and looking intently at the council, paul said, “brothers, i have lived my life before God in all good conscience up to this day.” [acts 23:1]


a clear conscience.


what does this mean, and why could paul claim to have lived his life in all good conscience? wasn’t he a murderer of christians and in hateful opposition to Jesus as the messiah? how do any of us live life with a clear conscience?


there is good news to rejoice in today. we can live with a clear conscience, although tied to our still sinful flesh, because we have the righteous record of one who never sinned, who died in our place, and is advocating for us at the right hand of the Father. we are hidden in Christ with God! we are washed clean by the blood of the Lamb! paul, who referred to himself as the greatest of sinners, had been brought into the light of Christ who gives a clear conscience of a righteous record to all who believe on his name. 


thank you Jesus!


what, then, is meant by the pricking of our conscience when we sin, the sadness we feel when we have strayed from the way of the Lord, when the Holy Spirit brings painful conviction? if our record is clear, why do we experience this grief? 


for godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. [2 cor 7:10]


because our lives have been purchased by the blood of Christ, we are his. we are his children, his kingdom of priests, his chosen ones, his beloved. so when we stray, he promises not to let us go. he promises, through the gift of repentance, to keep us in the fold, never losing one, but always bringing us back into the light of God’s perfect ways. and because of this continuing cycle of sin, grief, repentance, then unity, we can live a life of good conscience before the Father. the blood of Jesus and the working of the Holy Spirit never letting us wander from the fold. we are his. he has us!


today, in the presence of a Father who invites us to run to him in repentance again and again and again, thank him for this gift. thank him for the blood of Christ who tore the veil that we might come into his presence with confidence and receive mercy and find grace to help in our time of need. thank him for the Holy Spirit who faithfully brings us to repentance when we stray, sealing us for the day of the Lord, keeping us in the fold until the very end. thank him for a lifetime of good conscience, for his delight in our purchased life, that he rejoices over us with loud singing, all to the praise of his glorious grace. his love never fails!


for this reason i bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. [ephesians 3:14-19]


~arwen eastman