It is a certainty that a guilty conscience will cause a person to be unhappy. There are a couple of instances of guilty consciences in the Bible that are worth considering in this short space. The brothers of Joseph had a guilty conscience over the years as a result of their sin against their brother (Genesis 42:21). Judas had a guilty conscience over his betraying of Jesus, it drove him to commit suicide (Matthew 27:3-5). A guilty conscience can cause years of heartache and regret to the one who is trying to live godly in Christ Jesus.
Therefore, the scriptures urge us to keep a clean conscience. Paul wrote, “Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned” (1 Timothy 1:5). One of the qualifications of a deacon is that they “hold the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience” (1 Timothy 3:8-9).
A good conscience allows us to have confidence before God (1 Peter 3:16; 1 John 3:21; 2 Timothy 1:3). But one must exercise caution, for the conscience is not the way that we know if we are faithful to God. Paul said, “Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day” (Acts 23:1). Paul said this even though he had arrested and put Christians to death not many years earlier. The only way to know if we are pleasing to God is to look to the Bible. It contains “all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). As long as we live by its precepts and train our consciences well, we can live without regrets and thereby have joy in Christ.