Let Go of Sin-Consciousness

“For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins” (Hebrews 10:1-2, NKJV).

Today, I want to share some thoughts with you about how you can stay free from sin consciousness. 

God is perfect, and those who worship Him (and fellowship with Him) must do so with a perfect conscience. By “perfect conscience” I mean a conscience that is pure, clean, free from guilt and established in righteousness. God’s will for you is to worship Him in complete freedom: freedom from fear, guilt, shame, blame and condemnation. Your conscience plays a vital role in this process.

The condition of your conscience influences the degree to which you will enjoy the freedom Jesus purchased for you. This means your freedom is not complete until you’re free from the conscience of sin.

Many Christians walk around with sin (guilt) on their conscience. To deal with this burden, some resort to the practice of confessing their sins over and over until they leave this world. In some places, automatic confession of sins is incorporated into official church services. The obvious assumption is that everyone is, by default, unclean before God and confession of sins clears the way for the congregation to approach God. However, Jesus died (precisely) to put an end to this state of affairs (the cycle of sin-consciousness).

 The Good News is, God has made a way for you to serve Him with a perfect conscience all the days of your life. That way is the Blood of Jesus. As a Christian, if you base your conscience on anything other than the Blood of Jesus, you’re ignoring the Cross and setting yourself up for defeat. Sooner or later, satan (the accuser) will mess with your mind and hinder your experience of joy and liberty in Christ. 

Consciousness of sin was the prevailing reality under the Old Covenant law. The Letter to the Hebrews tells us why: The blood of goats and bulls could not make the conscience of those worshipers perfect forever. If it could, then the sacrifices would have ceased to be offered, because the worshipers, once purged, would have had no more consciousness of sins. What the blood of animals could not do, now the Blood of Jesus has done. By His one time sacrifice, Jesus has purged and perfected our conscience forever.

Therefore, Jesus expects us to have confidence and boldness through His blood and not walk around with consciousness of sin as though we were living under the Old Covenant. If you, through unbelief or ignorance, hold on to consciousness of sin, you’re making light of Jesus’ sacrifice. Jesus will not die a second time for your sins, because He made sure that what He did for you that day on Calvary had everlasting effect on you. If you’re born again, you need to know this, you need to believe it and you need to walk in this awareness every day of your life.

Your faith in the Blood of Jesus must be unwavering. That is how you will defeat the Accuser (satan) and enjoy the freedom Jesus bought for you (Only do not use your liberty as an occasion to gratify the flesh, but use it as an occasion to offer your new life to God as a living sacrifice). Jesus has offered you a perfect conscience free of charge through His Blood, not through any work of yours.

You have a decision to make. Do you believe Jesus or do you have doubts? It’s up to you. My advise to you is, don’t let your personal weaknesses dictate the condition of your conscience. According to the Bible, your perfect conscience comes through Jesus’ Blood alone. And once your conscience is perfected by the Blood, you should no longer walk around with consciousness of sins. This is what you get under the New Covenant. Enjoy it. Let no one or anything talk you out of what Jesus purchased for you.

Remember this: Your experience of freedom is tied to what you believe. If you believe that Jesus has perfected your conscience forever by His blood (as the Bible states), then you will enjoy the blessings of the Blood. If you don’t believe, or you’re not sure, you can’t enjoy the blessings. Don’t let this happen. 

 Honor Jesus’ Blood.  Let go of sin-consciousness. 

Confess the following to support your confidence in the Blood of Jesus:

“I know who I am. I am the one Jesus loves. I surrender to the Blood of Jesus. I know Jesus has cleansed me from my sins. I am letting go of sin-consciousness. I have a perfect conscience through the Blood of Jesus. I reject the lies of the devil and all his accusations. I am accepting forgiveness and peace through the Blood of Jesus. I am holding on to my faith in the Blood of Jesus. I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me. I have overcome by the Blood of the Lamb and by the word of my testimony. In Jesus Name. Amen”

Why Do Christians Continue to Sin? (Pt 7)

Daily Devotion | Day 357

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood . . .” (Romans 3:23-25, NKJV).

