ARE YOU LIVING IN THE LIGHT OF YOUR SIN OR GOD’S GRACE?
“I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.” – Acts 24:16
Paul, the anointed apostle to the Gentiles, aimed to be honorable in the sight of God and the world. His new life in Christ was Spirit-led. His noble goal was to act with the highest moral integrity… loyal and obedient to God, His will and His ways… glorifying Him by leading a pure and godly life.
As believers, we are led by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit acts upon our consciences, guiding us in the right ways… the holy ways… the ways of Christ. We can choose to ignore the tuggings of the Spirit, yet to our detriment. Only as we choose to live rightly before God and man can our consciences remain clear.
“There is no saint without a past, no sinner without a future.” – St. Augustine
What deters us from keeping a clear conscience before God?
» Forgetting His love and mercy… and His promise to forgive
» Buckling under the weight of our sins… believing them to be too great to be forgiven
» Feeling hopeless… burdened by guilt and remorse
» Presuming upon His mercy by continuing in our sins
» Forgetting the magnitude of our sins… and the barrier it creates between us and a holy God
» Hardening our hearts to the Spirit’s leadings
“How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!” – Hebrews 9:14
Sin defiles our consciences. Only the blood of Christ, the divine Lamb of God, can cleanse our consciences. He has atoned for all our sin… all the wrongs we have done in the past and all the sins we will commit in the future. Our repentance keeps our relationship with Him open and honest… allowing us to experience His indwelling peace and purity.
It is with a pure conscience that we can approach our heavenly Father with confidence. No barrier exists. We can come before His throne, into His magnificent presence, with the purity that is Christ in us.
“Fight the battle well, holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith.” – 1 Timothy 1:18-19
Jesus is the Captain of our salvation. We dare not allow our faith to be shipwrecked. How could this happen? By willfully resisting the Spirit of Christ in our life… turning away from the Truth of the gospel… and thereby falling out of God’s grace. By rejecting our Captain, we are like a ship striking a rock and sinking.
Yet all is not lost. Remember Paul was three times shipwrecked and saved. Our faith can be saved by getting back on course… heeding the voice of our Captain… and following His leading unwaveringly. We strive to keep our conscience undefiled… tender and receptive to the Holy Spirit. We aim for a holy life marked by integrity and moral purity.
“Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” – Hebrews 10:22
God loves us faithfully and unendingly. Yet He cannot tolerate sin because of His absolute purity. Only Jesus can purify the hearts and wash clean the consciences of those of us who draw near to Him.
As we lean into God’s love and mercy… as we keep our slates clean before Him through repentance… as we allow the Spirit to keep us spiritually pure, we walk in His forgiveness. Only then can we live as children of God, pure and blameless in this world (Philippians 2:15).
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” – 2 Corinthians 5:10
Looking back on your life, do you see yourself in light of your sin or in light of God’s grace? Has your conscience become muddied by guilt? Or have you allowed Jesus to cleanse and purify your conscience?
When we stand before Christ… when we see Him face to face… will we want anything to come between us? Will we not want to stand pure and right before Him? Would we not rather clean our slates in this life… and be open and honest before Him day by day, moment by moment, so that nothing is kept hidden within us?
If we lead such a life, at journey’s end we will not carry with us a burdened conscience. Let us take hold of the opportunity in this life to humble ourselves and gratefully accept His mercy and grace toward us.
Jesus redeems our life’s story. We are forever His. As we strive to follow our Captain and do as He would in this world… as we follow hard after holiness in this life… we can face our life’s end without guilt or remorse. We will have lived our life in the grace and power of our Lord Jesus.