2 Corinthians 1:12 For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.
The troubles and trials of life cannot stop the joy of the Lord from strengthening us. Any and every Christian can have the joy of the Lord because it comes from the fruit of our born again spirit within us (Galatians 5:22), Jesus has already overcome the world (John 16:33) and we are a part of the Kingdom full of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost (Romans 14:17).
The only thing that can cut the flow of joy is a guilty conscience. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 1:12 our rejoicing is also connected to the testimony of our conscience which is a part of a lifestyle governed by the grace of God. Sin always sets up an inner conflict in a believer. When we sin, God’s Law, written in our hearts (Hebrews 10:16), is designed to resonate or ring like an alarm bell in our conscience. The conscience can bear witness or give testimony in our thoughts that accuse or excuse (Romans 2:15). When it accuses, or brings charges against us, this lets us know something is wrong and needs attention. We are supposed to be bothered, feel guilty feelings, and lose our sense of confidence before God.
Certain truths in the New Testament word of His grace will reprove, tell of a fault, or admonish a person to repent. This is called conviction and it is good guilt. It is not condemnation which gives impending doom, irreversible punishment, and no hope of forgiveness. The testimony (witness) of our conscience should be good (Acts 23:1) and void of offence (Acts 24:16) which gives cause for rejoicing. We are also warned of a time that would come when Believers would not endure sound doctrine so, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine 2 Timothy 4:2.”
Today some people are being seduced to think that any bad feelings, “that’s condemnation,” so the teacher must have a condemning spirit, or that they are legalistic. True Biblical teachers are accused of putting people under the Law if anything they say causes any degree of bad feelings. True, we are forgiven of all past sin when we receive Jesus for the remission (dismissal) of our sins but what about current sinning after salvation? We can still sin after salvation and our conscience once properly informed by the Word of God will make us feel guilt. We have to confess that sin and receive forgiveness which restores our consciousness of being right with God.
All the New Testament is the word of His grace (Acts 20:32). The word of his grace itself in 2 Corinthians 1:12 connects a lifestyle by the grace of God with the testimony of our conscience being a cause of rejoicing. We can’t say, “Don’t make me feel bad, that’s condemnation,” to cover up the conviction of our conscience. When we sin it is supposed to convict us when it is informed by the knowledge of the word of His grace. Those that teach a “no bad feeling grace message,” or imply any bad feelings produced by teaching is not the grace of God are leading others to defile and sear their own conscience.