But this I confess to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets, having a hope in God, which these men themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust. So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man.
These are words spoken by Yeshua’s apostle, Paul, several years after his encounter with the Master. He syas, "I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the Torah (my edition) and written in the Prophets." In other words, Paul’s defense against the High-Priest’s accusations of sedition and profanation was that he never swayed from practicing Judaism; that he believed and practiced the commandments written in the Pentateuch, as well as the teachings of the prophets.
Judaism is not a creed; it is a way of life. It is not something that can be practiced while not showing on the outside. The High-Priest knew it and couldn’t refute Paul’s confession so he added false accusations of seditions to the package of 'evidence' against Paul. Ananias knew that the Roman governor couldn’t care less about religious squabbles, but disturbing the peace of the Empire was a very serious offense, especially in Jerusalem.
Paul proclaimed his innocence by insisting that he always took pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man. In the mouth of Paul, this meant that he kept his conscience clear of offenses in front of God and man by his sincere efforts to serve God and obey His commandments. By bringing these facts to the fore, Paul hoped to close the mouth of his accusers.
The Accuser is always in front of us. He accuses us not to the Roman emperor, but to the King Creator of the universe. It is one thing to be accused of an evil that we have done, and we all have done plenty, but this we can do to close the mouth of the Adversary: we can strive to take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man: before God by our obedience to Torah, and before men by submitting to the ordinances of earthly authority, doing both to the best of our capacity; also to strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14).
There are times when we may feel that man’s command goes against God’s command, and it may be so at times, but I have observed that it is very often our personal tangential application of both which creates the conflict..
Let’s take the stand today to close the mouth of He who stands in front of God accusing us of evil. Let us have the conviction that despite the sin of our human nature which we cannot avoid, we follow in the footsteps of the apostle: striving for peace, and taking pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man.