What Paul wrote in Romans 3:23 has gained popularity in many Christian circles. In fact, many Christians know that passage by heart. Even those who have not memorized it are familiar with its words. Different people quote the Bible for different reasons and for different purposes. Romans 3:23 is one of the most misused passages of the New Testament. It is misused because it is often taken out of context. Paul said a lot of things in his Letter to the Romans, often explaining a point over several lines. Therefore, it is irresponsible, and even dangerous, to pull a line from Romans and try to make a case out of that line alone.

Some quote Romans 3:23 as a justification for the recurrence of sin in the believer’s life and for his inability to cease from all sin. For them, what Paul said in that passage amounts to something like this: “Christians still remain sinful people. Consequently, though we should not sin, all Christians will sin from time to time. Everyone falls short of the glory of God. No one is or can be perfect. No one can overcome sin completely; it is just by grace that we all can approach God through the blood of Jesus.” Because of this thinking, many Christians live far below their calling (and ability) to live holy and righteous. Furthermore, this way of reading Paul’s words is unfortunate, for it creates a conducive environment for sin to continue among believers. To successfully respond to our calling to be holy, it is important that we read Romans 3:23 in context.

First of all, when Paul said, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” he was stating the past sinful condition of Jews and Gentiles. He was in no way suggesting that this would be the condition of those who believed in Christ. Paul said, “all have sinned;” he did not say, “all will continue to sin or remain sinners.” There is a big difference between the two. In Romans 3:23, Paul was not describing the born again life. In the born again life, Christians do not fall short of the glory of God. On the contrary, as Paul himself admits, “we all [Christians], with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory . . .” (2 Corinthians 3:18). Therefore, to use Romans 3:23 to explain (or justify) the recurrence of sin among Christians misses Paul’s point. It further demonstrates a serious misunderstanding of what it means to be born again.

Another reason we cannot apply Romans 3:23 to Christians is because of what Paul says next in Romans 3:24. Paul writes that we are “justified freely by His [God’s] grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” This means believers have been washed from their sins and brought into a righteous condition before God. In addition, they have been redeemed from the bondage of sin. The problem of sin identified in v. 23 is countered by the solution of justification and redemption offered in v. 24. Therefore, Christians do not have an excuse to continue to sin. In fact, they have no business quoting v. 23 to justify why they remain sinful. Christians were sinners; but they no longer are sinners. They now are redeemed. An unredeemed person might have an excuse, but a Christian has no excuse; none. The problem in v. 23 is over. We now live in the reality of v. 24.

Unfortunately, many Christians fail to distinguish between the reality described in v. 23 and the one described in v. 24. As a result, they suffer from a crisis of identity. This crisis is largely responsible for the failure of many Christians to live without sin. To change this situation, we need to re-examine what the Scriptures teach about redemption and how redemption impacts our victory over sin.

To be continued tomorrow, God willing. Until then, know that you are redeemed. The power of sin is broken. Stand your ground and enjoy the redeemed life. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

For further studyRomans 5:1-21

Eat Jesus’ Flesh and Drink His Blood? (Pt 1)

Daily Devotion | Day 335

“For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in Him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me” (John 6:55-57, NKJV).

Our message for the next few days will be a continuation of what has been said previously in The Lord’s Supper: Lessons from Corinth. Although the two messages are closely related, we found it helpful to treat the current series as a distinct sub-topic within the discourse about the Lord’s Supper. We did this for three reasons. Firstly, what we are about to discuss is indispensable if we want to grasp the meaning of the Lord’s Supper. Secondly, the topic is extremely rich and profound. As such it requires its own time and space. Thirdly, it is a subject that has generated controversy, division and confusion among Christians for centuries. 

Christians deserve clarity about what Jesus did for their salvation, especially regarding the body and blood of Jesus. We can benefit from what Jesus did if we know what it means for us. We hope the current series will further this cause. If you have not read the previous five-part series on the Lord’s Supper, please do so. This teaching is an extension of that.

