We come to the third part of Paul’s charge to Timothy; “a good conscience.” As Timothy’s mentor, Paul always sought to maintain a good conscience toward men, believers, and God (Acts 23:1; 24:16; Romans 9:1; 2 Corinthians 1:12; 4:2; 2 Timothy 1:3). Paul was insisting that Timothy do the same and maintain “a good conscience” so that his ministry would be effective and powerful.
What is the conscience? It is “the faculty which can distinguish between right and wrong and give us moral sensitivity.” Timothy lives in the same kind of world we live in; in “later times [when] some will depart from the faith…whose consciences are seared” (1 Timothy 4:1-2). Paul explains to Titus that “to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their minds and their consciences are defiled” (Titus 1:15). These same conditions exist today.
How can we instruct our conscience so it will be “good”? Paul tells us to “be transformed by the renewal of our minds, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2). There is a saying; ‘we are what we eat’. Let’s turn that saying to our subject, that ‘our conscience will work according to the spiritual food we eat.’ There must be a divine action on our conscience. “How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God” (Hebrews 9:14). An active, close relationship with the Lord is the only way to have a good conscience and wage good warfare. What’s happening with your conscience?
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