Our word conscience comes from two Latin words: con, meaning “with,” and scio, meaning “to
know.” We “know with” the conscience. It is the internal judge that witnesses to us, that either
approves our actions or accuses us. Conscience may be compared to a window that lets in the light
of God’s truth. If we persist in disobeying, the window gets dirtier and dirtier until the light cannot
enter. This leads to a “defiled conscience”.
A “seared conscience” is one that has been so sinned against that it no longer is sensitive to what is
right and wrong. It is even possible for the conscience to be so poisoned that it approves things that
are bad and accuses when the person does good! This the Bible calls “an evil conscience.” For
example, a criminal feels guilty if he “squeals” on his friends, but happy if he succeeds in his crime!
Conscience depends on knowledge, the “light” coming through the window. As a believer studies
the Word, he better understands the will of God, and his conscience becomes more sensitive to right
and wrong. A “good conscience” is one that accuses when we think to do wrong and approves when
we do right. It takes “exercise” to keep the conscience strong and pure. Are you exercising your
From Paul: “I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man” (Acts 24:16, NIV).
Look up: Romans 2:14-15; Titus 1:15; 1 Timothy 4:2; Hebrews 10:22.
Action assignment: Take a minute to consider how well your conscience functions. Ask God to make
your conscience even more sensitive to right and wrong.
WARREN W. WIERSBE