Then Paul, looking earnestly at the council, said, “Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.” And the high priest Ananias commanded those who stood by him to strike him on the mouth. (Acts 23:1-2)
Although Paul had lived with a “good conscience before God”, it had not prevented him from persecuting Jesus. The human conscience can never be the final judge of sin and righteousness, nor was it ever intended to be. The function of the conscience is to advise a person of right and wrong conduct based on how the conscience has been trained in what is right and wrong. A poorly trained conscience will not warn a person of a sinful act (as when Paul persecuted Christians). A conscience can even be seared so that it is no longer sensitive to sin (1 Tim. 4:1-2). Be careful to train your conscience with the truth of the gospel. A good conscience relies on God’s word to teach it what is right and wrong. Then, it will function well to warn you of sin and encourage you to do what is good. Do not “let your conscience be your guide” (your conscience may be wrong); Let God’s word guide your conscience. Your conduct will then please God, and you will “have a conscience without offense toward God and men” (Acts 24:16).