Clear Conscience Does Not Guarantee Innocence

1 Corinthians 4:4(NIV) My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.

Reasons why a person’s conscience might be clear but the person is not innocent:

1.  Ignorance (Lack of knowledge) Ignorance excuses no one.  Consequences will follow.  Remedy for Ignorance is to know God’s will through His Word.

Romans 1:19-21 (NIV) since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.  21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.

2. Blindness Lack of discernment and understanding.  There is knowledge, but the person thinks it does not apply to him/her.

Ezekiel 12:2 (NIV) “Son of man, you are living among a rebellious people. They have eyes to see but do not see and ears to hear but do not hear, for they are a rebellious people.

3. Seared Conscience.  Conscience is deadened from repeated rejection of the Holy Spirit’s conviction.

1 Timothy 4:2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.

David Guzik on “seared conscience”:

b. Having their own conscience seared: Their conscience, which at one time would have convicted them of their departure from the truth, now doesn’t reply at all. It is as if the nerve endings of their conscience have been burnt over and are dead to feeling.  Paul refers to the ancient practice of branding a criminal on the forehead with a distinguishing mark. For these, it was not their forehead that was branded with a hot iron, but their conscience instead.  Paul knew what it was to have a dead, burned conscience. Before he surrendered his life to Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus, he felt completely justified in his persecution of Christians and hatred of Jesus. He could feel justified because his conscience was seared and needed a wake-up call – which the Lord graciously provided. 

Dear Lord,
We know that if we have unconfessed sin, You will not hear our prayers.
Psalm 66:18 (NLT) If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.
Please open our eyes, give us knowledge of You and Your will, understanding and discernment. Give us open humble hearts when someone rebukes us so that we may be made right with You. Help us not to presume we are innocent just because we feel we are innocent. Give us Your Holy Spirit and enable us to seek Your Word that we may not be destroyed from lack of knowledge, so that we may not be blind and rebellious, and so that we will not have seared consciences in Jesus’s name and for His glory amen.

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