The Great Value of a Clear Conscience

by Dennis Michelson
(Novelty, Ohio)

II Corinthians 1:12-24

Introduction: The conscience - when informed by the Word of God - will approve what is right and accuse what is wrong. Paul mentions the conscience 23 times in his letters. If one has a clear conscience then times of misunderstanding can become times of marked spiritual growth. The following are four characteristics of a conscience that is clear.

1. A Clear Conscience in Light of the Return of Christ (1:12-14)

Paul had been wrongly accused of being fickle and hypocritical by the Corinthians. The phrase "in the day of the Lord Jesus" (v.14) gives us great encouragement. There is coming a day and a time and a place where all wrongs will be made right. They had questioned Paul's motive about not coming to see them.

Paul knew that his conscience was clear on that matter and was willing to let Jesus do all the talking. Do not try and bring the Judgment Seat of Christ to your present controversies and misunderstandings. It will come to you soon enough. Be sure your conscience is clear.

2. A Clear Conscience will be Serious About the Will of God (1:15-18)

Compare Paul's current dilemma with I Corinthians 16:1-7. The last phrase of verse 7 is very instructive - "if the Lord permits." Paul had planned in good faith to go to Corinth but he was providentially hindered.

The steps of a good man ( and the stops ) are ordered by the Lord. Just be sure you are a good man (or woman ) and that your conscience is clear of offense toward God and man. Paul knew that his "yes" meant "yes" and his "no" meant "no."

3. A Clear Conscience will Glorify Jesus Christ (1:19-20)

Study the text carefully. It means for every "YES" coming from God there is an "AMEN" coming from us.

4. A Clear Conscience Empowers You to Minister to Those Who Have Misunderstood You (1:21-24)

If you can only minister to those who understand you then you will not have much ministry! When we say amen to every yes of God then the Spirit of God will -

establish us (21) - a contractural term used in business

anoint us (21) - study the term it means discernment

seal us (22) - this ministry of the Spirit happened when we were saved but if our conscience is dirty then we tend to forget - grieve not the Spirit of God whereby you are sealed unto the day of redemption.

given us (22) - In our flesh we do not want to serve those who have misunderstood us but the Spirit of God can and does empower you to do so.

Conclusion: The conscience is like a window to the soul which lets in the light. If the window becomes dirty through disobedience then the light is dimmed. Remember that conscience expresses itself before, during, and after an act.

Before - Conscience will encourage you to carry out the act, or advise you against it. During - The voice of conscience is at its weakest. We are either preoccupied with what we are doing or under the sway of emotion.

The result is that the voice of conscience is muffled or even stifled. After - The conscience will speak most strongly, either approving the act or protesting against it - producing inner anxiety, unrest, and depression.

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