The Stages of Man’s Fall and Paul’s High Standard of Morality

I have conducted myself in all good conscience before God until this day.

Acts 23:1

Acts 23:1 says, “And Paul, looking intently at the Sanhedrin, said. Men, brothers, I have conducted myself in all good conscience before God until this day.”

Responsible to His Own Conscience

Following man’s fall and his being sent out of the garden of Eden (Gen. 3:23), God wanted man, in His dispensation, to be responsible to his own conscience. But man failed to live and walk according to his conscience and fell further into wickedness (Gen. 6:5).

Under Human Government

After the judgment of the flood, God ordained man to be under human government (Gen. 9:6). Man failed also in this.

Under the Test of the Law

Then, before fulfilling His promise to Abraham concerning the blessing of the nations in Christ (Gen. 12:3; Gal. 3:8), God put man under the test of the law (Rom. 3:20; 5:20). Man failed utterly in this test.

All these failures indicate that man has fallen from God to his conscience, from his conscience to human government, and from human government to lawlessness. Therefore, man has fallen to the uttermost.

A Great Return to God From Man’s Fall

To conduct oneself “in all good conscience before God,” as Paul did, was a great return to God from man’s fall. Paul spoke this word to vindicate himself before those who accused him of being a lawless and even reckless person.

He referred, in his defense, to his conscience again in 24:16. This showed his high standard of morality in contrast to the hypocrisy of the Jewish religionists and the crookedness of the Roman (Gentile) politicians.

In his defense before the Sanhedrin in the presence of representatives of the Roman government, Paul could say that there was nothing wrong in his personal conduct. He did all things according to his conscience, behaving in the highest standard of morality.

All quotations in this post, unless otherwise noted, are from Life-Study of Acts, message 62 by Witness Lee. Living Stream Ministry, Anaheim, CA, U.S.A. 1985. Source: ministrybooks.org

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