning it around: Do you think it is wrong? If you think it is wrong then you cannot do it. Why? Because you will violate your conscience if you do. If you do a thing that you think is wrong, you are going contrary to conscience, and when you go contrary to your conscience you sin before God. The Bible abundantly teaches that. Let us get the passage. In Romans 14, the Apostle Paul is talking about the eating of meats, that had been sacrificed unto idols. You are familiar with the practice. They offered an animal as a sacrifice to an idol god. The body of that ' animal was not wholly consumed in the sacrifice. The part of it that was not burned up in the sacrifice they took down to what we would call the meat market. They called it the "shambles." They sold it down there for food. Among the members of the body of Christ, a lot of Christians were going down there and buying that meat for food and taking it back home and eating it. Some of them had said, "Why, that has been dedicated unto an idol god, and when you eat that meat you are eating a thing that belongs to an idol. You are therefore, respecting the idol." Paul said, "That idol god isn't anything. It's just a pile of stone There isn't anything alive about it. There isn't any personality there. It is not a living god at all. He is just a stone god, and therefore is no god at all." A man ought to be able to understand that, and a man ought to be able to eat of the meat without any regard for an idol god in his mind, without any respect for the idol. "Sanctify it unto God through thanksgiving and prayer," that you do not offend your own conscience in it. That is what Paul taught about it. But he said in Romans 14, right on that point: "So then let us follow after things which make for peace, and things whereby we may edify one another. Overthrow not for meat's sake the work of God. All things indeed are clean; howbeit it is evil for that man that eateth with offense. It is good not to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor to do anything whereby thy brother stumbleth. The faith which thou hast, have thou to thyself before God. Happy is he that judgeth not himself in that which he approveth. But he that doubteth is condemned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith; and whatsoever is not of faith is sin," (Romans 14:19-23).
Now there is the principle. It does not say that if a man's conscience approves a certain thing that makes it right. Lets get that point settled to begin with. Your conscience is not to determine what is right and what is wrong. Your intelligence does that. There are various functions of the human heart, various parts of the heart that perform different functions. There is, for example, the intellect, the intelligence that tells you what is right, with the intelligence a man understands and a man believes. But not only does he have intellect. A man has will power. And the will power decides, purposes and determines. That is another function of the heart. Therefore another part of the heart, according to the Bible. Then the heart has not only intellect and will power, but the heart has emotions, and these emotions are such as loving in the heart, and sorrowing in the heart, and rejoicing in the heart, the emotions of the individual. That is the idea. But none of those is the conscience. There is a fourth function that the heart of man performs, and that is the function of the conscience. It is not a function of the conscience to tell us what is right. The intellect does that. It is not a function of the conscience to exercise will power, and make choices for us. That is not what the conscience is. It is not the function of the conscience to enjoy emotional responses. What is the function of the conscience? The function of the conscience is to preserve self-respect by reminding me of my duty to do the thing that is right. My conscience reminds me to do the thing that is right. It reminds me not to do the things that are wrong. If I do the things that I understand to be right, my conscience will approve. If I do the thing that I understand to be wrong, my conscience will reprove. If I do the thing that I understand to be right, my conscience will excuse, not condemn me. A conscience is a safeguard against the practice of sin. It is a constant reminder to do our duty, to do the things that we know to be right. Here is a thing that I think is wrong, my conscience reminds me not to do it, because my intelligence tells me that it is wrong, and I just walk over my conscience and go ahead and do the thing, thinking that it is wrong when I do it, then I have violated my conscience. I have broken down my resistance against sin. The next time it will be easier for me to go right ahead and do the thing that I know is wrong; and therefore, I have sinned because I have commenced breaking down my resistance against sin,' and destroying the protection against sin that God has given me. That is the reason why I cannot afford to violate my conscience.
The matter is presented in two different respects in the teaching of New Testament Scriptures. James said, "If a man know to do good, and does it not, to him it is sin." Why? His conscience condemns him, because he has not done the thing that he understands to be his duty. It is a sin to violate your conscience. If he goes contrary to his conscience it is sin to do it. Paul said, "Whatsoever is not of faith is sin." If I do the thing that I know is wrong, that is questionable in my own mind, and I cannot be fully persuaded and convinced that it is right, then I am offending my conscience. I am trampling it under my feet, and there is a danger that if I continue to do so it will become hardened. Paul talks about people whose consciences were seared as with a hot iron, and after while the conscience and its voice will not be heard at all. A lot of people say, "Preacher that means that if a thing over here, for instance like drinking, if I think that it is all right to drink, then that makes it right." That is the doctrine Catholicism teaches about it. That is exactly what they teach, that the individual's conscience is to determine. Paul said, "Concerning the eating of meats" that you must not violate your conscience. In eating meat there isn't any principle involved. In the eating of meat the thing is neither right nor wrong. It is wholly a matter of indifference. But you could not say that about drunkenness, or drinking. You could not say that it is wholly a matter of indifference with reference to gambling. You could not say that it is wholly a matter of indifference with reference to the dance. There are other principles involved in these practices. Therefore, it does not make it right just so you think it is right. Thinking a thing is right does not make it right anytime. If a thing is wrong it is wrong in spite of what you think about it. Because it violates the principles of the righteousness of God, if it is a matter of indifference, neither right nor wrong, Paul says, if you cannot eat it with a good conscience, you sin when you eat it. So the principle applies to this realm, to matters of indifference, and when my conscience does not allow me to do it because there is a question in my mind about it. My conscience accuses me when I do it. I am violating my conscience. I am weakening my resistance against sin, and that is what Paul taught in Romans 14:23. If a thing is questionable in your mind, it is wrong for you to do it, whether it is wrong for any other reason or not. That is just a pretty good thing to remember. It may not be wrong for any other reason, perhaps not a single thing involved in it that makes it wrong, but you think it is questionable in your mind, it a violation of your conscience to do it, and that is what Paul taught with reference to the eating of meat and, it applies to anything else. A man could not play a game of tiddly winks if he did it in violation of his conscience without sinning before God, and it would be exactly, the same principle. So what you think is wrong, what you in your own mind cannot do with the approval of your heart and intellect, that you must not do. You violate your conscience when you do, That is another principle that will help me decide what is right and wrong, and I need to understand Paul's statement in Romans 14:23: "Whatsoever is not of faith is sin," I must have a full assurance of my heart that it is acceptable and right before I can do it, no matter what it is. The approval of the conscience does not make anything right that is otherwise wrong. To violate your conscience is to weaken your own resistance against sin, and that is the reason you cannot violate it. That is the reason it is wrong for you to violate it.