10 When the governor motioned for him to speak, Paul replied: “I know that for a number of years you have been a judge over this nation; so I gladly make my defense. 11 You can easily verify that no more than twelve days ago I went up to Jerusalem to worship. 12 My accusers did not find me arguing with anyone at the temple, or stirring up a crowd in the synagogues or anywhere else in the city. 13 And they cannot prove to you the charges they are now making against me. 14 However, I admit that I worship the God of our ancestors as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets, 15 and I have the same hope in God as these men themselves have, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. 16 So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man. Acts 24:10-16
Many people think about verse 16 in relation to sin and doing the right thing. Those two principles are certainly embedded in that verse, but in this context, it’s a bit different.
Several years prior to this, Paul had a radical spiritual transformation. What he believed prior to the Road to Damascus was significantly different than what he now believed. For instance, he didn’t think it was wrong to persecute Christians for their beliefs, and he was on a mission to do just that.
So now this “Way” that he was following was just as radical. In verses 14-15, his Jewish accusers would have agreed with what he said about the Law and the Prophets, and in the resurrection of the righteous and the wicked. What they believed about those two topics were very different than Paul’s new understanding of it.
Paul now had a clear conscience about his new belief system. The Law, as he would later detail in the Book of Romans, told him he was a sinner, and would ultimately point towards the Messiah, the man he had met on the Road to Damascus. His accusers would never have believed that. His conscience was clear; he could now preach and teach wherever or whenever he desired, knowing that the Spirit of God was directing him.
So, Fellow Believers, is your conscience clear about what you believe? Do you have doubts and misgivings, fears or worries? And, might I add, is your conscience clear about the things you say and do every day?