“For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the One who examines me is the Lord.” (I Corinthians 4:4)
There is an old expression: “Let your conscience be your guide.” But Paul shows us here that the old adage is insufficient. He asserted that in regard to the situation in the church at Corinth, “I am conscious of nothing against myself.” But significantly, he went on to say that his own conscience was NOT an adequate guide.
He wrote: “YET I am not by this acquitted.” He knew that just because he felt like he was right in this situation, did not mean that he was. There is a higher standard than his own conscience: “The One who examines me is the Lord.”
This is a needed reminder for us today. Many people “feel good” about doing one thing or another, or dismiss prohibitions against a certain activity, saying, “I don’t feel bad about it” — as if their own conscience was the final authority. It is not. You can “feel” like you are right about a certain activity, or opinion, but still be wrong. Even the Apostle Paul, one of the greatest Christians in all history, admitted that he was not acquitted by his own conscience. We are not either. We will not be judged on the basis of our “feelings” of right or wrong, but by the objective standard of the word of God.
Paul’s example here should engender humility in each of us as God’s servants. Our own consciences, or feelings about something, can deceive us. Your conscience is NOT your ultimate judge. God Himself is. And He has revealed the objective standards by which He will judge us in His word.