1 Peter 3:15-22 Having a Good Conscience


Intro: Now Peter is writing to Christians who were going thru great persecution – Difficult days but an opportunity to shine

A)His advice: V.15 Sanctify the Lord in your hearts – set your eyes and heart upon the Lord – Look to Him – hope in Him


B) So that in that a situation that looks Hopeless people are going to wonder how you can be so Hopeful – Peace / Joy / Praise

   1) you will be able to give a reason for the Hope that is w/ in you


C) Now  in order to do that Peter says in v.16 we need to have a Good Conscience –BECAUSE :

1)    if my Conscience is bugging me I am not going to be very bold

If my conscience is bugging me – RELUCTANT TO SHARE


This morning we want to consider what the Bible says about the Conscience & how we can have a Good Conscience – tie into passage

A) Cowardice asks the question: Is it safe? Consensus asks the question: Is it popular? Conscience asks: Is it right?


B) First discuss the difference between Conscious & Conscience


To be Conscious – means you are awake / and Aware

A)The other night neighbors garage open – burglars – car – but she wasn’t  aware – she was asleep – ( Became aware when woke up)


B) Now Conscience is being aware or awake to what is right & wrong

1)   Your Conscience is working when you are aware of something even when you wished that you were not!!!!


C)Example of Difference: Sometimes driving in the car – listening to music or just having a conversation – just going w/ the flow

1)   So engaged in the Conversation or the music – that I am not aware at how fast I am going – Denise – Honey you are going 80mph

D) I slow down – because she made me aware – that I was speeding


But there are other times usually when I am running late – I am going 80 and I am aware of it / Conscience is telling me I am in the wrong

A)I am breaking the Law – Now I have to do something about that


B) Do I rationalize – Laws were meant to be broken – I am just keeping up w/ the flow of traffic / or catching up to flow in front of me

  1) It is only wrong if You get caught   ( Laughing because done the same)


C) So Conscious is being Aware / Being Awake / Having a Conscience is being aware & Awake to what is right & wrong !!

1)   God has built into every man a Conscience !!!!


D)At the Chang High Palace there in Thailand the King did something that was ingenious – in the Construction of the palace

1)   There at the gates that led to the entrance of the palace – he the walls out of LOAD STONE  - which is naturally Magnetic


D) Now only a few people knew about this but what this did was anyone coming into the Palace – would be assassin – hidden knife or dagger

1)   Move – naturally grab at it – guards were trained to watch – anyone who made a sudden – move – grabbing side – arrested & questioned


Well that is what the Conscience is – it is a tugging on the heart / it is that voice in our minds that grabs our attention

A) It has been placed there by the Lord & speaks to them specifically concerning right & wrong /truth & error

  1)So Romans Ch.2 Paul said that we are w/out EXCUSE –


B)The Conscience is placed there by the Lord – we have a choice we can listen to it or ignore



A few yrs ago in the Lincoln town cars – computer system that actually talked to you – oil was low / needed gas etc/

A)Well I heard the story about a guy who was driving in his Lincoln – this computer voice – woman’s voice – ( THE LITTLE LADY)


B) Well the LITTLE LADY – comes on & says – You are running low on fuel –fill up immediately

1)   Well he looked at the gas GAUGE on the dash & it was registering Ό of a tank – thought – I can go another 70 miles


C) A few minutes latter – the LITTLE LADY  again – running low on fuel ...

1)   Annoyed – reached under the dash & unplugged the wires – That will shut her up he thought  - few minutes latter he ran out of gas


D) See the problem wasn’t that the Little lady was wrong – His gas gauge was wrong – the gas gauge was Broken


People have problems today because they ignore that voice inside of them & are looking at Gauges that the world puts up that are wrong

A)Messages that the world sends about what needs to be our Priorities

  Messages about how to be Happy – The GAUGE IS WRONG


B) Listen there is One Gauge / One Standard – THE BIBLE  and Your Conscience is going to match what is in God’s word

  1) He designed us that way – Built in voice – matches His word


C)What is the Difference between our Conscience & the Voice of the H.S.

