[Papercut Press] 2002-11-12 - Maintaining a Good Conscience

Acts 24:16 In view of this, I also do my best to maintain always a blameless conscience both before God and before men.

In Grand Rapids, Michigan, in a panic, a man called the police to help him locate his lost son. Fortunately, the crack house where he left him kept the child out of harm's way. James Jackson told police he left his three-year-old son at the drug den where he went to get his cocaine, but forgot which one it was. The toddler spent the night in the confines of the crack house and was then found, unhurt, at a church where a man and woman had dropped him off.

The above may not be the best example of maintaining a clean conscience around, but it is recent, and it is what I came up with. There is much to be said in Scripture about having a clean conscience and if we are each honest, I really believe that none of us really have one. If you think you have a clean conscience you are probably closer to the Pharisee in Luke 18:9-17, than you are to the Publican, who went away justified.

While it may be impossible to maintain a clean conscience because sin constantly knocks at the door, we are still admonished by Paul to have a clean conscience. One reason why is that when we are accused wrongly of sin, our conduct will prove our true character. 1 Peter 3:16 says, "And keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame." In other words, we ought to live in such a manner that when we are accused of sin our reputation for holiness of life should make it clear that the allegations against us are faulty.

Our conscience is our sense of right and wrong. It is the moral law written on our hearts and it either approves or condemns our conduct. "In that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness, and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them," Romans 2:15. There is certainly a clear connection between our conscience and the workings of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Paul makes this clear in Romans 9:1, where he writes, "...my conscience bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit."

It is almost universally asserted that our conscience can be weakened, perverted, and defiled through sin. The term for this that is most commonly used is that our conscience can be hardened. This is why it is so important for us to engage in the practice of self examination. We need to examine our hearts and look into our lives to see if we have fallen into practices and habits that are sinful. This is an on going process because once our conscience has become hardened it becomes much more difficult to identify the habitual sins we may have fallen into. Let us seek to find ourselves as 1 Timothy 1:5 admonishes us, "But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart, and a good conscience, and a sincere faith."

"Conscience is God's spy and man's overseer....Conscience, the domestic chaplain." John Trapp

"A quiet conscience never produced an unquiet conversation." John Flavel

Soli Deo Gloria,

[email tim] godrulestb@aol.com