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”

What Was “Finished” at the Cross? (Pt 1)

Daily Devotion – Day 361

“Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy” (Daniel 9:24, NKJV).

The messages in this new series will build upon what was discussed in the preceding series, namely “Why Do Christians Continue to Sin?” To better grasp what is being discussed, I recommend that you read the presentations in the order in which they appear. The title of this series is inspired by the following words Jesus spoke from the Cross: “It is finished” (John 19:30). The obvious question is, what is finished? The Bible does not offer a direct reply to this question. However, when we search the Scriptures it is not hard to understand what things are finished (accomplished) in view of what happened at Calvary. Let us start with the Book of Daniel

In chapter 9, Daniel was praying for himself and for Israel, petitioning the Lord to forgive their sins and restore Jerusalem to its former glory. While he prayed, the man (angel) Gabriel appeared to him with a prophecy about the restoration of Jerusalem and the coming of the Messiah (Daniel 9:1-27). Our opening Scripture captures the initial part of Gabriel’s prophecy. According to Gabriel, certain events were about to happen in the near future that would have a significant impact on God’s people and the rest of the world. The events are related to the work of the Messiah (Jesus). We will focus on those things in the prophecy that are relevant to the topic we are discussing. 

Gabriel mentioned six things that would happen. They are not necessarily in chronological order. We are interested in the first four things listed: “to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness.”  These four things are related to the things the Messiah would accomplish by virtue of His death and resurrection. The language in the prophecy speaks of decisive victory over sin accompanied by the reign of righteousness. The time frame specified by the prophecy would be the time to finish transgression, make an end of sins, and make reconciliation for iniquity. But what do these things mean? In what ways are these things fulfilled under the New Covenant? And how do these prophecies affect the life of Christians? 

We will start with the prophecy about making reconciliation for iniquity. Several passages in the New Testament testify that the Father has reconciled us to Himself. For example, Paul writes, “For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” (Romans 5:10; and v. 11). Notice the past tense. Reconciliation for iniquity is an accomplished fact and a fulfilled prophecy. It is a work done by the Father through the death of Jesus. We, therefore, are a reconciled peoplenow, not some time in the future. This means there is perfect peace between the Father and us (Romans 5:1-2). We now have grounds for intimate fellowship with the Father. 

Paul speaks again of this reconciliation in his Second Letter to the Corinthians: “Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation” (5:18-19). The Father has made reconciliation for iniquity. And  the prophecy in Daniel has been fulfilled. 

Let us pause here. God willing, we will discuss the remaining portions of Daniel’s prophecy tomorrow. Stay reconciled to the Father and remain blessed. Amen.

For further study2 Corinthians 5:1-21

Why Do Christians Continue to Sin? (Pt 3)

Daily Devotion | Day 353

“For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example that you should follow His steps: ‘Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth’” (1 Peter 2:21-22, NKJV).

The first thing we addressed yesterday is the idea, prevalent among most Christians, that it is impossible to cease completely from all sin and live the rest of one’s life without sinning again. Because this idea is ingrained in people, they accept the recurrence of sin as ‘normal,’ an expected outcome in human life. This belief is an implicit admission of defeat; that no matter how hard Christians fight, they will still sin at some point. In short, according to this position, sinning is inevitable. What they are (unconsciously) implying is, the Cross of Christ cannot supply us power to cease from all sin. Not even the power of the Holy Spirit in us can assist us to defeat all sin once and for all.

What is shocking is, most of these same people (if not all of them) believe that Jesus has given us power to cast out demons. Apparently, Jesus has given us all power except the power to not sin again. The contradiction is obvious. Until Christians abandon this lie and believe the Bible truth (that it is possible to not sin again in one’s life), the recurrence of sin will be the prevailing reality in our churches.

Today we will deal with another factor which contributes to why Christians continue to sin. It is this: There is a belief among some Christians that Jesus died for our sins because He knew we could not stop sinning. Hence, some put it this way: “If we could stop sinning altogether, why then did Jesus die for us?” At first glance, this belief seems well-founded. However, the Bible talks about the very opposite, which is: Jesus died for us so that we would not sin againThe Cross of Jesus is where sinning stops. Jesus died to empower us to stop sinning and to live the rest of our lives in holiness and righteousness.

Every Christian knows, of course, that the Cross is where we obtain forgiveness for all our sins. But there is more to the Cross than forgiveness. Forgiveness is only one side of the equation. The other side of the equation is where there is (and must be) a cessation of sin in the believer’s life. At the Cross, Jesus grants both forgiveness of sin and the power to cease from sin. Recall the stories we cited yesterday about the man Jesus healed and the woman caught in adultery (John 5:14; 8:11). Notice that in both instances two things happened simultaneously. Jesus forgave them both, but His forgiveness was followed by the commandment to “sin no more.” He was not just commanding them for the sake of commanding them; He was empowering them to go and do exactly what His command required.

Put differently, the command to “sin no more” contained the ability to perform what the command demanded. If Jesus had not given them the ability, He would have no right to demand what He was demanding. Here is a spiritual truth: As soon as Jesus’ word is obeyed, the power in His word goes into effect in the person who obeys it, and the word begins to energize the person, causing him to manifest what is contained in the word. This is what happens when Christians are saved.

When we approach the Cross, we receive two things: a) the washing away of our sins and b) the ability to cease from sin. Unfortunately, many Christians emphasize the first part and ignore the second. This leads to ‘truncated salvation’ (if there is such a thing). Salvation from sins means forgiveness from sins as well as the ability to cease committing sin. Contrary to what some suppose, Jesus died not because we could not stop sinning, but because He wanted to empower us to stop sinning. This is the essence of grace and the essence of the Cross.

