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Scripture Reading: 1 Timothy 1:15-20
Faith and a Good Conscience
1. Faith and a good conscience are essential to “wage the good warfare” against our adversary and His ministers, 1 Tim. 1:18-20 (3:9).
2. The conscience is misunderstood, abused, neglected, and disregarded by many. (Jiminy Cricket, “always let your conscience be your guide.”)
3. Conscience can be: Evil (Heb. 10:22); dead (Heb. 9:14); defiled (Tit. 1:15); seared (1 Tim. 4:2); weak (1 Cor. 8:7); good (Acts 23:1); cleansed (Heb. 9:14); pure (2 Tim. 1:3); without offense (Acts 24:16).
4. Paul exercised (strive) to always have a clean conscience before God and men, Acts 24:16.
5. Exercise ourselves to have a clean conscience: Have a correct knowledge of what it is, how to cleanse it, how to train it, and how to protect it.
I. WHAT IS THE CONSCIENCE?
A. It is the Faculty of Mind by Which We Assess Right and Wrong.
1. It is a monitor of the way we live, Acts 23:1.
2. It does not establish God’s approval, cf. 1 Tim. 1:12.
3. It is an attribute of being made in the image of God, an “early warning” function of the inner person, Gen. 1:27.
B. The Function of Conscience is to Either Commend Us or Condemn Us (our conduct) to Ourselves, Rom. 2:15.
1. May cause guilt and shame when we sin, cf. Gen. 42:21; Jno. 8:9.
2. May warn us when we consider doing wrong, cf. 1 Cor. 8:7.
3. Will approve of us when we do what we believe to be right (Acts 26:9) – even if it is not the truth of God.
C. Conscience Functions on the Basis of the Knowledge it Possesses (the training it has received), Rom. 2:15.
1. It “bears witness” that a person has a knowledge of sin (the “work of the law,” Rom. 3:20), cf. Rom. 9:1; 2 Cor. 1:12.
2. Therefore, the knowledge upon which it rests and by which it functions must be accurate, or its reading will also be skewed.
3. Therefore, conscience cannot be an infallible guide (standard). It is a reliable monitor of what we believe (accept) to be true and right (cf. Saul of Tarsus). cf. 1 Cor. 8:4, 7-10 (Truth: One God; Food is immaterial to God, yet, conscience was to be respected)
II. CLEANSING THE CONSCIENCE (from the guilt and shame of sin).
A. It Can Only be Cleansed by the Blood of Christ, Heb. 9:9, 14 (cf. 1 Jno. 1:9).
-By an obedient faith, being baptized to be saved, Heb. 10:22; 1 Pet. 3:21.
III. TRAIN THE CONSCIENCE.
1. With knowledge of God’s word, Phil. 1:9-11.
a. Learn and live the commands of God, 1 Tim. 1:5.
b. Holding faith (fight of faith), 1 Tim. 1:19 (2 Cor. 5:7).
c. Serve God in love from a pure conscience, 2 Tim. 1:3.
IV. PROTECT THE CONSCIENCE.
A. What Defiles the Conscience?
1. Doubt, Rom. 14:23.
a. Be fully assured of your liberty in Christ, Rom. 14:5. (“faith”)
b. When in doubt, do not violate your conscience, 1 Cor. 8:7, 10, 12.
2. Apathy, Jas. 4:17.
a. Do what you know is right (keep God’s commands, 1 Tim. 1:5).
b. Even if it means suffering, 1 Pet. 2:19; 3:16.
3. False doctrine, 1 Tim. 4:1-2.
-Protection: Pure doctrine, 1 Tim. 4:3 (truth); 3:9.
4. Willful sin, Rom. 13:5.
a. Be humble before God and man, 2 Cor. 1:12.
b. Desire to live honorably, Heb. 13:18.
1. A good conscience operates in “full assurance of faith,” Heb. 10:22.
2. Our conscience is valuable to our spiritual wellbeing. When properly educated and trained, it helps us avoid sin and do what is good.
3. Train it with the word of God; Protect it by not violating it; Serve God with a pure conscience (2 Tim. 1:3).
4. Do these things and you will have a conscience without offense toward God and man (Acts 24:16).
By: Joe R. Price
Posted October 9, 2019