“The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience. Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do.”(Romans 13:4-6 NLT)
In our endeavour to keep a clear conscience, we must work on having a clear conscience before God, but before man as well. God expects us to be ambassadors of heaven, and to do this we must be exemplary citizens on the earth in whatever nation we find ourselves. Christians should lead the race in being law-abiding citizens. It matters to God not just how we behave in church, but how we behave out there in the world. It is also very important that we are not guilty of misrepresenting Christ in any way. Even if the world persecutes us, let it be for our good works and not because we have broken the laws of the land.
Of course, there is a general exemption when the law of the land violates our faith. In such instances, we are encouraged to place God above Man. But generally speaking, we must
endeavour to ensure that as much as we strive to keep a good conscience before God, we also strive to keep a good conscience before men.
The Apostle Peter said: “But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong!” (1 Peter 3:16-17 NLT)
Prayer: Teach Me, Father, to be an exemplary citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven. Help me not to bring your name and your kingdom to disrepute.
(To access the entire “The Conscience” mini-series, please press here.)