How do we know what’s right and wrong?

If you’re Jewish, you might say that you have the Mosaic Law, the Ten Commandments. But what if you’re not Jewish? Romans 2:15 tells us “the work of the law is written on their hearts.” But what does this mean?

Every one of us has an innate moral and spiritual consciousness which senses what is right and wrong. Don’t you find that to be true? It’s also evident in the basic similarities in the different legal systems around the world. It is wrong to steal. It is wrong to murder. It is wrong to bear false witness. Deep down, we do know right from wrong, even though we do not perfectly obey this God-given moral law, the law written on our hearts.

Our conscience is not an infallible guide, but it enables us to know whether we are following the law written on our hearts. When we do wrong we experience guilt, shame, and remorse. It’s like an inner prosecutor! Or a warning light in our cars which we ignore at our own peril! But our conscience can also become hardened, defiled, and seared when we choose to suppress it and continue in our sins.

Ultimately, the point is that we all are without excuse before God. Despite having “the law written on our hearts” we all are imperfect and sinful and deserving of God’s judgment. But we also all have the opportunity for salvation through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

John Munro

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