If spiritually, someone had a “seared conscience,” can God still talk and work through that person? Can they be revived? Or is there no hope and God turns them over to a reprobate mind, as Romans 1 states? Thank you.
Thank you for your interesting question! The conscience is an amazing reality. Every human is born with a moral monitor that commends the right and condemns the wrong. Referring to unsaved Gentiles, the Scripture says, “Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;” (Romans 2:15). One conservative paraphrase plainly highlights the function of the conscience, rendering the verse, “They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right.” A sensitive conscience is a wonderful aid, yet a conscience can be mis-taught and can become either oversensitive or insensitive. Against this, believers have the blessing of the Word and the Spirit to teach their consciences.
The “seared conscience” describes those who in the “latter times…depart from the faith” by listening to “seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (1 Tim. 4:1-2ff.). These pawns in the enemy’s hands perpetuate lies from the father of lies. Their false teaching makes them false teachers. The word seared means cauterized. The context indicates these are lost people.
In Romans 1, those whom God turns over to a reprobate mind (verse 28) are hardened in their choices of sin. These would be akin to the ones said to be “past feeling” in Ephesians 4:19. Both contexts describe lost people set on a course of destruction.
It seems that what you are referring to is a de-sensitized conscience. Saved people can go against their consciences, and over time this produces an insensitivity. Yet, through the conviction of the Spirit, such consciences can be awakened, and if yielded to, revived. Anyone in a backslidden condition has trampled the conscience to get into that condition. The Spirit yearns with envy over those in such a state and seeks to awaken them that they might be revived (James 4:4-10).
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