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A Conscience Void of Offense

Taken from DiscipleGuide’s Pathways Daily Devotionals book

Scripture: Acts 24:14-21

While Paul was in Caesarea he was tried before Felix and accused by Ananias the high priest and Tertullus, a famous orator of the day. After these men made their accusations against Paul, he was allowed to speak for himself. In the text of his address, Paul makes the well-known statement; “Herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men” (Acts 24:16). To be able to make such a claim, Paul obviously knew how to go through the spiritual work of moral purity. He was not free from offense, as we know by his own words.

Paul referred to himself as the “chief of sinners.” It is well known that Paul was present and held the coats for the mob that stoned Stephen. Nor was he free from offense according to man because in Acts 23, he was accused of speaking against the high priest.

Paul placed his emphasis on having a pure conscience. It is one of the weapons we have in spiritual warfare along with an unhindered faith. But how did Paul arrive at having a clear conscience?

This is one of the most important teachings in the Bible — how to have a pure heart and a clear conscience void of offense toward God or man. By cultivating a clear conscience, one can arrive at moral purity in this life, even though one has sin in the past. How? By being saved. God erases the slate once and for all when a person is saved. There is no double jeopardy with God. If our sins are forgiven at Calvary (and they are when we are saved), they will never be mentioned again in the judgment. What Paul was talking about was the realization of living void of offense in this life.

A life free of offense means confessing all of our sins (1 John 1:9). A person who sins and is unwilling to confess it cannot have a pure conscience. It means that we make sure there are no broken relationships behind us. We are obligated to make things right with our fellow man if we know someone has something against us in which we have committed an offense. We also have the obligation to make right something we have against someone else. Remember the Model Prayer? “Forgive us our debts as we forgive debtors” (Matthew 6:12).

Paul knew the spirit of these things. He kept his conscience clear. Do you? Can you say that you have a conscience that is clear?

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