When you read the New Testament, over and over you will find the Apostle Paul referring to the importance of a clear conscience; both in his own life and in the lives of those he is influencing. Conscience is the God-given, innate skill that helps us sense right from wrong. The conscience, however, cannot teach us right from wrong. It is not the voice of God or the voice of Satan, it is not infallible, and it cannot introduce new information. It can only hold us accountable to the highest standard we perceive.
“For every look at self, take 10 looks at Christ.”-Robert Murray M’Cheyne
The conscience, when trained by the Word of God and empowered by the Holy Spirit, can be invaluable in helping us live a Christ honoring life. To that end it is important for each of us to, as much as possible, live with a clear conscience.
Here are 6 keys for a clear conscience:
- Confess and forsake your known sins.
- Ask forgiveness of those you have wronged.
- Make restitution.
- Do not procrastinate in clearing a wounded conscience.
- Educate your conscience.
- Obey the Word of God.
Examine your sins in the light of the Word of God. (Hebrews 9:14)
It’s not enough to only go to God with repentance, but take responsibility with the person you have wronged as well. (Matthew 5:23-24)
If damage has occurred, do all that you can to repay or replace what has been taken or damaged. (Luke 19:8)
Time does not erase or purify the conscience. It’s important to clear our conscience with the above steps as soon as we are aware of our sin.
Many people are tormented because they have a hyper active conscience. Immerse yourself in the Word so that your conscience functions at a reliable standard.
Don’t just talk the talk, but walk the walk. (1 John 3:18-22)
Robert Murray M’Cheyne, a Minister in the Church of Scotland during the early 1800’s, spoke about the importance of personal introspection while training our conscience by saying this, “For every look at self, take 10 looks at Christ.” We must remember to focus on the triumph of Jesus Christ and do what it takes to walk with a clear conscience, so we can experience peace in the midst of trials and know His joy in our lives.
 The Vanishing Conscience, John F. MacArthur, Jr., Word Publishing 1994