For our proud confidence is this, the testimony of our conscience… 2 Corinthians 1:12
Paul said his conscience could testify that he had conducted himself “in holiness and godly sincerity.” What is this “conscience”?
Conscience has been explained as the ability to detach yourself from yourself, to view your character honestly. The danger comes when you can no longer trust what your conscience says…when you have ignored it so long that it’s ground down to nothing. Paul spoke of those who were “seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron” (1 Timothy 4:2).
Paul never seared his conscience. He could call upon it as a truthful witness for or against himself. By his conscience, he could tell the Corinthians he had conducted himself “in holiness”—he did what he believed God wanted him to do—and “in godly sincerity”—his motives in doing it were right as well.
This is the first priority of integrity: that what I do and the motives behind what I do are pure, pleasing to Him, right in the sight of God. And this is not, Paul said, “in fleshly wisdom, but in the grace of God” (1:12). Man’s wisdom is to take care of numero uno; if you have to bend a little honesty to do it, go ahead. Some of us call this kind of wisdom “good business sense.” James calls it “demonic” (3:15).
Paul relied on something else than human wisdom: God’s grace. “I’ll do what God says, and leave the success of it to God’s grace.”
Can you say this too?