1 TIMOTHY 4:2
“by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron,”
I had to ask myself why the Holy Spirit instructed Paul to use this image. The phrase “seared…as with a branding iron” is one Greek word. It is used once right here in this verse and has the meaning of cauterizing or branding with a branding iron. You have probably seen pictures of cattle being branded.
Well, besides leaving a permanent scar on the skin, what does branding do? It makes that spot totally unsensitive. The nerve endings are dead. They have been seared. In other words, Paul is using this word to show what false teaching will do to your soul. It will make you unsensitive to the reality of sin. You will begin to feel no remorse or guilt.
Have you or your child ever burned your finger on something hot? You move quickly to stop the burn with cold water or ice, don’t you? What a great way to talk about this verse with your child. Explain how the first time that spot is burned there is a lot pain and discomfort and you want to fix it. But if you keep burning the same spot, it will stop hurting. In fact, you won’t even know you’ve burned it again.
That’s how sin works. That’s how false teaching works. The more we let it touch us, the less bothered we are by it. Before we know it, sin just doesn’t bother us. We see it all around us today. What used to be called sin is called a person’s choice. What used to be unacceptable in society is now embraced as normal. We have been seared by a hot iron.
How about your life? Have you become numb to the discomfort of sin? Does it not bother you anymore? Ask the Lord to reveal your sins to you in a powerful way. Ask Him to let you see your sins as He sees them. Then you will see the horror in them. Then you will feel the “pain” of sin. Only then can you understand how far you have slipped. Return to Him and ask for healing.
I don’t want to not feel the pain of sin. I want to know the depth of Your forgiveness in my life which is only possible as I recognize the depravity of my sin. I thank You for healing me of my sin wounds.