Word By Mail

Beware a Seared Conscience

Watch or Listen to Video

Mark 6:14-29

This 3-minute video and devotion come from a message of the same title. There's a link to the full message at the end of this devotion. 

An Ember of Light

Our conscience is that part of us, that God put in us, that knows right from wrong and comforts or afflicts us based on our actions. And the Bible warns of a seared conscience, which is a conscience that is unable to sense the knowledge of God’s right and wrong. In Mark 6:14-29 we see a powerful illustration of a seared conscience in Herod Antipas.
Mark 6:20 (NLT) for Herod respected John; and knowing that he was a good and holy man, he protected him. Herod was greatly disturbed whenever he talked with John, but even so, he liked to listen to him. 

There was a point in Herod Antipas’ life, where he was, to some extent, impacted by and drawn to the things of God. There is actually a good chance Herod had learned some things about God as a child (his father, Herod the Great, had been raised in a Jewish home). Whatever the source, there had been the beginning of a spiritual awakening in Herod. At one time, there was an ember of light glowing in his otherwise dark world.

A Seared Conscience

Mark 6:22-26 (NLT) Then his daughter, also named Herodias, came in and performed a dance that greatly pleased Herod and his guests. “Ask me for anything you like,” the king said to the girl, “and I will give it to you.” 23 He even vowed, “I will give you whatever you ask, up to half my kingdom!” . . .
25 So the girl . . . told him, “I want the head of John the Baptist, right now, on a tray!”
26 Then the king deeply regretted what he had said; but because of the vows he had made in front of his guests, he couldn’t refuse her. 27 So he immediately sent an executioner to the prison to cut off John’s head and bring it to him.

However, Herod chose his sensual immorality, his worldly parties, and mostly he chose his pride all over what he knew was right before God. When it came down to either the world’s ways or God’s ways, Herod chose to snuff out what little light he had – permanently. The result was a conscience that became completely seared to the things of God. It happened in a grand party one night, when Herod had to choose between his pride and what he knew was wrong .

Forgiveness Still Available

But, please hear me. Even now, even at this point, God would have forgiven Herod. Even at this moment, Herod could have chosen to repent and turn to God for salvation, even after having John the Baptist beheaded.

Do we understand that God would have immediately forgiven Herod if Herod would have turned to God for salvation? Do we believe that? Or, do we mistakenly think,  “Oh no, I’ve done too much, I’ve gone too far; God can never forgive me”?

That’s not true! Listen, please. You killed Jesus! All Herod did was kill John the Baptist. But it was your sin and my sin that put Jesus to death on the cross. The Son of God had to die because of choices you and I have made, and yet God will immediately forgive us the moment we repent and turn to him for salvation.

The Grace of God 

Luke 23:8-11 (NLT) Herod was delighted at the opportunity to see Jesus . . . 9 He asked Jesus question after question, but Jesus refused to answer . . . 11 Then Herod and his soldiers began mocking and ridiculing Jesus. Finally, they put a royal robe on him and sent him back to Pilate.

God’s grace was still there for Herod. He could have been forgiven in a moment, had he been able to bring himself to ask for forgiveness. But instead of turning to God for salvation, Herod was going to sear his conscience so he would never have to think about anything regarding God ever again.

Have you ever been in a place where you thought you had buried all the truths of God and you were just trying to live happily in your sin, and then God shows up again in your life, to give you yet another chance?

This is the grace of God that never gives up on us. God will continue showing up in our lives, and he will continue to call us to receive his grace and forgiveness until our conscience becomes so seared that we can no longer sense God’s truth.

Beware a Seared Conscience

We need to keep our hearts and our conscience open to the truths of God. We need to be careful to hold on to whatever amount of God’s truth we have. Don’t let the darkness and the sin of this world snuff out whatever amount of God’s truth you have received.

Instead, act on what you’ve received. Move closer to what you’ve heard about forgiveness and salvation through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Ask God to open your heart to more of the truth that he's given you. Ask him to draw you closer to his truth. Don’t try to forget, or escape, or cover-up, or remove whatever amount of God’s truth you have.

Beware a seared conscience. Always remain sensitive to God's truth in your life.