1)   The two work hand in hand :    Think of it this way – My Conscience is that voice in the Lincoln – says low on oil


D) Go to the Mechanic – says – here is the problem / You have a leak that needs fixed – takes out his Mechanic book to show you the problem

  1) The H.S. is the Mechanic who uses the word of God to confirm to you

   what your conscience was already telling you – wrong  ( Premarital sex)

Mark Twain –The Conscience is like a hair in the mouth – You need to deal w/ it

A)But if we ignore our Conscience the Bible tells us that 3 things can happen to our Conscience


B) In Titus 1:15 We are told that our Conscience can become DEFILED

1)   The word defiled  speaks of a window that doesn’t get washed – consequently it gets dirtier & dirtier – film over it


C) Can’t see out of it clearly any more – the suns light doesn’t penetrate thru it as brightly as it once did – the room – dimmer –

1)   Darkness subtly develops – but it is unrecognizable !!!


D) Like a Ship in the fog – did you know that more shipwrecks and disasters have been caused by the fog – than by storms

  1) Fog thicker & thicker not being able to see where you are going



That is what can happen to our conscience when we ignore it

A)It becomes defiled – a film develops over our hearts – so that we don’t see things as clearly as we once did


Aa)Things which at one time were  Black & white are suddenly gray-    

1)   The Lords light & love doesn’t shine as Brightly in our lives as it once

    did – there is this darkening affect that this has in our walks


B) That voice  of Conviction in our hearts begins to grow faint / Things become  foggy

1)   that is the first step in heading down road –spiritually shipwrecked


C) A DEFILED conscience eventually leads to the next description the Bible gives us / when a Conscience is ignored – BECOMES SEARED –1Tim.4:2



A SEARED CONSCIENCE – speaks of one that has moved to that place of being past seeing to PAST FEELING  

A)When Your Conscience is seared – you don’t even feel conviction about things that you once did / The Film on the window – thick sheet of ice –pond


B) Things that 10 yrs ago you would have said – No way to – are things that you are doing now – that you don’t even think about – no big deal

1)   What Happened ? Your Conscience has been seared !!!!  Point of being past feeling – NO CONVICTION AT ALL –


C) Samson – good example – He wasn’t a Dummy – all Brawn / no Brain

1)   Read the account – Delilah & the hair thing – how stupid – His Conscience was seared – started w/ little Compromises – Nazarene. Vow



3RD Thing that can happen to us when we IGNORE our Conscience

A)It becomes Poisoned – Heb. 10:22 speaks of an evil Conscience – also translated – Poisoned or perverted


B) Once a person moves from that place where their Conscience has become defiled – things are cloudy – to being Seared – past feeling

1)   PERVERSION will be the next step – their lives will be marked by Perverse things – ungodly & Immoral


C) Which is exactly what Paul reveals in Romans 1 happens to men who ignore what God has built into them –

1)   given over to all immorality & Perversity – do those things that are unnatural



So we see the importance of having a Good Conscience / Keeping Conscience Pure  - but there is a Problem

A)Because I have blown it – Because I am a sinner – My conscience can haunt me – Satan accuser of Brethren reminds me – past failings


B) And although I am not compromising & ignoring the voice of my conscience as it relates to sin

1)   I am CRIPPLED by my conscience/  because of my past !! – Not fit to be used / So  how do I deal w/ that !!!


C) Peter gives us the answer here – Seen in 3 things –1ST  Not what I do / but it is what Jesus did / 2nd Not who I am – but where I am at that matters

1)   3rd – Where Christ is presently at



1st Not what I do – but what Christ did that matters v.18

18For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,


A)LOVE THIS – Christ suffered once for sins / the just for the unjust – that was us – we were the unjust

1)   Haunted by our sins / plagued by guilt from Past sins – Satan good at reminding us of FAILURES


B) But Jesus suffered in our Place – He suffered once for sins – all sin

    Substitutionary death / Vicarious suffering

1)   He paid the Price completely / Paid it fully on the cross


C) Now I am JUSTIFIED – just as if never sinned


D) I can truly have a good Conscience if I understand what Jesus did for me at Calvary

1)   All my sins / all my short comings PAST PRESENT & FUTURE were nailed to the cross w/ Jesus


E) Paid for COMPLETELY by JESUS – forgiven / forgotten – nailed to the cross !!!!!



