“Hold a Good Conscience”
AT THE time of the flood an entire system of things was baptized by water and to destruction. Noah’s family was spared by being baptized into him and to salvation. This present wicked system of things is due for a baptism by fire, marking its end. Those who would escape its fiery baptism must give their allegiance to the Greater Noah and be baptized into him. How can we, once having been baptized into him, hold on to that baptism and thus ensure our salvation? According to the apostle Peter this is done by “the request made to God for a good conscience”.—1 Pet. 3:21, NW.*
A good conscience toward God comes only from a realization that our sins are forgiven. To have that realization we must exercise faith in the blood of Christ, as Paul states: “How much more will the blood of the Christ, who through an everlasting spirit offered himself without blemish to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works that we may render sacred service to the living God?”—Heb. 9:14, NW.
Having our consciences made good through faith in Christ Jesus, we must keep them good and clean. This requires more than mere faith, for we can, while confessing him with our lips, deny him by the way we act. We must conduct ourselves so as to be able to say, as did Paul: “I am exercising myself continually to have a consciousness of committing no offense against God and men.” “The thing we boast of is this, to which our conscience bears witness, that with holiness and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but with God’s undeserved kindness, we have conducted ourselves.”—Acts 24:16; 2 Cor. 1:12, NW.
Having received the great honor of being God’s ministers, we must carry on this ministry in sincerity and not for any selfish purpose, so that we shall not only have a clear conscience ourselves, but also be able to recommend ourselves to the consciences of others. “Since we have this ministry according to the mercy that was shown us, we do not behave improperly, but we have renounced the underhanded things of which to be ashamed, not walking in craftiness neither adulterating the word of God, but by making the truth manifest recommending ourselves to every human conscience in the sight of God.” (2 Cor. 4:1, 2, NW) Use tact, yes, but be truthful!
If we would appeal to the consciences of others and stir them up to act, we must present the pure unadulterated Word of God, and do so in sincerity, with a clean conscience. It is very easy to get a defiled conscience. How so? By relaxing and adopting the world’s standards of morality instead of the standards set out in the Bible. So let us be careful that we do not suffer for wrongdoing, but that if we suffer it is because we are holding a good conscience toward God by keeping his commandments.
Today the Communist terror so frightens men that they readily admit to things they have not done. But not Jehovah’s witnesses. So if we want to stand when such attacks upon our integrity come, and be able to look such officials squarely in the eye, without guilty fear, and be able to answer them with the courage which our innocence and God’s approval gives us, then we must exercise ourselves to have clear consciences now. And then finally, when we appear before Jehovah God for questioning, we will also be able to make him an answer out of a good conscience and he will judge us with approval through Christ Jesus. Therefore in these wicked days, when the baptism of fire is impending, let us wisely guard against any misbehavior toward God and man. By all means let us request and hold a good conscience toward God.
For further consideration of this subject see The Watchtower, November 15, 1951.