Standing before the Jewish council, Paul boldly affirmed, “Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.”
In response, the high priest commanded Paul to be struck on the mouth. I’m not at all certain why his statement evoked such a response. Paul was not claiming to be right, only a person of integrity.
Our focus today is on Paul’s clear conscience, and for the very reason mentioned above. Having a good conscience didn’t make him right. Paul persecuted Christians with a pure conscience (Acts 8:3), but it didn’t make him right. With a pure conscience, Paul pillowed his head after torturing Christians, going so far as giving his voice of approval for their murder (Acts 26:9-11), but it didn’t make him right.
Finally, it should be noted that all these things were not done because Paul was some insanely wicked man who hated religion. In fact, all these things were done in a vain attempt to please God.
Jesus spoke of men like Paul in John 16:2, “They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service.” Was ever there given a better description of Saul of Tarsus?
In like fashion, Islamic fanatics believe they do their god service when they subjugate and/or kill infidels (non-Muslims).
But this blog isn’t about them. The main thought I want you to consider is that sincere people can claim to love God, believe in Jesus, read their Bibles regularly, live good lives, and still not be pleasing to God.
Matthew 7:21-23 shows us that some will enter Judgment unprepared, even though they had dedicated themselves to what they believed was faithful service to God. To these Jesus will say, “I never knew you; depart from Me.”
We close with a few words from the Book of Wisdom… “There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end thereof is the way of death” (Pro 14:12; 16:25). “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered” (Pro 28:26).