Peter Knew about this – He was a guy who’s Conscience was killing him –He had denied his Lord 3 times

A)He did what he promised he would not do – even took an Oath in his denial


B) And after the 3rd Denial – the Rooster crowed just like Jesus predicted –  

   EYES MET - Peter went & wept Bitterly

1)   But Peter went on from there to become a man who could talk about having a good Conscience


C) A man who was RESTORED  totally – a man who was effective in ministry / even though he blew it royally – why?


Because Peter understood that Jesus went to the tree - hung on the cross to pay the price for his sin !! His denial / His Rebellion / His Pride

A)But on that very same evening that Peter denied the Lord – another one of Jesus disciples betrayed Him for 30 pieces of silver -   JUDAS


B) But after Judas betrayed the Lord – his conscience began to bother him as well – he tried to right his wrong – betrayed innocent blood

1)   The religious leaders w/ whom he had made the deal – just ignored him


C)So Judas threw the money down – went out found a tree & hanged himself


Now both of these men in the same evening failed Jesus / Peter denied him ( took an oath that didn’t know him ) Judas Betrayed Him

A)The difference is one went on to great things – used incredibly by the Lord / But the other went down to damnation – to hell


B) What is the difference : simply this – they each choose a tree –Judas Chose a tree to hang himself from

1)   Peter who was Just as guilty finds himself not hung up from a tree but looking to the one who was Hanging on the tree for Him


C) Jesus who paid the price for His Sins – ( It is really that simple- YES)

Listen  a lot of people are hung up by Guilt today & rightfully so – People feel guilty because they are Guilty – Sinners

A)The Answer is not to go thru psycho analysis & numerous counseling sessions spend 1,000’s of dollars trying to “work thru your guilt”


B) You don’t need to do that Just look to Jesus & believe what the Bible says – He Paid the price – IF YOU do that guilt is removed


C) Look to Jesus see Him dying in your place – paying the price for that specific sin that you are haunted by

 1)Joy set before Him He endured  / part of that Joy was seeing you set free


D) But I Feel poisoned ? Numbers 21 – Look to the serpent on the Pole


John 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.


Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.   2 Cor.5:17


D) So whether it is guilt from your own sin that Haunts you or bitterness over someone else’s sin against you

  1) Answer is the same – SEE THE TREE   - EX.15


Jesus went to the tree to pay the price for your sins, to remove the guilt and to Bring you to God – Peter says in v.18

A)This word bring – speaks of the Right of Access & the Result of Access

    It has two vivid backgrounds.


B) In Greek culture  this had a specialized meaning.  At the court of the king there was an official called the Bringer / the introducer, the giver of access,

1)   and it was his function to decide who should be admitted to the king's presence and who should be kept out. – Right of Access


 In the  Jewish background. It is used in the Old Testament of bringing to God those who are to be priests. It is God's instruction:

"You shall bring Aaron & his sons to the door of the tent of meeting" Ex 29:4


A)The point is this--as the Jews saw it, only the priests had the right of close access to God only the High Priest could enter into the Holy of Holies.

1)   But Jesus is the introducer – He has introduced us to the Father – given us the Right of Access & Result – Made us a Royal Priesthood – Serve


B) So First we can have a Good Conscience before God – Because of what Jesus did for Us !!!!


