Conscience Bath

Hebrews 9: 14

How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

The writer of Hebrews makes the comparison between the Old Testament sacrifice of the blood of animals to the New Covenant established in the blood of Jesus. The blood of animals was able to purify people so that they were presented clean. How much more the blood of Christ? However, let us take note. This verse really isn’t so much about being washed and, thus, presented holy and clean as it is about sin consciousness. There is a big difference.

Would you feel more clean, more justified if I sprinkled you with the blood of a sacrificed animal? That is the issue here. The blood of Christ is pristine enough to sear our consciousness of sin, that is, if we allow it. There is power in the blood of Christ but there is more power in your authority as the decision maker. As I have written before, you are either an old sinner or you are saved by grace. To say that you are an old sinner saved by grace makes a good sound byte but the reality is that you are either one or the other. We understand what people are attempting to convey with that statement, and it is meant to be a statement of humility. However, the greatest statement of all is, “I am clean.” Now that is a faith statement and it takes throwing yourself completely into the blood and sacrifice of Christ to make it.

The point of this verse and this theme is that since Christ cleansed you from all unrighteousness and washed away your sin (past, present and future) with his blood, then you ought to have a clean conscience as well. If we maintain a guilty conscience, or awareness of our sin, then that is a confession that Jesus’ blood was not sufficient. A continuing reminder of our former sin, then, tends to give way to dead works. What are dead works? Those are the things we do, even subconsciously, to earn salvation.

We know we are unworthy of salvation. Therefore, we subconsciously do the things which we think will earn us favor with God. We try to do the “right things.” At one level these behaviors and the motivation for them appear, if not holy, at least rightful. In truth, though, they are repugnant, a stench in the nostrils of God. Why? The reason is because the entire paradigm is based on an egocentric religion. It does not flow from faith and thanksgiving to the Almighty. It does not depend on the blood of Christ. This salvation depends solely on our worthiness. This righteousness comes through our own strength. We must earn the favor of God through behaviors.

The true faith lies in surrender. It requires much greater faith in God and in the sacrifice He and Jesus made to say, “I was unworthy but now I am clean.” God says you are His righteousness now. (2 Corinthians 5: 21). There is nothing you can do to add to your standing with Him and the blood of Christ, when it is fully and freely accepted, cleanses, purges the consciousness of sin and stain. Our very conscience will be wiped clean from dead works. In that clean conscience is living worship and service to the king.

If you can’t say, “I stand clean before the Lord,” then meditate on this scripture and 2 Corinthians 5: 21. You have been made clean by Jesus’ blood. You will never be more clean than you are at this moment nor will sin stain your conscience if you accept what Christ did. You are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, no longer an old sinner but fully and completely saved and washed by grace. Glory to God and our precious Lord Jesus!

Saved by Fire

1 Peter 3:21                God’s Word Translation

Baptism, which is like that water, now saves you. Baptism doesn’t save by removing dirt from the body. Rather, baptism is a request to God for a clear conscience. It saves you through Jesus Christ, who came back from death to life.

Everything changed with Jesus. John came preaching a baptism of repentance. Jesus brought a new baptism. A baptism, not out of something or removing something, but rather a baptism into something. That something is salvation, we are baptized into salvation. “And I remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit’” (Acts 11: 17).

Baptism, like so many things, experienced a fulfillment and renewal when Jesus came to the earth. Peter’s words in today’s verse are very perplexing because this is not the baptism we were raised thinking about. He wrote about an appeal to God for a clear conscience, not forgiveness of sins. Isn’t that amazing. This is a baptism of salvation but the salvation happens on the inside of us. We are made new and that renewal must occur in our minds as well as our spirits.

In this new dispensation, we are baptized in the Holy Spirit of God who has been likened to a river. So, we are still going to get our water baptism, it is just happening by Jesus in the river of the Holy Spirit. Can we even wrap our heads around this? God is doing something amazing in us by His Spirit. The Holy Spirit, as we are immersed in him, does not cleanse us from our sin. The blood of Jesus already did that. The Spirit washes through the inside of us cleansing out the sin consciousness. He washes out the sin identity and replaces it with an awareness of our life in Christ. No longer does the memory and stain of sin color our hearts and minds. The baptism in the Holy Spirit restored us. He cleanses out the memory of sin and replaces it with the remembrance of Jesus. He replaces the injuries in our hearts with the image, and in fact, the very presence of Jesus.

Salvation, at this level, takes place in our conscience. Jesus has done his part. He has saved us from sin. His love has cleansed us. However, many people carry around the consciousness of sin in their hearts and minds instead of carrying around the thoughts and memories of a loving and victorious Jesus. Baptism in the Holy Spirit is meant to cleanse your thinking. This baptism renews your thinking to what Christ has done rather than what you have done. Being immersed in the Spirit of God sears the pain, loss and destruction from your bones and allows new cells to grow, new cells which are the very DNA of Christ himself. When Jesus speaks of renewal, he has a very comprehensive view. And, if you want to revel in the whole truth, he is a lot more literal than we give him credit for.

God did not send the baptism of Jesus, which is the baptism in the Holy Spirit, as a symbol or a representative ritual. This baptism is real and it is meant to accomplish a real transformation in us. The Holy Spirit is a cleansing fire. He burns away all that Jesus overcame. Whatever is in us that is not of Christ and his renewal, the Holy Spirit will sweep away. The sin of your past is dead. Jesus has overcome sin and death in your life. However, the shadows of that sin may remain in your heart and mind. These are the memories, the guilt, the condemnation, and the marred self-image. They are like debris from a volcano, black and lumpy, littering your internal self. The Holy Spirit cleans all of that rubble from your inner self so that fresh, new, healthy tissue can grow. There is life in Jesus so it is imperative that our insides have this regenerative opportunity. This affects your emotional and spiritual life. Does it also impact your physical health? Sure. Jesus came to give you abundant life (John 10: 10). That means renewal in every facet of your being.

Be renewed in the spirit of your mind. Be immersed in the Spirit of God. Let his cleansing fire fill every cell of your being. He will sear your conscience of the sin stain and fill it with the knowledge of the love of Christ Jesus and him resurrected in glory. Be made whole.