Paul looked straight at the Sanhedrin and said, "My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day.”
How could Paul make such a statement? Didn’t he formerly persecute and kill followers of Jesus? Yes, but apparently, he didn’t violate his conscience in doing those things.
And now Paul is released to speak to the Supreme Court of Israel and he is set to defend his recent action of creating students for Jesus. The very idea he formerly opposed!
Apparently, Paul could look back at the contradictory actions in his life and truthfully say he did everything in good conscience.
When he persecuted Christians, he thought it was God’s Will. After meeting Jesus, he worked to spread the Good News of Jesus. In both, he did what he thought to be right at the time.
That’s a good conscience! Doing what you think is right!
Sometimes preachers and commentators make much of the fact that conscience is not a good guide. The point is often made that only God’s Word – the Bible – can properly inform our consciences.
We can be conscientious, and be very wrong! After all, Paul was wrongly persecuting Christians with a clear conscience.
These are good observations. Our consciences alone are not an infallible guide for behavior. Doing something in good conscience doesn’t necessarily mean what we are doing is right. God’s Will must be the teacher of our conscience.
But there is another truth here and this is the importance of following our consciences! A good conscience is a mark of integrity. God gave us conscience to motivate us to proper behavior and create guilty feelings when we violate it.
Consider the possibility that Jesus appeared to Paul and chose him to be an apostle precisely because he was always lived with a good conscience!