"Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing."
God has blessed all men with a conscience. This is that internal awareness that either excuses the things we do or accuses us of the wrong things that we do. (Rom. 2:14-15) However, before we assume that our conscience should be our guide and direct our lives for all good living, we have to realize that conscience alone is not a good guide. You see, a conscience is only as useful as the amount of information that has been put into it. Someone who lives a life as a criminal will feel a shamed or guilty conscience if he turns or “squeals” on his accomplices. This is because at some level he ingrained his conscience with some philosophy like “there is honor among thieves.” While philosophies like this make for entertaining TV shows, they make for horribly anti-biblical living. You see, God designed our conscience to be informed well. We soak all things up and develop a world-view that will be based upon the things we allow to influence us. Our conscience simply tells us how to live. God also gave us His Word, so that we could read and know all things that He desired for us to know. One of the greatest things that He desires from us is obedience. He has equipped us with a conscience, and He has given us His Word so that we can equip our conscience for a lifestyle of obedience. Sadly, we often neglect to read His Word. Instead, we live a life that exhibits poor decision after poor decision, all the while, our own un-informed conscience excusing all of our ignorant actions. Here in 1 Peter 3:16, Peter tells us that we should have a good conscience and that our conscience should bear out the fruit of a good lifestyle in Christ. Inform your conscience with God’s Truth, and then allow that conscience to convict you of wrong doing, or to offer peace when others falsely accuse you of wrong doing.
Food For Thought: Is there such a thing as an ill-informed conscience? How do we have a well-informed conscience?