As Christians we have a Savior that offered Himself and accepted the punishment that we deserve. Those who believe that God sent His one and only Son, to suffer and die for our sins, to descend into hell and on the third day rose to defeat death, receive the grace of God that leads to our salvation and eternal life with the Father. What far too many Christians forget, however, is that we remain guilty as charged. Though we no longer fear the punishment for our sins, we stand convicted, our sentence borne by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Romans 3:19-20, “Obviously, the law applies to those to whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses, and to show that the entire world is guilty before God. For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.” And we are truly sinful, disobedient children. There is no one that is righteous and there is no one that deserves the gift of grace offered by our loving Father. Each and every time we dwell in His word, we learn more about our sinful selves. Scripture indeed convicts each one of us, yet that same Scripture lifts us up as it reveals God’s infinite love and abundant mercy for His children.
Galatians 2:17-21, “But suppose we seek to be made right with God through faith in Christ and then we are found guilty because we have abandoned the law. Would that mean Christ has led us into sin? Absolutely not! Rather, I am a sinner if I rebuild the old system of law I already tore down. For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me. So I died to the law—I stopped trying to meet all its requirements—so that I might live for God. My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.” We break the law every day, sometimes so frequently, we cannot even keep track of our transgressions. But, even as His disobedient children cause our Father consternation, we receive forgiveness for our sins, through faith in the Risen Christ. Does this mean that grace cancels the law? No, the two are intrinsically linked, for the law allows us to know right from wrong and the Gospel frees us from the consequence of our sin. Even though we are no longer under the punishment of the law, the law remains a guide for God's children to follow. To truly love our Lord means to obey and follow Jesus’ teachings, which includes obedience to the law.
For members of the ELCA, the doctrine of bound conscience means never having to say you’re sorry. It also means that members of the ELCA may believe whatever it is that trips their trigger, because the leaders of the ELCA reach out in their imperfect love and affirm those lost in sin. There is no need for repentance. There is no gratitude for a Savior who spilled His blood so that they may live. There is no guidance from the deceitful leaders of the ELCA to lead their members onto the narrow path that leads to salvation. The false doctrines that the leaders of the ELCA allow have no need of a Savior, because all are saved regardless of faith. Of course, this is not the official teaching of the ELCA, but these teachings are more than simply tolerated, they are given equal time to the teachings of Christ Himself. The doctrine of bound conscience is the lynchpin that all the other heresies accepted by the ELCA are connected. For without a method to allow a variety of beliefs and teachings, some that are contradictory to the very tenets of Christianity, the authority of Scripture could not be challenged, declared invalid in this "enlightened age" and amended by a sinful humanity to feed their selfishness.
Jesus said in Luke 9:23-24, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.” The doctrine of bound conscience allows one to selfishly maintain their sinful nature, denying our Lord and Savior. Is this what Jesus meant to deny himself or does this fit the actions of one who wants to save their own life? Feeding the selfish nature denies no one but our Savior. Does this necessarily cause one to lose their salvation? Not in and of itself, but it puts a foot in the door to continue to lift up one’s sinful nature that will eventually push God right out of the picture. As more and more Scripture is decared irrelevant by this misguided church, there will eventually be no need to rein in any of our sinful behavior. Without the law, we devolve into nothing more than intelligent mammals, clothed in our own selfish desires. No matter how hard we try, we continually fall into sin. But, when the sin is willful, deliberate and without repentance, it is displeasing to our God. And every Christian should want to please God first and foremost, denying oneself and carrying His cross, leaving our own desires secondary. Pray unceasingly for the true Gospel of Jesus Christ to be, once again, taught from every pulpit in every church.