How can false teachers sleep at night?


by Shawn Brasseaux

How can false teachers telling lies and selling their religious “trinkets” on television sleep at night? They are conning people, stealing their trust and money. Does not their conscience bother them? “For what saith the Scriptures?”

Such religious leaders can be divided into two categories:

  1. Those who know they are doing wrong but continue anyway for whatever reason (pride, money, popularity, and so on). It is just as clear to them they are serving the Devil as it is clear to us we are serving the Lord.
  2. Those who are innocently following the first (more experienced) group of leaders.

Of course, the “commoner” followers—the majority—make up the third group. They are just so naïve, so unskilled in or unfamiliar with sound Bible doctrine, they will look to any so-called “leaders” for help, winding up following either the first or second group of leaders (both of which are in error, whether deliberate or unintentional is beside the point).

How can the false teachers telling lies and selling their religious “trinkets” on television sleep at night? Why does their conscience not bother them? Again, some are just ignorant (untaught), and we correct their ignorance with sound Bible teaching. Nothing bothers them, they see no wrong in what they are doing, because they are unacquainted with the truth they oppose. These members of the second group are simply mimicking what they have seen and heard: it is a blind following of other leaders (the first group).

As for the first set of leaders, these used to be in the second category until they found the truth, saw their error, fought the truth to retain their error, and have graduated to the highest echelons of management. Here are the people sin has fully deadened or anesthetized inside. They are the most dangerous because they are beyond feeling. While it is possible for them to be recovered from their error, the chance is quite slim. They are so far entrenched in their iniquitous ways they are likely never to desire to leave them. Too much will be lost (money, social standing, et cetera) if they “make the break”—and they know it.

Let us consider a simple illustration. When our skin is damaged, whether due to surgery or an accident, our nerve endings are injured or irreversibly destroyed. Loss of sensation, temporary or permanent, then occurs. This is the outer man, the physical body, but sin affects the inner man, the spiritual body, similarly.

First Timothy chapter 4: “[1] Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; [2] Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; [3] Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. [4] For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: [5] For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.”

The people who have left “the faith” or sound Bible doctrine (verse 1), they have “given heed” or paid attention to “seducing spirits” or voices leading them away from the truth (verse 1), they have also “given heed” or paid attention to “doctrines of devils” (verse 1). We want to concentrate on verse 2 now. These people “speak lies in hypocrisy,” claiming to serve the truth while actually opposing it with their false teaching (see Matthew chapter 23 and John chapter 8, for instance). God’s Word also describes them as “having their conscience seared with a hot iron.” To “sear” is to burn, like a brand placed on the hides of livestock, with the hot iron rendering the skin insensitive. The Greek word for “seared with a hot iron” is “kauteriadzo,” from which we get “cauterize” (the medical practice of burning skin with an instrument to prevent bleeding or infection). In other words, their conscience—their ability to determine right and wrong, and standards to be used to feel either accused of wrongdoing or excused of wrongdoing (Romans 2:15)—is uncaring, unresponsive, not bothered.

Ephesians calls this condition “beyond feeling:” “[17] This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, [18] Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: [19] Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. [20] But ye have not so learned Christ;….” Sin has rendered these unsaved, pagan Gentiles indifferent or apathetic to spiritual pain. According to Ephesians, saints (though saved from sins in Christ) can be vulnerable to that same sin nature. Hence, 1 Thessalonians 5:19 exhorts: “Quench not the Spirit.” Even Christians can ignore or oppose the work of the indwelling Holy Spirit. They can outright resist Him, preventing Him from taking verses and bringing them to life in their life. If they are not walking by faith in sound Bible doctrine, the Holy Spirit cannot lead them into God’s life.

Also see:
» Does doctrine really matter?
» How do we identify false teachers?
» Is grieving the Holy Spirit forgivable?

» Are denominationalists deliberately lying?
» Should we hate the denominational people who misled us?