Summary: God gave man a conscience. No animal has this gift. It is an internal ability to discern what is right and what is wrong. That is why the laws of most nations are basically the same, even if the Bible is not the basis of their laws
The Cross and the Conscience
Job 27:6 NLT
I will maintain my innocence without wavering. My conscience is clear for as long as I live.
Job 27:6 AMP
My uprightness and my right standing with God I hold fast and will not let them go; my heart does not reproach me for any of my days and it shall not reproach me as long as I live.
I. The problem of the conscience Heb. 9:9 NLT This is an illustration pointing to the present time. For the gifts and sacrifices that the priests offer are not able to cleanse the consciences of the people who bring them.
A. Conscience: the voice of the human spirit
1. God gave man a conscience. No animal has this gift. It is an internal ability to discern what is right and what is wrong. That is why the laws of most nations are basically the same, even if the Bible is not the basis of their laws (Rom. 2:14–15).
2. The conscience is the source of guilt. When we sin, our conscience comes alive and condemns us. Through acts of duty, denial, or even religion, we often try to do things to relieve our conscience.
3. Most Christians live with a guilty conscience. This stems from a lack of teaching and understanding of the purpose of the cross of Christ. This is why their prayer lives are based upon begging, not believing.
B. The New Covenant: a clean conscience Heb. 9:11-14 NLT So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that great, perfect sanctuary in heaven, not made by human hands and not part of this created world. 12Once for all time he took blood into that Most Holy Place, but not the blood of goats and calves. He took his own blood, and with it he secured our salvation forever.
13Under the old system, the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a young cow could cleanse people’s bodies from ritual defilement. 14Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our hearts from deeds that lead to death so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins.
1. The miracle of the New Covenant is a clean conscience (v. 14). A spirit of condemnation and guilt is the greatest enemy to faith.
Until you feel “right,” you will have no “rights.”
Hebrews 9:16 NLT Now when someone dies and leaves a will, no one gets anything until it is proved that the person who wrote the will is dead.
2. The blood of Jesus has ratified our legal inheritance with God (v.16). We don’t have to claim the promises; they are already in effect. We just need to praise the Lord for what belongs to us in the will.
3. Christ is appearing in heaven as the “Attorney General.” He does not condemn us because it was His blood that cleansed our conscience. He wants us to come before the throne of heaven and boldly proclaim the things that He has purchased for us.
II. The cross and your conscience Heb. 10:19-25 NLT 19And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. 20This is the new, life-giving way that Christ has opened up for us through the sacred curtain, by means of his death for us.
21And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s people, 22let us go right into the presence of God, with true hearts fully trusting him. For our evil consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.
23Without wavering, let us hold tightly to the hope we say we have, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. 24Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds. 25And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near.
A. The cross opened up the Holy of Holies.
1. In the Old Testament, only the high priest could enter the Holy of Holies. There was a huge veil there (60 ft. high) that separated the ark of the covenant from the rest of the area. When Christ died on the cross, that veil was torn in two from top to bottom (Luke 23:45).
2. The veil tore in two because Christ’s body had been torn in two
(Heb. 10:20). When Christ’s blood was shed, it opened up a path into the presence of God. Paul called this the “new, life-giving way.”