Violating One’s Conscience – I Timothy 1:5

by Pastor John Fredericksen

Print This Article

When our daughters were still school age, my wife and I had very restrictive finances. Years earlier we had made a decision to make a particular provision for our daughters that we thought essential to their spiritual well-being. However, it had become increasingly more expensive and difficult to follow through with that decision. So, with great reluctance, we stopped that provision. For the next three weeks, I could not sleep at night, nor concentrate during the day, as I agonized over the impact our recent decision might have on our daughters. Then, not knowing how we were going to pay for it, we recommitted to the original provision for our girls. We simply could not violate our conscience any longer. By the way, God provided.

Twice in I Timothy 1, the Apostle Paul wrote to his son in the faith, Timothy, about the importance of not violating one’s conscience. Our God-given conscience is that inner judge that accuses us when we have done something wrong. Romans 2:15 describes the work of our conscience as a standard “…written in our hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another.” When Paul gave Timothy firm directives about ministry, he wrote: “Now the end of the commandment is charity [or love] out of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned” (I Timothy 1:5). In order for Timothy to be effective in ministry and unhindered in his relationship with the Lord, one of the top three things he needed to maintain was a conscience that did not accuse him of wrong doing. The maintenance of his conscience was a directive so important that he referred to it not as good advice or mere instruction. Instead, he called it a “commandment.” Then, in verse 19, Paul continues by saying Timothy must also continue: “Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck.” Paul was essentially saying that to violate one’s conscience is a slippery spiritual slope that had made others slide downward into error, and become unprofitable in the cause of Christ. At all costs, Timothy must never violate his inner conscience.

Dear believer, never violate your conscience. If you are doing something that your mind accuses as wrongdoing, cease immediately. If you are pondering a path you know will violate your conscience, don’t go there. Choose another path. It is extremely important to maintain a clear conscience before the Lord.

Free Mail Subscription

Start each day with short, devotional articles taken from the book Daily Transformation by Pastor John Fredericksen. As Pastor Fredericksen writes in the introduction:

"We welcome you, as you journey with us..., to not only learn information, but to benefit from examples of faith and failure, and seek to apply God’s Word to every day life. Together, let’s transition from only studying theories of doctrine, to applying God’s truths in a practical way every day. May God use these studies to help you find daily transformation."