The power of a good conscience releases the power of God to impact people you share your faith with and live your life with. Like good health is important to your body and well being, a good conscience empowers your relationships with God and man. A guilty conscience exposes the disease of sin destroying you within.
In Acts 23:1 we find this statement, “Then Paul, looking earnestly at the council, said, “Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.” (NKJ)
Acts 24:16 “This being so, I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men.” (NKJ)
In these verses, Paul explains his commitment to having a clear, clean, healthy conscience. A conscience with offense means that his conscience is full of past sins or offenses that God can point at and say you disobeyed me and never tried to make it right. And it also means that people around him could also point at him and say “you offended me why should I believe anything you say?”
But a good conscience or one without offense means that he clears up problems with people and God so that there is no standing conflict between them.A good conscience or one without offense means that he clears up problems with people and God. Click To Tweet
This means that Paul had to humble himself and ask forgiveness for things he did against someone. He had to repair his relationships and make things right. He had to give things back that he borrowed from them, pay back loans given to him, repair people’s reputations if he spoke ill of them, etc.
He made sure all things were corrected and the offended were fully satisfied in their eyes.
He also taught the importance of a clean conscience in 1 Tim 1:19, “having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck,” (NKJ)
Now, why is it so important to have a good conscience? The reason a good conscience is important is that without a good, clear conscience you will shipwreck your faith. This is illustrated by a ship going through a channel that must keep exactly on the course that was mapped out in the past as a shipping lane. If the ship goes off the course for any reason it will run aground and be shipwrecked by hidden rocks. And the commands of Jesus are like the stars that ancient captains used to direct their way.
A dirty conscience will wreck you because unconfessed sin leaves you in conflict with God and without direction or protection from satanic traps set in your path to defeat and harm you. And not only that, unconfessed sin is a disease that harms your body, soul and spirit.
In fact it is pure hypocrisy to claim to be a follower of Jesus, and yes profess to know God, but instead live in constant disobedience to God contaminating your soul. Paul says in Titus 1:15-16, “To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled. They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.” (NKJ)
Since unconfessed sin acts like a disease, it grows and makes you so sick it blinds you from seeing God. It damages your spiritual ears from hearing God’s voice. Your relationship is so destroyed that His benefits, in other words, His blessings are not getting to you.
Its poison will grow inside you to produce strongholds of false ideas and character flaws. Choice by choice will take you off course until you hit the rocks of trouble and sink, leaving your faith a memory, and all the while you will make excuses and blame someone else for your troubles that fill your life.
In Heb 12:2-4 we are told to follow Jesus… “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.” (NKJ)
Yes, keep looking at Jesus for the course you are to take so that you will not shipwreck. He resisted sinning against the Father until he was so distressed he sweat drops of blood. The first responsibility we have is to try hard to obey and stay on course. We must keep looking to Him, confessing our sin, crying to Him, and pleading for more grace to endure until victory.
Two of my sons are good examples of this principle. Driving can be dangerous if you do not keep your eyes on the road. Back When my oldest was learning to drive in our church parking lot that had many pine trees to keep the lot cool, well, he got his eyes on something on the floor that he tried to pick up, and you guessed it, he got off course and hit a tree!
My second son sneezed while driving his car outside the mall, and got so sidetracked he ended up hitting a tree also. Both did not want to hit a tree, but they took their eyes off the road.
The obvious lesson is to keep your eyes on Jesus, and keep following what Jesus did. Focus, focus, focus on Him! Keep your mind and heart on his promises and commands and follow them to protect you from failure in your life.
But without a clear, healthy conscience you cannot see Christ in your life. Nor is your heart able to hear his protection guidance. But we have His promises. His word is the lighthouse to guide our path.
I John 1:7-9, “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. ….. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (NKJ)
Take these steps…
1/ Clear your conscience by making a list of your unconfessed sins. List the people you have hurt or offended according to their word, not yours. It is not important that you think things are okay and forgotten, it is over only when they say it is forgiven and forgotten.
2/ Start with God. What did you do that He says is wrong and you never made it right with Him? For example, you lied and never admitted [confessed] it was wrong to God. Or you admitted it was wrong but never made it right. Ask Him to forgive you. Repent! Stop doing it! Turn to new obedience.
3/ Once you finish with God, start on all the people you know. Follow the same pattern. Start with the worst and largest offenses you committed. Make sure you admit you were wrong, ask them to forgive you, and make things right.
Never blame them for anything. Don’t ever say, “we were both wrong, so let’s start new.” A humble approach is the only true way for healing and forgiveness. Instead say, “God has convinced me that I was wrong by ______________________ [explain what you did], please will you forgive me?”
If they refuse, calmly show them you understand. You now know, what you did was more hurtful than you may have thought. But, don’t give up. Patiently make it your mission to pay them back if you took something from them. Pray for them, and give God time to act. Many times later they will have great need, humbly help them and ask for nothing in return.
Usually people will forgive, but sometimes that does not happen. If you have followed God’s instructions, then love your enemy, in spite of their hatred toward you. This is what Jesus does and teaches us to do also.
And finally, once you clear your conscience you must constantly keep it clean.
For example, I assume you like drinking out of a clean glass, don’t you? So think about this… Do you leave dirty dishes all over your house and find one to drink from? Or do you grab one and quick rinse it out to drink from, or do you like your glasses stored clean in the cupboard?
In the same way, wash your conscience immediately when you fail, through admitting your sin to God, asking forgiveness and making it right. Remember He promises that cleansing takes place by Jesus’ sacrifice at Calvary. Only His shed blood is the cleansing agent for sin, nothing else will work!You were not made to live under the constant stress of guilt. Click To Tweet
So plead for mercy from the Lord Jesus, remember saying your sorry to others is never good enough for them, make restitution to them, and make sure your conscience is cleared and in good condition again. You were not made to live under the constant stress of guilt.
From this day forward live by these words, “always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men.”