Saturday, October 4, 2014

Living Free From Sin: Three Charges Against Us - Part 2

Three Charges Against Us

          Last time we saw how the Blood of Jesus has met God's charge against us. The Blood satisfies God and it must satisfy us also.

Our Own Charge

          We bring the charge against ourselves, "“I have sinned” Luke 15:18. Our conscience is condemning us in our own heart and so we need it to be cleansed that we may draw near to God. Hebrews 10:22 shows that the Blood has accomplished this also, "Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience". Now we must be careful with this verse or we will interpret it in the wrong way. This scripture does not mean that God will cleanse our hearts. He doesn't say the Blood will cleans our hearts and stop there in the statement. Our hearts aren't cleansed from evil or sin, but from an evil conscience. God has declared that the heart is "desperately sick" (Jeremiah 17:9) as we will later see the "flesh " is too bad to be cleansed and is fit for nothing except crucifixion. God does something more fundamental than to cleanse our hearts. He gives us a new one, "And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you" (Ezekiel 36:26). Our cry isn't "Lord, cleanse my heart!" but rather we echo the words of King David, "Create in me a clean heart, O God" Psalm 51:10). The Hebrew word used here for "create" is the same word used in Genesis 1:1 when God "created" the universe. This isn't a fixing up of the old heart, it is a new creation.
          There was a barrier between myself and God, the result was that I had an evil conscience when I approached him. The conscience constantly reminds us of the barrier that stood between us. But now, by the Blood, something new is before God and has removed the barrier and God has made this fact known to me in his Word. When I believe what God's Word says about this, at once my conscience is cleared and my sense of guilt is removed.
          A heart of faith and a conscience clear of any and every charge are equally important to us. They are inter dependent in fact. When our conscience becomes uneasy we find that our faith leaks away and we know that we cannot face God. For us to continue in our relationship we must know the "up-to-date" value of the Blood. We are made near to God every day, every hour, and every minute by the Blood. The Blood never loses its effectiveness as our ground of access to God if only we lay hold of of it.
         "When we enter the Most Holy Place, on what ground dare we enter but by the Blood" - Nee To-sheng. On what ground are we seeking to come to God. Is it by the Blood, or something else? First, I think it would be helpful if we explain what we mean when we say, " by the Blood". It simply means that we recognize our sins, that we confess we need cleansing and atonement, and that we come to God on the basis of the finished work of the Lord Jesus. We come based on his merit alone. Now this is exceedingly important. We must never try to approach God on our own attainment. It is not that, "I have been extra kind today" or that, "I have prayed more today" or even, "I have done a work for the Lord today" so now I feel I can come before him. I come by the Blood every time! The temptation is to think that as God works in us and makes us more like his son that our standard changes and that only by attaining to that new standard he sets for us we can approach God with a clear conscience. We are tempted to think, "I am doing a little better today; this morning I have read the Word of God, so today I can pray better"! Or the opposite, "I have had difficulty with my family today; I have begun to feel gloomy or depressed; it seems there must be something wrong; therefore my prayers won't work; the way to God isn't clear for me to approach". No! Our clear conscience is never based on our attainment, it is only based on the shed Blood of Jesus Christ.
           When we approach God what is the basis of that approach?  Is it based on our shifting feelings that today I may have done something for the Lord? Or is it based on the sure work of Christ and the shedding of his Blood. God looks and the Blood and is satisfied. Now if the Blood could change it might lose its trustworthiness, but the Blood has never changed and never will. Our approach to God is always secure, so that we can "boldly come" because of the Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Whatever our attainment may be today, or in the past, our access to God is based only upon the safe ground of the shed Blood.

         As with many facts of the Christian experience, this matter of access to God has two phases, an initial and a progressive one. We are initially "brought near by the blood of Christ" (Eph. 2:13). After, our continual access is still by the Blood, as the writer of Hebrews says: "Therefore... have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus... let us draw near" (Heb. 10:19-22). Sow we were brought near by the Blood at first and continue in that relationship by the Blood every time. It was not that we were saved on one basis and now remain by another basis. Right to the end, forever, my access will always and only on the basis of the precious Blood.
         Now, it is important to note that this does not mean we should live careless lives, but as we will see soon another aspect of the death of Christ shows us that this is not the intent at all. For now be satisfied that the Blood is there and it is enough.
         We are weak indeed. Looking at our weakness will never make us strong. No feeling bad or penance will make us the slightest holier. There is no hope except in the Blood. We must admit that we do not fully know the value of the Blood, but God has said that he is satisfied with it and so it is enough for us. Like the old hymn says: "Just as I am, without one plea, but that Thy blood was shed for me, and that Thou bidd'st me come to Thee, O Lamb of God, I come! I come!" That is why I love this song so much. It reminds me that I have no plea before God but the Blood of Christ, and that is enough for him so he "bidd'st me come". 

          We are cleansed from every sin and we may say with Paul and David, "blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin" (Romans 4:8). Today we have seen how the Blood of Christ has met the charge against ourselves. God declared, "Cleared of all charges" and because of that same Blood we can say, "I am not guilty"! Now Satan has charges still against us and next time we will see how the Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ has met his charges also. Until then praise the Lord, for by his Blood we are redeemed!

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