The Peril of a Seared Conscience
by Paul Rupe
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What do you think of when you hear the term "Seared Conscience?" For most of us we immediately begin to think of someone who has sinned so much that they can no longer feel conviction for their sins. What you don't know about a seared conscience may surprise you. It certainly surprised me!
The term "Seared Conscience" comes from the Apostle Paul's instruction in 1 Timothy 4:1-2 where he writes
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
We have been taught to think of a seared conscience as belonging to someone who has hardened his or her heart to the point of no return. The Bible gives us a very different definition.
The Greek word for "Seared" is "Kauteriazo," which means, "To mark by branding, to brand, branded with their own consciences, whose souls are branded with the marks of sin, who carry about with them the perpetual consciousness of sin." To have a seared conscience is actually to worry about sin all the time. To have a seared conscience is when sin, not the Savior, is at the forefront of your thinking.
A seared conscience comes from paying heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. Satan may use acts of sin to distract you, but his primary goal is to fill you with a consciousness of sin, so you won't have time to look at the Savior, Jesus Christ, and what He did for you on the cross. For two-thousand years, Satanís goal has been to distract people and blind them to the gospel.
Note also that a seared conscience, or a constant realization of sin, really comes from departing from the faith. What is the faith? The faith is simply embracing the fact that two-thousand years ago, Jesus removed your sins at the cross and that now you are made righteous and holy, by His work and not by your own.
Paul also mentions "doctrines" or the teachings of devils. Sometimes Satanís greatest weapon can be those things that look the most righteous, or religious. Satan's greatest weapons are religious doctrines that focus on our work instead of Christís work. Those who follow doctrines where religion is simply a life spent trying to work its way to God, are never able to do enough to attain that goal.
Notice who the people are that Paul was speaking of having a seared conscience. Are they drunkards, or drug addicts? No. Paul says in 1 Timothy 4:3 that they are
Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
These people were probably well-behaved, highly regarded religious people. They look good on the outside, much as the Pharisees did, but Jesus said they were whitewashed tombs filled with dead menís bones. These people were wrongly focused on things not to do.
Whenever we focus on rules and regulations, we are focusing on ourselves and our self-made laws, and, in many cases, the law of the Old Covenant rather than on Christ!
These Pharisees forbaide people to marry and commanded them to abstain from eating meat. Their focus was on outward appearances, and not on matters of the heart. They were filled continuously with a consciousness of sin and how to avoid it.
The Greek word "Kartaxio" implies, "In a medical sense, to cauterize, remove by cautery."
You see, those who don't believe the gospel are cauterized from the real life of God through a perpetual consciousness of sin. Have you ever believed the gospel?
Have you ever trusted that Jesus removed your sins and that you now stand before Him blameless? One characteristic of those who believe the gospel is that they know they are the righteousness of God. They trust Him. If you are still filled with fear and condemnation then you must ask yourself "Do I believe the gospel? Have I ever really trusted that Jesus removed my sin?"
Friend, two-thousand years ago Jesus took care of your sin problem. If you believe this, will you now trust Jesus that He has forgiven you? Pray this with me.
I confess that I have sinned many times, but I trust you that you forgave me at the cross. I now accept your sacrifice, that you have removed my sins by your blood and have made me right with God through your resurrection. I confess that You are my Lord and Savior now. Thank you for saving me! Please come into my heart and take control of my life today!
Paul Rupe has served as associate pastor as well as a number of other positions in his local fellowship. Paul currently is web administrator for Gracespirations Daily Devotion an outreach of Teleo Ministries.
You can visit Paul online at http://teleoministries.blogspot.com
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