What Jesus has done for us – in His death and resurrection – is marvelous. Our responsibility and privilege is to examine it critically, and appropriate it for our edification and for the sole glory of the Father. As the title suggests, the question we will be addressing throughout this series is: When we eat and drink the Lord’s Supper, are we eating the flesh of Jesus and drinking His blood? Some (notably Roman Catholics) say, “Yes;” others (mostly Protestants/Evangelicals) say, “No.” And there are others who are ambivalent. But what do the Scriptures say?

As we tackle this question, we will look at what happened in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:21-24). Our study will take us also to Capernaum where Jesus said He would give us His flesh and blood (John 6:22-59). Additionally, we will examine vital truth from Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians (5:28-33) as well as highlight lessons from David’s friendship with Jonathan (1 Samuel 18:1-4; 20:11-17). Throughout this teaching, there are two Bible concepts we want to keep in mind: marriage and covenant. These two concepts are the keys for understanding what Jesus said about eating His flesh and drinking His blood. In other words, the concepts of marriage and covenant provide the ‘hermeneutical parameters’ or framework for understanding and celebrating the Lord’s Supper.

The principle of fellowship, union or oneness is well established in the Bible, usually in the context of a covenant. Understanding how this principle works will clarify  how the Lord’s Supper works. Fellowship is a mutual sharing which makes the parties involved become (literally) one. This means at the Lord’s Supper fellowship we are joined to the Lord’s body and blood and the Lord is joined to us as one. Paul made this clear in the passage we read yesterday (1 Corinthians 10:16-17). The cup we bless, he said, is fellowship (communion) of the Lord’s blood, and the bread we eat is fellowship (communion) of the Lord’s body.

What Paul said is no different from what we hear from Jesus in today’s opening Scripture. The Lord says, “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in Him.” Notice that Jesus has His mind on fellowship or union with Him. As we partake of His body and blood, it leads to an intermingling. In a manner of speaking, Jesus passes into us and we pass into Him, thereby becoming one reality. Therefore, Jesus and the Lord’s Supper participant, while remaining distinct individuals, essentially are one.

We will pause here. What we have said so far is an introduction. God willing, we will go in-depth starting tomorrow. Remain blessed in Christ and have a wonderful weekend. Amen.

For further study: John 6:1-59 

The Lord’s Supper: Lessons from Corinth (Pt 3)

Daily Devotion | Day 332

“Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. . .. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep [have died]” (1 Corinthians 11:27, 29-30, NKJV).

Yesterday we discussed the nature of the problem at Corinth regarding the Lord’s Supper. We also briefly touched on the consequences for irreverent behavior at the Lord’s Supper. Today we will build on that by delving deeper and covering more angles of the issue.

In the beginning, believers celebrated the Lord’s Supper within the context of a full meal. This is what Jesus did also (Luke 22:14-20). During the Lord’s Supper, Christians brought plenty of food and drink. They enjoyed each other’s company. They ate, drunk and made merry as one family in Christ. Everyone has enough to eat. The climax of the meal was the sharing of the Lord’s Supper bread and wine.

What we have today (in most churches) is nothing close to a meal. We have replaced the meal with tiny wafers and few drops of drink. Our priority today seems to be efficiency and convenience. Gradually, we have separated the Lord’s Supper from its meal setting and in so doing, we have weakened the message of feast and fellowship. The Lord’s Supper was (and is) supposed to be a feast. But what is a feast without plenty to eat and drink?

Against this background, we understand why Paul said to the Corinthians, “For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk” (1 Corinthians 11:21). People brought food and drinks to share with everyone. This was an affirmation of love and brotherhood, the very thing Jesus wanted from His disciples (John 13:34-35; Acts 2:44-47). The Lord’s Supper was a special time to demonstrate this love. Unfortunately, during the celebration some ate their own supper because they could not wait for those on their way to the event. Others drunk to the point of intoxication. As a result, some had nothing to eat or drink. Those with nothing felt despised and humiliated.

