Have you ever wondered why many false teachers/ prophets are capable of hypocrisy, manipulating, cheating and even abusing many of their followers and yet not feel a single ounce of guilt, shame or remorse for their actions?
Have you ever wondered if false teachers actually comprehend or care about the kind of spiritual damage that they cause to people when they spread false doctrines & teachings in order to brainwash and manipulate people for their own personal or financial gain?
Do you wonder why false prophets are capable of performing false or staged miracles & healings in order to deceive their followers that they are men of God who have been given healing powers?
Why do these false prophets speak false prophecies or hire people to give false testimonies in their churches and not feel any shame or guilt?
Why do false teachers deliberately twist and misinterpret God’s word in order serve their own appetites or for monetary gain?
Why do such false prophets / teachers seem to lack an authentic fear of God when they consistently manipulate, control or brainwash followers to satisfy their own ego and pride?
Where is their moral compass and do they actually comprehend the wrong that they are doing?
The answer to all of the above questions is found in 1 Timothy 4:1-2 (NKJV) which says: Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron
The ESV version of 1 Timothy 4:1-2 says: Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, 2 through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared
Therefore a seared conscience is the reason for why false prophets / teachers can behave badly without feeling any shame, guilt or remorse.
What Is A Conscience?
A conscience is defined as a person’s moral sense of right and wrong. Our conscience is our internal moral compass that enables us to know and feel when we have behaved badly or correctly in life.
The Greek term for conscience in the Bible is [suneidesis] which means “moral consciousness”.
Therefore our conscience helps us to distinguish between what is morally good or morally bad and our conscience is supposed to illicit the appropriate feelings depending on our moral behavior.
God has placed in every individual whether religious or not, a basic understanding of what is fundamentally right or wrong.
For example, you don’t have to tell an 8 year old child when he/she has done something wrong. Children already have an inbuilt moral compass that gives them knowledge of sin.
However a seared conscience is when a person has a conscience that is so damaged and deceived because of rebellion and pride to the extent that the person no longer feels shame, guilt, remorse or any appropriate feelings whenever he/she has committed sin.
A seared conscience no longer distinguishes between right and wrong because the conscience has become uncaring and insensitive due to consistent disobedience and pride.
Therefore when people have a seared conscience they have become insensitive to basic human morality and they no longer care about what is morally or spiritually right or wrong.
False Teachers With A Seared Conscience
According to 1 Timothy 4:1-2 there are many people who are going to be deceived by false teachers and therefore depart from orthodox Christian faith (vs 1).
Why will many people depart from the faith? It is because people will be coerced into believing and following deceitful spirits and the doctrines of demons (vs 1).
Any doctrines or teachings that contradict the word of God and attacks the gospel of Christ is either inspired by the sinful nature of man or such doctrines are sourced from deceitful demonic spirits (vs 2).
However, for any demonic doctrine to spread, both the teachings and the deceitful spirits who create the doctrines require a host in order to spread or propagate the false doctrines.
Hence in verse 2, Paul explains that men with a seared conscience are the hosts through which doctrines of demons are spread “through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared”
So in 1 Timothy 4:1-2 we learn the following about why false teachers can deceive without guilt, shame or remorse:
- False teachers have the characteristics of insincere or hypocritical liars whose consciences are seared. They have no moral compass and they no longer distinguish between right and wrong when they deceive their followers.
- The seared state of their conscience makes false teachers to be eligible mouthpieces for evil deceitful spirits. Hence in 1 John 4:1 Christian believers are encouraged and warned “not to believe every spirit but to test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone into the world”
Therefore by comparing 1 Timothy 4:1-2 and 1 John 4:1, it is revealed through these scriptures that there is always a spiritual or demonic link & influence between false prophets / teachers and the demonic doctrines they teach. According to these scriptures, evil spirits influence the behaviours of false teachers / prophets.
- Thirdly we learn from 1 Timothy 4:1-2 that many people will depart from the faith due to the influence of false teachers who propagate the doctrines of demons.
This reveals in the broader context that the battle between good and evil in not physical, but it is a spiritual battle between God and satan with his demons (Ephesians 6:12)
Evil spirits are at work to influence men whose consciences are seared so that they may spread false doctrines and lead people astray from God’s word and truth.
A seared conscience enables a person to perform acts of wickedness and deception without the desire to repent or the comprehension that his/her actions are wrong.
False teachers with a seared conscience are easy instruments for the devil and for performing the works of the devil.
In Matthew 23:13-33 Jesus describes the Pharisees as being hypocritical and deceitful and lacking basic moral conscience.
In 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 we are warned of false apostles who are described as “deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.”
In Matthew 7:15-20 Jesus warned us to beware of false prophets who will come disguised in sheep’s clothing but yet they are wolves. Jesus said they will be recognized by their fruits.
In Matthew 24:24-25 Jesus further warned about false prophets who will perform signs and wonders in order to lead people astray.
It is therefore clear that such actions by false teachers reflect the characteristics of people who have a seared conscience because they do not have any genuine fear of God.
False teachers will use the Bible and deliberately misinterpret it in order to manipulate and deceive others. They will stage false signs and wonders, speak false prophesies and spread false doctrines for personal and monetary gain without any moral compass or shame for deceiving others.
Men with seared consciences are consistently open to demonic influences because the truth of God’s word does not truly reside in their hearts. False teachers lack the true conviction of sin of righteousness and of judgment that comes from the Holy Spirit (John 16:8-11).
Therefore the only way to prevent having a seared conscience is by having a genuine relationship with God through Jesus Christ. In the life of the Christian it is the work of the Holy Spirit to convict us of sin. It the work of the Holy Spirit to lead us to all truth regarding the word and will of God for our life.
So as we yield more to the leading of the Holy Spirit, we will have the conscience and the mind of Jesus Christ.