Summary: The writer to the Hebrews encouraged his audience to pursue a radically transformed/cleansed conscience. People(with religious tendencies--everyone!) are in need of a radically transformed conscience. How can we pursue it? The pursuit of a clear consci
In PURSUIT Of A CLEAR/Cleansed CONSCIENCE—Hebrews 9:1-14
A young boy called the pastor of a local church to ask the pastor to come by to pray for his mother who had been very ill with the flu. The pastor knew the family & was aware they were members of another church down the road. So the pastor asked, "Shouldn't you be asking your pastor, Brother Simon to come by to pray with your mom?"
The young boy replied, "Yeah, but we didn't want to take the chance that he might catch whatever it is that Mom has."
The boy had no concept of wrongdoing!
What exactly is the conscience?
1)It is the God-given means by which every human distinguishes right from wrong...Morality vs. immorality.
It can either make us feel guilt & shame or it may be oblivious to these.
2)The conscience is ever in a state of training & fine-tuning...Becoming sensitized &/or de-sensitized. The true belief of the heart is the plumb-line or standard by which this training is accomplished.
If I grow up having it ingrained in me that certain behaviors(homosexuality/adultery/extortion/murder/) are perfectly legitimate ways to live life, & I accept them whole-heartedly, then my conscience will immediately be set off in the presence of challenging/opposing thought(usually Christian).
However, if that challenge is accepted, by the heart as legitimate & the old belief is then accepted & supplanted by the new belief, then the conscience is reconfigured around that new belief of the heart.
The “conscience.....is not a complete guide to conduct but is subject to instruction.”.....“Revelation of Scripture’s meaning, by the Holy Spirit to the human spirit will therefore govern conscience. The human spirit is controlled by what is believed, & the seat of believing, & the throne room of the being is the heart.”.....“When the heart seeks refuge from conscience, it may so hardened itself against light & truth as to “sear” or “brand” the conscience “as with a hot iron”(1Tim. 4:2),” leading to “a course of sin...followed without feeling”(Eph. 4:19).....”Or the heart may so rest in the shed blood of Christ...as to be wholly relieved from all accusation by conscience, & so cease from all religious self-efforts—“dead works”(Heb 9:14).—William Newell
1Tim. 4:2—“speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,”
Eph. 4:19—“who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.”
“A perfect conscience is not an innocent conscience”.....“A perfect conscience knows God; it is cleansed, & having the knowledge of good & evil according to the light of God Himself.”.....“”Behold, the man is become as one of Us, to know good & evil.”(Gen. 3:22). This...[is] the basic definition of conscience.”—William Newell
The writer to the Hebrews knew his audience to be steeped in the OT Mosaic law. They were raised to believe that their right relation to YaHWeH was dependent upon their individual & national ritual/ceremonial behavior.
Therefore, the writer to the Hebrews encouraged his audience to pursue a radically transformed/cleansed conscience.
People(with religious tendencies) are in need of a radically transformed conscience.
How do we pursue a transformed/clear/cleansed conscience?
3 considerations in the pursuit of a transformed/cleansed/clear conscience
1—The pursuit of a clear conscience requires attention to...
Explanation: (:1-5)That with which you Surround yourself
:1—“Then indeed, even the first covenant had ordinances of divine service & the earthly sanctuary[Holy Place].”
What follows(:2-10) is a synopsis of the regulations of divine worship as it was performed in the “earthly” Holy Place.
The “first covenant” here referred to is that of :13 which has been supplanted & made obsolete by the “new covenant.”
The author’s focus is upon the ceremonial/sacramental worship which occurs at the temple in Jerusalem. He will contrast this with its symbolism(:9) & its fulfillment in Christ(:11-15).
“Indeed”—men—1) Truly, certainly, surely, indeed.
“First”(See :2)—prwtov—1) First in time or place—1a) In any succession of things or persons; 2) First in rank—2a) Influence, honor, 2b) Chief, 2c) Principal; 3) First, at the first. Strong—Foremost (in time, place, order or importance).
“Ordinances/Regulations”—dikaiwma—1) That which has been deemed right so as to have force of law; 2) A righteous act or deed. Strong—An equitable deed; by implication, A statute or decision. Used 10X.
“Divine Service/Divine Worship/Worship”(See :6—“The services/Divine worship/Ministry”)—latreia—N.f.—1) Service rendered for hire—1a) Any service or ministration: the service of God; 2) The service & worship of God according to the requirements of the Levitical law; 3) To perform sacred services. Strong—Ministration or God, i.e. Worship. Used 5X.
“Earthly/Worldly”—kosmikov—1) Of or belonging to the world—1a) Relating to the universe, 1b) Earthly, 1c) Worldly, i.e. having the character of this present corrupt age. Strong—terrene ("Cosmic"), literally (Mundane) or figuratively (Corrupt).
“Sanctuary”(See :3—“Holy”)—agion—1) Reverend, worthy of veneration—1a) Of things which on account of some connection with God possess a certain distinction & claim to reverence, as places sacred to God which are not to be profaned, 1b) Of persons whose services God employs, for example, apostles; 2) Set apart for God, to be as it were, exclusively his; 3) Services & offerings—3a) Prepared for God with solemn rite, pure, clean; 4) in a moral sense, Pure sinless upright holy. Strong—A sacred thing (i.e. spot).