Leadership Character (2)
Wage The Good Warfare
18 This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19 holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, 20 among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.
Timothy possesses two valuable things which he must carefully guard, an objective treasure called ‘the faith’, meaning the apostolic faith, and a subjective one called ‘a good conscience’. Moreover, they need to be preserved together (as in 1:5 and 3:9), which is exactly what Hymenaeus and Alexander have failed to do.
By contrast, it is when people are determined to live in unrighteousness that they suppress the truth.
So if we disregard the voice of conscience, allowing sin to remain unconfessed and unforsaken, our faith will not long survive. Anybody whose conscience has been so manipulated as to be rendered insensitive is in a very dangerous condition, wide open to the deceptions of the devil (4:1–2).
‘A bad conscience is the mother of all heresies,’ Calvin wrote.