How do you justify your conscience? As Christians we are to always do right, speak right and walk right. Yet, at times we make mistakes, doubt and sin. It is primarily due to choosing our mind rather than a Spirit-guided conscience (mind). We must justify our conscience. Because whether or not we do right, we are to be truthful about it. Only a conscience not guided by the mind inclined to the flesh allows one to justify self. Paul said, “I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 9:1).
Justifying (validating) self is a huge deal in Christianity, because it reflects the God who alone is holy and true. For example, the faith of a person must be utterly unadulterated if God is to credit it to him or her as righteousness. A little wavering in belief in Christ or His word results in not being justified. Justifying self is a serious act God requires of us. When we are born of Him we must be able to justify ourselves because of that which He poured on us. The reason we see people boast, cover up and falsely justify themselves is because they haven’t had the pouring. We notice lack of honesty in them. Still others fear even the thought of justifying themselves because of the conundrum surrounding it. Then looking at Paul it appears he is stretching the idea of justifying self. But it’s clearly not the case. He is right on the dot in doing it. We know it when we see him often confess the kind of man he was before the Damascus incident. We further see it as he calls himself a wretched sinner in Romans chapter 7, because at times he has no control over the sin-nature in him. Justifying ourselves at all times is absolutely needed that we please God and it cannot happen without the Spirit poured on us. So, let’s see what notes we can realize from Paul’s words about it.
- We must have an ardent fear of Christ. Only then we tell the truth.
- Telling the truth in Christ means we are speaking His mind or perspective, though we actually tell it to men or a group of men. It is needless to say this act applies in all situations, even in times we sinned.
- We do not justify our sins, but we justify ourselves by confessing them before God. It comes as a privilege from God previously justifying us by faith in Christ.
- We confess sin because the Holy Spirit sincerely prompts us to do so. This is where followers of Jesus and mere church-goers are known.
- As believers every time we say something or speak we are privileged to do it from a Spirit-guided conscience, unless one deliberately ignores it. It is how intertwined the Spirit is with us as part of being justified by faith, a point many do not own and thus, find difficult to accept.
- This leads to an important point. Once we are justified by faith our conscience is meant to work separately from our flesh and soul (emotions).
- The flesh can be tempted and the soul made anxious, but as long as we let the Spirit work on our conscience we can act truthfully before God.
- This brings us to the toughest part – surrendering our total self to God so that the work the Spirit does on our conscience brings forth words and works from us, which is our plurality of testimony.
It wasn’t Paul’s way to showcase him as great by justifying himself, but it was in being in such a humble state before Christ so that his conscience does not betray him. When this is not understood, he can appear a bit arrogant and a reason to be misunderstood as was by some in his days.