A Clear Conscience

Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, so that you won’t grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12)

When you allow Him to love you, you will hear Him impress on you that it is only by His blood that He can give you a clear conscience.

Now the first covenant also had regulations for ministry and an earthly sanctuary. For a tabernacle was set up, and in the first room, which is called the holy place, were the lampstand, the table, and the presentation loaves. Behind the second curtain, the tabernacle was called the most holy place…

With these things set up this way, the priests enter the first room repeatedly, performing their ministry. But the high priest alone enters the second room, and he does that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offers for himself and for the sins of the people committed in ignorance. The Holy Spirit was making it clear that the way into the most holy place had not yet been disclosed while the first tabernacle was still standing. This is a symbol for the present time, during which gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the worshiper’s conscience. (Hebrews 9)

All the practices and regulations dealt with the outside. They existed until a better way was provided:

11 But the Messiah has appeared, high priest of the good things that have come. In the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands (that is, not of this creation), 12 He entered the most holy place once for all, not by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a young cow, sprinkling those who are defiled, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of the Messiah, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works to serve the living God? (Hebrews 9)

Dead works are the things that come from within us… lust, jealousy, apathy, fear…

He told them, “Listen to Me, all of you, and understand: 15 Nothing that goes into a person from outside can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him. [16 If anyone has ears to hear, he should listen!]” 17 When He went into the house away from the crowd, the disciples asked Him about the parable. 18 And He said to them, “Are you also as lacking in understanding? Don’t you realize that nothing going into a man from the outside can defile him? 19 For it doesn’t go into his heart but into the stomach and is eliminated.” (As a result, He made all foods clean.) 20 Then He said, “What comes out of a person—that defiles him.21 For from within, out of people’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immoralities, thefts, murders, 22 adulteries, greed, evil actions, deceit, promiscuity, stinginess, blasphemy, pride, and foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within and defile a person.” (Mark 7)

When you do not have a clear conscience, it consumes you. It affects everything in our lives.

The blood of Jesus — we don’t deserve it. We cannot earn it. But we require it.

“Neither Do I Condemn You”

At dawn He went to the temple complex again, and all the people were coming to Him. He sat down and began to teach them.

Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, making her stand in the center. “Teacher,” they said to Him, “this woman was caught in the act of committing adultery. In the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do You say?” They asked this to trap Him, in order that they might have evidence to accuse Him.

Jesus stooped down and started writing on the ground with His finger. When they persisted in questioning Him, He stood up and said to them, “The one without sin among you should be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Then He stooped down again and continued writing on the ground. When they heard this, they left one by one, starting with the older men. Only He was left, with the woman in the center. 10 When Jesus stood up, He said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

11 “No one, Lord,” she answered.

“Neither do I condemn you,” said Jesus. “Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.” (John 8)

The church has it backwards so often. We say, “You stop sinning, and we won’t condemn you.” But usually, the more we try to stop sinning, the more we do sin! When you really recognize that you deserve judgement and punishment, and when you really experience no condemnation, then you are free to stop sinning.

The Holy Spirit convicts; the devil condemns.

When the Lord led Israel out of Egypt and slavery, the only reason they made it out was because they put the blood on their doorways. It was a sign that the judgement of God was to pass them over and leave them untouched.

Which is a worse sin — adultery, or complaining?

By the time Isreal reached Sinai, no one had died. It was a short time after they had left Egypt. God had performed miracle after miracle. Yet, the people had done nothing but complain! Even still, they declared pridefully, “We will do all that the Lord has spoken.” (Exodus 19:8) What was the Lord’s response?

Put boundaries for the people all around the mountain and say: Be careful that you don’t go up on the mountain or touch its base. Anyone who touches the mountain will be put to death. (Exodus 19:12)

Whose glory is it? The Lord’s. And in the very next chapter, the Law is given, for the purpose of showing them — and us — our sin. Verses to contemplate this week: