Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck. 1 Timothy 1:19
suggested further reading: Jude
This verse teaches us two lessons. First, teachers and ministers of the gospel, and through them the churches, are taught the horror with which they are to regard a hypocritical and deceitful profession of true doctrine and which is severely punished.
Second, this passage removes the reason why so many people are greatly distressed when they perceive that some who formerly professed their attachment to Christ and to the gospel not only fall back into their former superstitions but (which is far worse) are also bewildered and captivated by monstrous errors. By such examples, God openly supports the majesty of the gospel and openly shows that he cannot endure the profaning of it.
Experience has taught us in every age that all the errors that have existed in the Christian church from the beginning proceeded from the source, which, in some persons was ambition, and in others, covetousness, and which extinguished the true fear of God. A bad conscience is therefore the mother of all heresies. We see that a vast number of people who have not sincerely and honestly embraced the faith are hurried along like brute beasts so that their hypocrisy is eventually exposed.
In addition, contempt of God is universally prevalent. The licentious and disgraceful lives of almost all ranks show that there is either none at all or the smallest possible portion of integrity in the world. So there is very great reason to fear lest the light which has been kindled may be speedily extinguished and God may leave the pure understanding of the gospel to be possessed by very few.
for meditation: How critical it is for us to maintain an attitude of faith and a good conscience before God! Without these gifts from him, we will certainly make shipwreck. How can the very fear of making shipwreck help us maintain faith and a good conscience before him and before fellow man? How should we treat those who have made shipwreck concerning faith? Do you ever reach out to them?