'My conscience is clear.' This has become the standard answer in the church to excuse sin. And for many people- they believe this is a fine standard- Jiminy Cricket said to "always let conscience be your guide."
Although conscience is important, and conscience is one of the ways that God has given to direct our sense of right and wrong- we must understand something. The conscience is fallen. It too is tainted by Adam's guilt. So when one becomes a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, he or she must bring his conscience under the authority of Jesus Christ. As we inform our conscience from the Scriptures, only then will be able to find it useful for us. Of course, even then it is not our standard of behavior- the Scriptures are. So next time you attempt to excuse sin with stating, 'My conscience is clear' ask yourself whether your conscience has been properly informed by the Word of God. The Bible is our guide in the Christian life- and the conscience should affirm what the Scriptures teach.
The Reformed Presbyterian Testimony has a helpful statement in chapter 20:
Conscience is a sense of right and wrong by which one evaluates his own thoughts and behavior. When one follows his conscience, he feels a measure of contentment; when he violates his conscience, he feels dis- tress. Conscience is natural to man, and implies his accountability to God, but it is not the rule of faith and practice. Conscience shows the work of the law written on the heart, but is distorted by the work of Satan, by man’s sinful nature, and by the ungodly standards of the world. The Christian’s conscience is to be directed by God’s revealed law, under the illumination of the Holy Spirit, with due attention to the teaching and admonition of the brethren. Although conscience is not infallible, a person should not do what he believes to be wrong.