4:4 “For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord.”
For I know of nothing against myself,
The word for “know” here is to know with. Paul shared knowledge with himself. The knowledge that he shared with himself was the Word of God. That was his standard or criterion for determining whether he was on track with God or not.
yet I am not justified by this;
By not knowing himself well enough to make a judgment about himself, this does not free him from accountability. We are always blind to our sin and weaknesses, so personal justification does not acquit us before God. A conscience free from self-criticism is a very dangerous thing.
but He who judges me is the Lord.
The final judgment of our conscience is still a subject of the future at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Every motive will be clear in that day. The verdict is still outstanding. God will judge Paul in a divine court.
The court of public opinion is very insignificant in the eternal perspective of things, but the court of God is the crucial assize.
It is possible to mill our conscience so that we rationalize away what we are personally or what we do in public ministry. How men rate us is relatively insignificant. How God rates us is of ultimate importance.
Some of us tie ourselves up in knots because we constantly question our motives. There is a sense in which none of us will ever know our true motives. At that point we need to let the navel gazing go. Once we enter into subjectivism, we will find no objective criterion for measuring where we stand with God. All we can do is honestly look at God’s criteria and then let the chips fall where they may. Because we are unaware of sin in our lives, this does not mean that we do not have sin in our lives. The issue is whether we have confessed all known sin.