A Clear Conscience?

February 25, 2018
by John Stuart

1 Corinthians 4:4 – My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. (NIV)

I find today's highlighted verse to be very insightful, especially when I try to justify things that I have done which are questionable. I convince myself that what I'm thinking or doing is right, so, therefore, God will understand, accept, and perhaps even bless my choice. The trouble with that kind of thinking is this: I'm trying to create God in my own image instead of His.

When Paul wrote, "My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent", he was leaving himself vulnerable to attack by his opponents. They could use it to indicate that the great apostle Paul had sinful flaws and was not perfect. They could point their fingers at him and condemn his ministry because of his personal confession. On the other hand, some folks may have been convinced that Paul's deeds were all right, but he is reminding them that God would judge him for being a sinner, not a saint. It strikes me that Paul wanted to show his imperfection in order to give God the greater glory for His true judgment and great mercy.

In our society, we all come across Christians who never seem to question their motives, choices, or deeds. As long as their conscience is clear, they can keep on doing what they want, how they want, and to whomever they want. They equate a clear conscience with approval from God, rather than seeing the truth and understanding that they are sadly and sinfully deluding themselves. As Paul clearly suggests, it doesn't matter what we think about ourselves; only God can judge if we are truly innocent. No matter how much salve or cover we place over our consciences, God knows our motives completely, and it is those deeply personal parts of our minds, hearts, and consciences which will be judged, no matter who we are, what we've accomplished, or how we are perceived by other people.

Points to ponder: Do I use my faith to justify my bad behaviour? If I were God, what would I judge me for?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, we are sinful creatures with shameful secrets and hidden deceits. We convince ourselves that our behaviour is acceptable and our consciences are clear. Forgive us for being deluded by our own vanity and enticed by our own charms. Remind us of our failings, help us to confess our sins, and enable us to change our ways. In Your holy name, we humbly pray. Amen.

About the author:

John Stuart <traqair@aol.com>
Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thanks John.

    Thanks for the good word, John.

    Another lovely devotional John. Thanks for sharing this thought.

    Wow! Good one and so on the spot for what is going on right now in the world, and particularly, in the USA.

    Amen John!
    Thank you for your powerful devotional! It hit home!

    Dear John
    Thank you for your Very powerful message. I appreciate your clarity.
    God bless you as you serve Him.

    Hello John
    This is so true and so worth the read! Thank you for sharing and good to know we are not alone in our thinking.
    God bless.

    I sure find myself apologizing to God a lot, especially for being impatient with people who are who they are.
    May well be justified but it is not loving.
    Thanks for your helpful insights.

    Thank you, John, for stating this so well. Blessings.

    Greetings John,
    Appreciated your devotional this morning. So true that things we do, we can so easily justify in our own minds and convince ourselves the Lord would approve but He is the final judge and requires our repentance and request for forgiveness.

    Dear John Stuart,
    I pray for you and for all persons troubled by past sins and short-comings:
    “Dear God, Let us bury the sins of the past in the place of your death by crucifixion. May we dig them up no more, knowing they went into the tomb with your sacrifice on our behalf. Help us to remember that they are as GONE as is your crucifixion. Help up to remember that, as you raised up Jesus your beloved Son, you raise us up to sinless, new eternal existence for your name’s sake; and you cleanse us for life in your pure heaven.”
    The “Thought for Today” and the “Verse for Today” are very pertinent for today too.

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