From Where Does Love Come? Part Three

I Timothy 1: 5

“Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith.” I Timothy 1: 5

The second fountainhead from which love flows is a clear conscience. This speaks of past actions.

Huck Finn said, “Sometimes a fellow’s conscience takes up more room than all the rest of his insides.”

The Greek word used in our text and translated “conscience” is “suneidesis.” It literally means “a knowing within.”  How what is known within is programmed is the critical issue. To have a good conscience it must be programmed by God’s value standard, the Bible.

Our English word conscience comes from the Latin con-scienta, meaning joint knowledge or co-knowledge, knowing together with. A conscience is a poor guide unless it knows the Word of God.

Hearts not informed and influenced by the Word of God can become insensitive. We are seeing this increasingly in America. In America youth watch violence while enjoying their favorite treats of candy, popcorn, and  preferred beverage. Their conscience is dulled and has become insensitive. Then we wonder why there is so much violence by youth who seem to feel nothing. They have a conscience seared by a hot iron. A cauterized conscience is a non-feeling conscience.  Once they enact violence and are shocked back into reality they have to live with the consequence of their act.

A clear conscience is one:

A. Guided by God’s special revelation as a norm.

B. Makes wise judgements and issues instructions which are obeyed.

C. Produces “Godly sorrow which works repentance unto salvation” (II Corinthians  7:10).

D. It not only condemns the bad, but commends the good. The result is faith.

After all Paul had done, how could he have a clear conscience? Verses 12-15 explain. The same principle applies today. In I Timothy 1: 12 – 15 Paul bursts into joyous celebration over what Christ had done in his life. His story is that if Christ could change him, Christ can change anyone. What Paul was saying in this statement of his ignorance was there is nothing chic, cool, or glamorous about living in sin. 

How can a person with a carnally complicated and corrupt past gain a clear conscience? By having a cleansed life. How is it possible?  “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  (I John 1:9)