Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NIV Here are some distinguishing marks of a spirit-filled life—joy, prayer, and thanksgiving. Notice Paul has already been speaking about love: “Hold them in the highest regard...
Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 1 Timothy 4:2 (NIV)
Before the use of pain killers, if you had a wound and the bleeding could not be stopped, your best hope was a hot iron pressed on your flesh.
The problem was that once the bleeding was stopped all feeling in the area was lost, because the hot iron had killed off the nerves.
Paul says, “That’s how it is with some people’s conscience. It’s like they’ve been seared with a hot iron. Their conscience has lost all sensitivity” (Eph. 4:19). When that happens, a person can lie, cheat, or steal without his or her conscience objecting. They feel no guilt whatsoever.
Suicide bombers go to their deaths with a clear conscience, believing that what they do will lead to an eternal reward. Jesus spoke about this: “A time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God” (John 16:2).
Some people say, “Follow your conscience.” That’s right, but if your conscience is calibrated by the wrong values, it will approve the wrong things. The more a person engages in sin, the easier it gets to live with it, and those who continue longest in patterns of sin are least sensitive to the sinfulness of their behavior.
Conscience isn’t the ultimate judge of right and wrong. That’s why Paul says, “My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me” (1 Cor. 4:4).
React to the statement: “Ultimately, all of us must stand, not before the bar of our own conscience, but before the judgment seat of Christ.”