Acts 24:16 And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.
A clear conscience is one of the most valuable spiritual assets a person can be in possession of. The passage for today tells us that Paul made efforts to cultivate and maintain a clear conscience, not only before God, but also before his fellowmen, for the horizontal relationship with fellow human beings, is directly affected by the vertical relationship with God. When we have a guilty conscience, it has a deleterious effect not only on our minds, but also on our health, for whatsoever negatively affects the mind, also has dire repercussions on the body.
David experienced this first-hand after his rendezvous with Uriah's wife, and after killing his faithful soldier in order to hide the sin of adultery. As David lay on his bed at night, the thoughts of his sin greatly bothered him, and his conscience could find no rest, being haunted by bitter remorse and accusations of conscious sin. Finally, it reached a boiling point where his health was being affected, and day and night he cried to God to silence the awakened voice of conscience. Let's read:
Psalms 31:9 Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I am in trouble: mine eye is consumed with grief, yea, my soul and my belly. 10 For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing: my strength faileth because of mine iniquity, and my bones are consumed. 11 I was a reproach among all mine enemies, but especially among my neighbours, and a fear to mine acquaintance: they that did see me without fled from me.
The habit of making excuses for sin is productive of very great evil and it also quiets the voice of conscience, by lulling it into a false sense of security, and if known sin is not faithfully searched out, confessed and forsaken, then our consciences go completely dead after a while, and thus great crimes can be committed without our thoughts being disturbed. That's why as Christians we should carefully guard our consciences, by calling sin by it's right name, and not making provision or excuses for wrong-doing, but rather seeking God's face as quickly as possible so that the stains of sin can be permanently removed.
We therefore end with a passage of scripture which encourages us to guard our consciences, for they are critically important to discerning clearly between right and wrong, good and evil. Let's read:
Romans 14:22 Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.
May God preserve our hearts and minds, blameless until His appearing. God bless!