Scripture Reading: Acts 24:1-21
“But this I confess to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the law and written in the Prophets, having a hope in God, which these men themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust. So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man.” (Acts 24:14-16)
Paul was taken from Jerusalem to Caesarea where he appeared before Felix the governor of the region. False charges were brought against Paul by some of the Jewish leaders who came from Jerusalem (vs. 1-9). None of these charges was true.
Felix gave Paul the opportunity to defend himself (v. 10). Paul’s words were brief, respectful and honest. He spoke calmly and confidently before Felix and his accusers. He denied inciting any riots and said that his accusers could not prove the charges they brought against him (vs. 11-13). Paul clearly stated what he believed (vs. 14-15) and added these words: “So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man” (v. 16).
Keeping a clear conscience is important for our spiritual well-being. Paul affirmed that he worked hard to keep a clear conscience before both God and man. This requires being open and honest about ourselves. It means that we are willing to examine our motives and actions in light of God’s Word. And it means when we sin against God and others that we are quick to repent of and to confess our failures. We must seek to keep short accounts by dealing with our sins openly and honestly before God and others according to the means God has provided. “How much more will the blood of Christ, who throughout the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God” (Hebrews 9:14). In order to keep a clear conscience, we must face our sins and failures, confess them, and trust God to forgive us on the basis of Christ’s blood shed for us.
Keeping a clear conscience enables us to be authentic, truthful and faithful in our relationships with God and with our fellow human beings. We, like Paul, are to take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man.
Lord Jesus, I appeal to Your gracious love and sacrifice to cleanse my conscience from all the times I have failed You and others. Thank you for Your precious blood that sets my conscience free and enables me to serve You and others with integrity.
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