Wednesday, May 15, 2024

How to Kill a Conscience

Let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:22 NLT)

King Herod had a decision to make, and it was troubling him. Although he saw John as a threat, he admired him at the same time.

Mark’s Gospel says, “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” (6:20 NLT).

This is amazing, considering the fact that John had called out Herod on his sin. John was fearless. He didn’t care who people were or what their positions were. And Herod put up with this because he admired the great prophet.

What was the sin that Herod was involved in? The Bible simply says that he was married to Herodias, his brother’s wife. And history tells us that, indeed, Herod married his brother Philip’s wife. But it gets even worse, because Herodias was the daughter of Philips’s half brother, which also made her Herod’s niece.

What’s more, Herodias had a daughter named Salome, whom Herod looked at lustfully. So, he not only married his brother’s wife, who happened to be his niece, but he also had a lustful eye for the daughter of Herodias.

But unlike her husband, Herodias wasn’t impressed by John. In fact, she hated him. The Bible tells us that “Herodias bore a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But without Herod’s approval she was powerless” (Mark 6:19 NLT).

As a result, Herodias found another way to deal with John. She had Salome perform a little dance for Herod at his birthday party. And when Herod got worked up and offered to give Salome anything she wanted, Herodias instructed her to ask for the head of John the Baptist. So she did.

Matthew tells us, “Then the king regretted what he had said; but because of the vow he had made in front of his guests, he issued the necessary orders” (14:9 NLT).

Herod was concerned about impressing people. He made the offer, and he felt that he had to honor it to save face.

The king should have said, “What was I thinking? I retract that statement. I’m not going to follow through.” But he didn’t care about principle or doing what was right. Instead, he did what he thought others expected him to do.

This decision tormented Herod, and it troubled what was left of his conscience. And unbeknownst to the king, his conscience was dying.

How do you kill a conscience? You do it a little at a time. You know something is wrong, your conscience troubles you about it, and you try to ignore it. Then as time passes, your conscience becomes harder and harder to hear.

The best way to deal with a troubled conscience is to get rid of what produced it, and that is sin. Only Jesus Christ can forgive sin and resensitize the conscience. He died on Calvary’s cross and shed His blood for us. We must call our sin what it is and stop making excuses for it.

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