A “seared” conscience is not a “dead” conscience. In Scripture, the conscience is referred to as “weak” (1 Cor. 8:7–12), “good” (1 Tim. 1:5), “pure” (1 Tim. 3:9), “defiled” (Titus 1:15), and “evil” (Heb. 10:22), but it is never called “dead.” In John 8:9 one might think that the accusing, self-righteous Pharisees would have had dead consciences, but when Jesus spoke of their sin, “Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last.” Not one of them escaped the accusatory voice of the conscience. It was Rom. 2:15 in action: “who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them.”
Some may wonder about casting our “pearls before swine” by witnessing to those whose consciences seem seared. When do we stop offering the gospel to the hardened unsaved? Scripture uses the analogy of a pig to the describe someone who makes a profession of faith, but goes back to the world (see 2 Pet. 2:22). The pig, considered an unclean animal, wallows in filth to cool its flesh. If someone’s “conversion” is spurious, it is only a matter of time until he has to go back to the filth of the world to cool his flesh. We often call these people “backsliders,” but they are in reality “false converts,” and most of us would agree that they are the hardest to reach with the true gospel. This is because they usually say they were born again, read the Bible, went to church, witnessed, sang praise songs, etc., but then they “saw the error of being a Christian.” However, we each need to decide for ourselves whether to stop witnessing to such people. If we do stop, that doesn’t mean we give up on them. God forbid. We may stop sharing the gospel because they are contentious, but we should never stop praying for their salvation, until the day death seizes them. Then, and only then, is the battle over.
1 Timothy 4:2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,