“Now the Spirit clearly says that in the last times some will depart from the faith and … speaking lies in hypocrisy, (the have) their consciences seared with a hot iron.”
1 Timothy 4:2.
Your Conscience is God’s Gift
God gave humans a conscience as our moral guide in life. It’s a gift from Him to help us live rightly. Though we’re born with one, it’s not a finished product. We must develop it, or it won’t function as God intended.
Your Conscience Can be Silenced
In fact, it’s possible to ‘sear’ it. We scorch our conscience by disobeying it and doing what we know is wrong. In time, when we oppose it, our conscience no longer speaks against our evil actions. But a muzzled conscience is not a cleared conscience.
If we don’t keep a good conscience, it can shipwreck our faith and ruin our life (1 Timothy 1:18-19). A trained conscience guides our course in life. Following an untrained or seared conscience will leave our lives in ruins like a ship a storm blows off course that smashes on the rocks.
It can be Trained
So, how do we develop our conscience? We practice making good decisions. By consistently choosing good over evil and right over wrong:
“But solid food (discernment) belongs to those who are mature, for those who through practice have powers of discernment that are trained to distinguish good from evil” (Hebrews 5:14).
Sometimes we face choices that aren’t black and white, obviously good or evil, such as how much to give to the poor when we also must provide for our family. A trained conscience helps us make distinctions between two noble options. As we practice making the best choice, our conscience gets trained to help us with future decisions.
It’s not Perfect
Yet our conscience isn’t the perfect arbiter of our moral decisions. Only God is. Even a well-trained conscience can make a mistake. It’s possible not to violate our conscience and still be morally wrong. Even the Apostle Paul conceded that even though his conscience was clear, that didn’t mean that his decision was morally right or approved by God:
“For I know nothing against myself. Yet I am not justified by this. But He who judges me is the Lord” (1 Corinthians 4:4).
Your Conscience is not God
Only God knows and judges rightly. But a person who’s trained their conscience must follow it. It’s a sin to violate your conscience.
God gave us a conscience as a moral guide. But conscience is an unfinished product we must train by consistently making good moral choices. And even a trained conscience isn’t a foolproof arbiter of good and evil; only God is. But it’s a sin to violate our conscience.
How Can My Conscience Be Cleared?
A clear conscience results from a trained conscience from making good moral choices. Then you can make the best ethical decisions humanly possible. As the Apostle Paul put it, he knew nothing against himself. God holds us responsible for having a clear conscience. Yet, a clear conscience understands that its judgment isn’t perfect, and that God is the ultimate judge.
If you haven’t always made good moral choices, cleanse your conscience by confessing those errors to God. Then determine to train it and make good choices in the future.