Bible Reading: Hebrews 10:19-25
“I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day” [2 Timothy 1:3].
Paul says to Timothy that he serves God with a pure conscience, as his forefathers did. The dictionary defines conscience as “an inner voice or sense of right and wrong that guides a persons actions.”
Many years ago someone loaned me a BMW car to use whilst I was in Singapore. On a particular Sunday morning I had to speak at two meetings and arrived late for the second meeting. A young pastor met me at the door and offered to park the car for me. In doing so he damaged the outer sill on the underside of the car on a raised pavement. He didn’t tell me about this, and I didn’t see the damage. The owner of the car did not mention it to me when I returned the car. Seventeen years later the young man who damaged the car, now himself a senior pastor, confessed to me what he had done. For all those years he had a guilty conscience.
Paul writes about a good conscience, and a pure conscience [1 Timothy 3:9; 2 Timothy 1:3]. The conscience can be defiled and not function as God intended [1 Corinthians 8:7; Titus 1:5]. The conscience can be seared as with a hot iron”[1 Timothy 4:2]. The word “seared” in this verse is ‘kauteriazo’ [Greek], from which we get our English word “cauterized.” It is a conscience that is insensitive to right and wrong.
Paul’s philosophy was very simple. He said, “I always try to maintain a clear conscience before God and everyone else” [Acts 24:16 NTL]. It is very possible to have a damaged conscience and a value system that is not in tune with God, but the writer to the Hebrews declares the wonderful truth that the blood of Jesus can cleanse our conscience from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God [Hebrews 9:14 NIVUK]. This same writer gives us an invitation to, “draw near to God, with a sincere heart, and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water” [Hebrews 10:22]. Our conscience can be cleansed and be retuned to God’s value system.
Why do you think that the conscience is an important part of our human make up? Why is it important to maintain a clear conscience before God and men?
What are things that defile the conscience and cause it to become insensitive?
Can you say, with the Apostle Paul, that you have a pure conscience? If not, what is it from your past that condemns you? Would you now accept God’s invitation draw near to Him and let Him cleanse your conscience?