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Conscience in the Bible is an inborn sense of right and wrong. It is spoken of as "defiled" (Titus 1:15), and "seared" (1 Tim. 4:2). 3 main interpretations of a “seared conscience” are (1) the consciences of these false teachers are “branded” with Satan’s mark to indicate ownership, (2) their consciences are “branded” with a penal mark to show they are lawbreakers, or (3) their consciences have been “seared” (i.e., totally burnt and desensitized) so that they are unable to notice the difference between right and wrong. I hold to # 3 interpretation because the word seared means “cauterized.” Just as a person’s flesh can be “branded” so that it becomes hard and without feeling, so a person’s conscience can be deadened. Whenever we affirm with our lips something that we deny with our lives (whether people know it or not), we deaden our consciences just a little more. The conscience is either faithful, guilty or dead. Guilty John 8:9; Acts 2:37; 1 Tim. 4:2 Instances of: Of Adam and Eve, after they sinned, Gen. 3:7, 8. Of the lepers of Samaria, 2 Kings 7:8-10. Of Peter, after denying the Lord, Matt. 26:75; Mark 14:72; Luke 22:62. Of Judas, after betraying the Lord, Matt. 27:3-5. The accusers of the woman taken in adultery, John 8:9. Dead 1 Tim. 4:2; Tit. 1:15 As you can deduce, "conscience" in 1 Timothy 4:2 speaks both of a guilty and dead conscience.
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