Today’s Bible readings can be found here: Habakkuk 3:1-9 and 1 Corinthians 4:1-10.
1 Corinthians 4:4 “My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.” (NIV)
I find today’s highlighted verse to be very insightful, especially when I try to justify things I have done, which are questionable. I convince myself that what I’m thinking or doing is right, so, therefore, God will understand, accept, and perhaps even bless my choice. The trouble with that kind of thinking is this: I’m trying to create God in my own image instead of His.
When Paul wrote ‘my conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent,’ he was leaving himself vulnerable from attack by his opponents. They would use it to indicate that the great apostle Paul had sinful flaws and was not perfect. They could point their fingers at him and condemn his ministry because of his personal confession. Paul may have convinced himself and other folks that his deeds were right, but in the end, God would judge him for being a sinner, not a saint.
In our society, we all come across Christians who never seem to question their motives, choices, or deeds. As long as their conscience is clear, they can keep on doing what they want, how they want, and to whomever they want. They equate a clear conscience with approval from God, rather than seeing the truth and understanding that they are sadly and sinfully deluding themselves. As Paul clearly suggests, it doesn’t matter what we think about ourselves, only God can judge if we are truly innocent. And no matter how much salve or cover we place over our consciences, God knows our motives completely and it is those unhidden parts of our minds, hearts, and consciences which will be judged, no matter who we are, what we’ve accomplished, or how we are perceived by other people.
Point to ponder: Do I use my faith to justify my bad behavior? If I were God, what would I judge me for?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we are sinful creatures with shameful secrets and hidden deceits. We convince ourselves that our behavior is acceptable and our consciences are clear. Forgive us for being deluded by our own vanity and enticed by our own charms. Remind us of our failings, help us to confess our sins, and enable us to change our ways. In Your Holy Name, we humbly pray. Amen.
Today’s image is one of John’s worship drawings based on Psalm 139. If you would like to view a larger version, please click here. If you would like to send some feedback on today’s message, please send him an email to Traqair@aol.com.