Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 1 Timothy 4:2 (NIV).
Does your conscience bother you? Sweet Home Alabama; love me some Skynyrd.
Paul called out hypocrites in the church who didn’t fully put their faith in Jesus. He called out people who said they believed but acted differently. Or people who said they believed but also practiced other things (like pagan beliefs, or holding onto the traditions of the Jews). He was calling out people who tried to infuse “the Way” with practices and ideas that weren’t given by Jesus. And, worst of all, Paul was calling out people who were following false teachings, teachings of “work righteousness (earning your salvation)” and the apostasy of saying there was no resurrection.
Paul was calling out people in Timothy’s flock who were following dangerous ways. Do you think he could have been talking with us?
I mean, new age religions teach that we are our own gods, that we aren’t sinful (and if we aren’t sinful then we don’t need a savior). We get wrapped up in things of this world so that we act as if we don’t need Jesus, don’t have time for Him, don’t want His old-fashioned ways. How awful it is when things go south and we find out we need a Savior after all.
Are you bothered by things now? Are you into things that you shouldn’t be, things that are sketchy or even outright dangerous? Could Lynyrd Skynyrd be singing: does your conscience bother you? Jesus gave each of us a conscience so that we would know Him better. He gave us a barometer of right and wrong so that we might learn to rely on Him more and live out our lives through Him. Usually we’re steady, but we sometimes get into situations that are a risk to our spiritual, maybe even physical, health. To whom do you listen when the going gets rough?
The good news in all of this is the Good News. There’s nothing you’ve done that could ever separate you from the love of Jesus. You can always listen to your heart and come back home. If your conscience bothers you about something, that may just be His Spirit prodding you; “let’s have a talk. What’s on your mind?” We have a learned but innate sense of right and wrong; only the most inured or depraved of us fully give ourselves over to all sensuality and lose ourselves in the process. Such folks have dull consciences. Yet even they aren’t beyond the power or reach of Jesus. He’s much bigger and stronger than anything that may plague us. He came to save ALL people, even those of us who have done terrible things. Sweet home Alabama ain’t got nothing on Jesus.
For further reading: Romans 8:37-39, Ephesians 4:19, 1 Timothy 4:3
Lord, I’ve said and done terrible things. Forgive me when I let them bother me.