What was intended to be a time of love, sharing and brotherhood, turned out to be a time of greed, selfishness, impatience and irreverence. This defeated the purpose of the Lord’s Supper. What happened was an insult against the community and an insult as well against the body and blood of Christ. Those responsible for disrupting the event were thus guilty of the body and blood of Christ, because they were eating and drinking the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner. Consequently, they were eating and drinking judgment upon themselves (11:29).

The Lord had taken notice and His judgment fell on those responsible. Let us look at the specifics of the judgment. Paul talks about three effects of God’s judgment upon the church in Corinth: weakness, sickness and death. He writes, “For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep [have died]” (11:30). Paul says many (not few) were afflicted because of their behavior at the Lord’s Supper.

Jesus offered His body and blood to save us from our sins. Health of body, mind and spirit is one of the many blessings associated with Jesus’ sacrifice. Isaiah knew this and declared, “The chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed” (53:5). He did not say, “perhaps we will be healed;” He said, “we are healed.” In other words, divine health is the heritage of believers. In the New Testament, Matthew spoke of Jesus’ healing ministry as a fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy: “He Himself [Jesus] took our infirmities, and bore our sicknesses” (Matthew 8:17). Peter, too, reminded Christians about this blessing of health (1 Peter 2:24).  

We know then that to Christians belongs the blessing of divine health based on Christ’s sacrifice. Therefore, if Christians are the healthiest people in the world, no one should be surprised. But the fact is, in terms of (ill) health, Christians are no different from the rest of the world. For the most part, Christians do not show signs of being in better health than non-Christians. What happened? Did God fail to keep His promises, or the problem perhaps is from our end? One day, if God wills, we will explore in detail these questions. For now, our attention is on what happened to the Corinthians.

Instead of blessings of health, strength and vitality, many in the Corinthian church were weak, sick or dead. And According to Paul, their condition was a consequence of their lack of reverence for one another, and for the body and blood of Jesus which they met to celebrate during the Lord’s Supper. This tells us that there is a link between the believer’s health and the Lord’s Supper (and how we honor our brethren at the Supper).

To be continued tomorrow, God willing. Until then, honor the Lord. Honor your fellow believers. And stay in health. Amen.

For further studyActs 5:1-11 and 1 Corinthians 3:1-16

ARE YOU SAVED, YET?

DAILY DEVOTIONAL: DAY 213

“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21, KJV).

“Are you saved?” You may have heard this question many times in your life. It is common in Christian circles, especially among those who actively engage people with the Good News of Jesus Christ. You may have asked others this question yourself. Or, someone else may have approached you with it. You will often see “Are you saved?” on Gospel tracts, flyers, church bulletins, or inside the pages of Christian books. The goal is to get people to face the reality of their eternal destiny and, hopefully, turn to Jesus for salvation.

But the vital question that is often missing is: Saved from what? Here is where today’s opening Scripture comes into focus. An angel appeared to Joseph in a dream, encouraging him to take Mary as his wife. He told Joseph to name the soon-to-born child, JESUS. Then, the angel added a very important detail regarding the name of the child. He said, “for he shall save his people from their sins.” The name JESUS carries with it the mission of the Person who bears the name. And the mission is: He shall save His people from their sinsThis is Jesus’ primary mission.

Based on this, the more accurate question we should pose is, “Are you saved from your sins?” When Jesus returns, He is not going to deal with sin again. Why? Because He has dealt with it one time, for all time. As the Holy Spirit testifies, “but now, once at the end of the ages, He [JESUS] has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (Hebrews 9:26; NKJV, see also v. 27-28).

Saved from sin means: forgivenwashed clean of all sinsand redeemed (made free, liberated) from sin’s bondage so that the saved person stops sinning. Jesus explained why this is important. He said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore, if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:34-36, NKJV, emphasis added). Notice that the freedom Jesus is talking about here is freedom from sin, i.e. freedom from committing sin. Jesus went to the Cross and rose from the dead to give us this precious freedom. 

Jesus wants you to be free indeed. Get hold of the truth of His salvation, and become truly saved and truly free. Amen.

For further study: Romans 8:1-17