12 For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you.
the testimony of our conscience
Our “conscience” is what approves or disapproves of what we do (2 Co 4:2; 5:11). The verdict of Paul’s team’s conscience is that they operated by credibility. He functioned consistently with his biblical norms. Conscience can form by culture, but that is not Paul’s point. He rejoiced in his team’s testimony; they were true to their consciences.
The conscience is not a perfect guide (1 Co 4:4; 8:7; 1 Ti 4:2). However, it is a measurement of how we live up to norms (1 Ti 1:19). The more the Word of God informs one’s conscience of God, the more accurate it is (1 Ti 3:9).
Our conscience is our standards whereby we live the Christian life.
Our conscience is what gives the green or red light to the direction of our lives. If a person does not live by a set of norms for his life, then he is subject to anything. It also indicates that he has not exposed himself to God’s Word. He also becomes vulnerable to subjective guilt rather than objective guilt. He lives with a constant sense of failure.
One of the most precious things a believer possesses is his testimony. It takes time to construct a testimony. Lip and life are both important to our testimony; however, if we are lip and no life, then our testimony is of little value. If people examine our lives over time, then they can assess whether our actions are true to who we are. The question is, “Does our life back up our lip? Do we live up to biblical norms?”
To neglect our conscience is to court spiritual disaster (1 Ti 1:19).