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Blood-purged Conscience (I)

Even though believers are free from the guilt (Rom 8:1) and dominion (Rom 6:12, 14) of sin, there will yet remain to some degree a level of bondage in the “conscience,” until the all-sufficient expiation of sin by Christ is learned concerning the once-applied Blood (Heb 10:2, 10). The more the Spirit shows us of our “falling short of God’s glory” (Rom 3:23), the more we will be able to see a deeper understanding and gratitude concerning the Father’s grace.

The prior Covenant provided only forgiveness for Israel to effect the union with God, but there was no provision for the purging of the heart and conscience (Heb 9:9), e.g. permanent redemption (salvation) from the old man’s guilt, and from its rule and dominion. Forgiveness was temporary, for it required the obedience of the high priest (shadow of Christ – Heb 4:15) to renew it “once each year” (Heb 9:7); and the rule and dominance of the sin nature could not be nullified (Rom 8:3; Heb 17:19) until Christ was crucified, and our “old man with Him” (Rom 6:6).

Personally, my understanding is that if the crucifixion of the old man here means eradication of its existence, believers could not be tempted with evil, being without a sinful nature; which would place them within the sinless condition of Christ—which is clearly an unrivaled error that many of us, maybe only briefly, might have entertained early in our Christian learning.

We are not only saved “from” but also “to”—from sin and unto fellowship. Therefore we can now say with Paul, “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience” (Heb 10:22), which means that we can uninterruptedly “have a good conscience” (Heb 13:18), “before God” (Act 23:1).

Misunderstanding this part of redemption will often bereft one with false-guilt, resulting in delayed spiritual growth. Obtaining salvation (redemption) establishes union with God, but it is through spiritual growth that fellowship with God is realized.
- NC

Blood-purged Conscience (I)

Our Father delights in having provided access into His presence for us. He would have us fellowship with Him in freedom, and serve Him without bondage. We are not slaves, nor even servants, but children! “Wherefore, you are no longer a servant, but a child; and if a child, then an heir of God through Christ” (Gal 4:7). He never took pleasure in any sacrifice for sins until one was offered which put sins away forever, and gave to the conscience of His worshipers peace in His presence.

Can anything be more blessed than this? That we could, through faith in the facts, have already entered on our everlasting nearness to God, and are now privileged to know the peace proper to the heavenly sanctuary! The true tabernacle is free to us - as free now as it will be when we stand personally amidst its glories. We belong to that priestly family anointed for its holies (1Pe 2:5, 9; Rev 1:6; 5:10) not limited to a holy place, nor serving before a veiled mercy-seat, nor having only a brief access into the holiest, but made meet for heaven itself, and worshipping with a “pure conscience” in the presence of the Father!

Do we prize as we should this blessing of a purged conscience? Do we discern the peculiar grace marking its bestowment? It was entirely unknown to worshippers under the law; not only unknown to the congregation who worshipped without the veil, but equally to the priests who served within. That first tabernacle must have been of bondage to the conscience. Conscience can never be purged by what fails to bring nigh to God. As long as full reconciliation (forgiveness alone did not deliver from sin’s “reign” and “dominion”—NC) was not known – as long as sin was found more effectual to exclude from God, than sacrifice for sin was to bring nigh to Him – so long the conscience could have known no purification.

Not only people but priests, yea, not only priests but even the high priest, must have had sin, not salvation, brought to remembrance by their constant recurring sacrifices. Expiation, full and entire atonement, there was not; for had there been, the demand for expiation would have ceased. This thought must have continually forced itself on all worshipping under the “shadows” (Heb 10:1—NC); and in proportion as conscience was tender and exercised, so would it be sensible of its unpurgedness. Such might fully understand that the flesh was purified for admission into that tabernacle by the appointed blood of goats (Heb 9:13—NC), while at the same time their consciences might be carrying a load of guilt, for which, in such blood, they found no remedy (Heb 9:9—NC).

But now it is not merely the “putting away the filth of the flesh (physical cleaning of the body, i.e. “various washings” – Heb 9:10—NC), but the answer of a good conscience toward God” (1 Pet 3:21). A purged conscience is therefore the distinctive blessing of the saints of this dispensation. “No more conscience of sins” is one of the first good things bestowed on us by our blessed High Priest; and our Father has provided through Him for its maintenance; for if that be not maintained, God well knows that we cannot worship Him in spirit and in truth. It is the everlasting efficacy of the Lord Jesus’ own Blood, once carried in by Himself unto God, which secures this. All we need in order to its constant enjoyment is simple faith in the once-for-all presented Blood (Heb 10:10—NC).

Though all we need in order to a purged conscience is simple faith in what the Lord Jesus’ Blood has effected, we are to “exercise” ourselves to maintain a “conscience void of offence toward God and toward men” (Act 24:16); and the saint of God, who, walking in the Spirit, seeks to maintain a good conscience, will be the most sensible of his many defects and failures, and so will most realize the blessedness of the purged conscience provided for him by the blood of the Lord Jesus. If therefore, there was not this ever-effective provision for purging of conscience, the saint walking most in the Spirit would be bowing his head like a bulrush, and in terror before God, because conscience of so many defilements; though to others all would appear so fair and so devoted.