2ndly We  can have a good Conscience because of where we have been placed V.19-21

A)V.19,20 are two of the most difficult & debated passages in the N.T.-

   (to be honest I am not sure what this is referring to )


Aa) But that doesn’t bug me – because this is not an issue of doctrine that Peter is presenting here – but rather an Illustration of a principle)


B) He is still discussing the work of Christ – He died for us - & He is going to explain that we are placed in Him – like Noah in the Ark


C) Now the confusion centers around two things – what did Jesus preach & who did He preach it to ?


Now the word Preached here is notable – because it is different from the word most commonly used for Preach that means to Present the gospel

A)This word simply means to proclaim truth


B) So the question that is debated is – what was the truth proclaimed & who was it proclaimed to ?   Several interpretations – quickly give two Popular



C) Now we know that Prior to the Resurrection. Of Jesus that Hades was divided into 2 sides / separated by a gulf /  story Lk 16   Lazarus & the Rich man

1)   One side was Abraham’s bosom – righteous dead  - those who believed in God & sought to live for God – That is where Lazarus was


D) The other side of Gulf– was full of torment – rich man was – Hot /


Now we also know from Eph. 4:7-9 That Jesus descended into Hades and led those who were in Paradise –Abe’s Bosom – Led out

A)Set captives free –


B) Now some think this passage here in 1 Peter refers to that event – When Jesus went into Hades to free the Captives – those waiting

C) Preached the truth to them – that it was not their sacrifices or their trying to keep the law that saved them but it was – His work on the Cross


Problem w/ that view is that v.20 seems to identify the ones that He spoke to as being those who were disobedient – ( Seem not Abe’s ..)

A)And v.20 also sets aside a certain time frame – the days of Noah

    Those in Abe’s Bosom encompass all O.T. saints – all the way John B.


B) So the other popular opinion is that these disobedient spirits that Jesus preached to, were really Demonic entities that were part of the havoc

  1) & the down fall of Noah’s day


C) What they did – we are not certain of but their influence was such that it led the Lord to do what he had never done before or since ( destroy the world


D) And Jesus went to preach to these demonic spirits – the truth that their Power in the Lives of those who were in Jesus was broken

1)   Those in Christ were protected the same way that Noah & his family were protected in the Ark


Jesus was preaching Victory -  Col 2;15 DISARMED PRINCIPALITES & POWERS

I could accept either of these explanations – I tend to lean towards the latter one however  - But it really doesn’t matter that much Because

A)he Picture is clear – I can have a clear Conscience even though I have a shady past – because I have been placed in Christ / Noah Ark


B) Just like the rain came down in Judgment upon the world – Noah was protected because He was in the Ark – Wrath hit the Ark


B) So too we are Protected because the Wrath of God rained down on Jesus instead of us – we have now been placed in Him

1)   Protected from Judgment to Come/  the accusations of the enemy


C) There is NO CONDEMNATION for those who are in Christ Jesus !!!



Now  Important to understand that when Peter makes mention of Baptism saving us -he isn’t talking about – being baptized in water

A) But more so what baptism represents Antitype – A representative counter part -   to Noah


B) Not the removal of the flesh – or being washed in water = but having a good conscience toward God – Seeing How in Christ

1)   Not the Physical act of being immersed in water –but the Spiritual fact that when I came to Christ /  Immersed into the Body of Christ


C) Water Baptism is the Out expression – of that Fact – I have been placed in Jesus / washed clean of my sins – forgiven /

  1) Identification w/ Christ   death & Resurrection  Old man buried / New man


D) Paul Romans 6 3Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.


So I can have a Clear Conscience – In Christ – God sees me in Jesus


through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.


A)Because He rose – Because He is sitting at the right hand of the Father – there on the thrown – having all authority

1)   Validates everything that He has said / everything that He did


B) Which means my Position is Secure in Him !!! High Priest & Advocate    Heb.3:1 Puts it well


Heb.3:1 Therefore, holy brethren,( who we are)   partakers of the heavenly calling, (That is where we are going- Jesus Promise ) consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus,


C) Consider = FIX GAZE UPON !!!!


That is what we are to be doing in the mean time -  Back to v.15 Sanctify the Lord in our hearts