In the last days:
“…some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy. Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, …”
“…having their conscience seared with a hot iron; 1 Timothy 4:2-3
“…if the metaphor is from the cauterizing of a wound, as the A.V. takes it, then the idea is that these men’s consciences are become as insensible to the touch as the skin that has been cauterized.” Pulpit Commentary
” …a conscience seared exists in a mind that will practice delusion without concern; that will carry on a vast system of fraud without wincing; that will incarcerate, scourge, or burn the innocent without compassion; and that will practice gross enormities, and indulge in sensual gratifications under the mask of piety.” Barnes Notes
Conscience has been defined wrongly as the “voice of God.” Delitzsch calls it “the religious moral determination of man’s self-consciousness — the ethical side of the ‘general’ sense of truth.” It has been compared to the ‘eye’ which records exactly what it sees, also the nervous system which manifests pain at injury. Chambers
Oswald Chambers also calls conscience “the innate law in nature whereby man knows that he is known.” and,
“Conscience attaches itself to that system of things which man regards as highest.”
So the culture also has a conscience. Searing is a departure from this moral light which resides in every man.
Ravi Zacharias characterizes 3 successive societal conscience-hardenings of modern America.
- Secularization: The removal of religious institution, practice and influence from social acceptability — Leads to a loss of shame.
- Pluralization: Declares all world views to be equally valid — Leads to the loss of reason.
- Privatization: Demands that if we practice religion we must keep it private — Leads to the loss of meaning.
What’s pushing us to these ends?
Perhaps it’s pain-relief at all costs, as in our metaphor of the nervous system.
“Nearly 64,000 Americans died from a drug overdose in 2016 alone. Opioid overdoses accounted for more than 42,000 of these deaths, more than any previous year on record.” Pain relief?
“…in his book The Problem of Pain, the great writer C. S. Lewis called pain God’s “megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
“but pain insists upon being attended to.”
Let’s also think in terms of the Christian conscience. From Scripture, the Christian has a conscience that:
- bears witness to son-ship,
- has the imputations of goodness and purity,
- has shed “dead works” through a purging by the blood of Christ.
- does not focus on sin, lives in Spirit control,
- avoids offenses against God and Men,
- testifies of the truth.
- is sensitive to those who are easily condemned because of weakness.
- yields to the finished work of the cross,
- confidence exemplifies this person.
Those who depart from the faith (Christians?) in 1 Timothy 4 forsake spiritual light also —
- have no witness,
- are defiled,
- focus on sin,
- live offended,
- forsake truth,
- are not liberated from self,
- weakly fall into guilt and condemnation,
- do not yield to the finished work of Christ,
- hear not the Spirit.
So, what can we conclude? Any man who messes with his conscience is a man who opposes himself. He disposes of his inner guide. He steps away from what it means to be human. Worse than advancing false ideologies, he has embraced sub-human qualities. With these he experientially forsakes the many benefits of his redemption. Jonah 2:8 tells us, “They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.”
Heb 10:38-39 teaches, “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.”
1 Timothy 4 tells us, “…God hath created things to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.” Thankfully our salvation bases itself on the steadiness of an unchanging God not our unsteadiness. A.W. Tozer calls conscience “a witness to the secret presence of Christ in the world.” Christian, for that we live! love ya