We did not talk about today’s opening Scripture, but we have to pause here. God willing, we will discuss the passage tomorrow as we build upon what we have said today. Until then, may the Lord keep you from all harm and let His face shine upon you. Amen.

For further study1 Peter 1:1-25

Paul: The Chief of Sinners? (Pt 6)

Daily Devotion | Day 350

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-2, NKJV).

Today’s opening Scripture is a continuation of what Paul has been saying in the preceding chapter in his Letter to the Romans. In 7:13-25 he described the guilt, condemnation and helplessness associated with bondage to sin and one’s inability to submit fully to God’s law. After crying for someone to deliver him from the body of death, he exclaimed, “I thank God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (v. 25).

From chapter 8, Paul explains at length why he is grateful to God. He is thankful because the experience he described in 7:13-25 is over. That was his former life under the law, before he became a new creation in Christ. He was not describing a Christian’s struggle with sin; rather, he was describing the sin struggles of a Jew under the law, a man who had not experienced redemption in Christ yet. Therefore, it would be a mistake for Christians to quote from Romans 7:13-25 either: (a) to show that Paul (the Christian and Apostle) was a sinner or (b) to explain why Christians today continue to commit sin.

Paul dedicates the whole of chapter 8 to explaining the new found freedom in Christ and its implications for the believer in this world and in the next. Chapter 8 is a description of the born again life. Paul now has found a deliverer and a savior in Christ. His sins have been washed away by Jesus. In addition, he has received from Him power not to fall into sin and condemnation again. The new Paul walks in victory over sin, as all Christians should. Freed from the dominion of sin and filled with the power of the Spirit, he now is able to submit fully to God.

This is the reason Paul opens the chapter with an emphatic declaration of victory and freedom: “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” Born again people suffer no more condemnation for two reasons. First, they are in Christ. Second, they walk according to the leading and empowerment of the Spirit.

With great joy Paul further testifies, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” This is the new Paul, the Paul who met Jesus, who was saved from his sins and became filled with the Holy Spirit. It is the born again Paul. This Paul and the one described in Romans 7:13-25 are two different people. The former is a Christian and a new creation; the latter is not.

The new Paul is a free man, no longer a slave to sin. This is his testimony. And all Christians, like Paul, should be able to testify to this freedom in Christ: freedom from sin and its attending condemnation. Jesus died, after all, to offer us this very freedom: “He shall save His people from their sins,” the angel told Joseph (Matthew 1:21). Later on in His ministry, Jesus confirmed this offer of freedom from sin when He stated, “whoever commits sin is a slave of sin . . . Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:34, 36).

Freedom from committing sin is the most important and the most precious freedom in Christ. This freedom is made possible by the redemption in Christ (through His blood; this includes forgiveness of sins) and our new walk in the Spirit. The result of this freedom is a life of no condemnation. This is what Paul experienced as a Christian, exactly as Jesus envisioned for all believers. But why, one may wonder, do many Christians still struggle with sin on a regular basis? That is a good question, but it is a discussion for another day.

This concludes our current series. Next time you read Paul’s writings, I pray you find inspiration to pursue righteousness, holiness and freedom in Christ. Stay free, stay blessed. And remain in the grace of Christ Jesus. Amen.

For further studyActs 9:1-30 and John 8:1-12

Prayer Barriers: Unforgiveness

Daily Devotion | Day 294

“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses” (Mark 11:25-26, NKJV).

Yesterday, we dealt with Mark 11:24. Today, we’ll look at the next two verses because what Jesus said in verses 25-26 is related to His preceding teaching on prayer (verses 20-24). God willing, in the next few days (starting today), we will identify what can be called “prayer barriers.” The Bible talks about things that can block our prayer from being answered. Our purpose is to identify these things and learn how to overcome them. Many Christians get frustrated or even give up because they never seem to make a headway when they pray for something. 

 Before we continue, let’s make one thing clear: When our prayer is not answered, it does not always mean that we did something wrong. At times, God will choose not to do what we’re asking for different reasons, for example, to protect us from (greater) danger. A case in point is found in 2 Corinthians 12:1-10. This is an exception, but it’s important to keep it in mind. That said, before you assume that your situation is similar to Paul’s situation, first make sure you’ve rule out all other possibilities. What we’re going to study in the next few days is intended to help us do just that. The first prayer barrier on our list is unforgiveness. Take another look at today’s passage.

Jesus says, “whenever you stand prayingif you have anything against anyone, forgive him.” If you forgive, the Father also will forgive you. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive you. This is Jesus’ teaching, not mine. You will come across Christians (including pastors, evangelists and theologians) who will try to spin what Jesus said to make it mean something other than what He said. Please be careful. Anyone who tries to diminish (or trivialize) the force of what Jesus said is not helping you. If there’s one person whose words you must take seriously, it is Jesus.

Forgiveness is dear to the heart of Jesus and the Father. If you remain in a state of unforgiveness, you’re not in fellowship with Jesus or the Father or the Holy Spirit. Some mistakenly assume that because they’re born again (justified, forgiven and sanctified), God’s forgiveness will remain regardless of how they treat others. Nothing could be further from the truth (Please read “For further study” at the end of today’s message). Jesus was not joking or lying when He spoke those words about unforgiveness.

If the Father refuses to forgive those who will not forgive, it means He does not answer their prayer. In other words, unforgiveness blocks prayer from being answered. Fortunately, Jesus has revealed to us what we need to do. He says, when we stand in prayer, if we have anything against anyone, we should forgive the person. This means when you begin to pray, take a moment to examine yourself.

If you know in your heart that you have something against this person or that person, pray for them. Open your heart to God about it. Don’t suppress your feelings about it. God knows about it, so there’s no point pretending you don’t feel anything. If you feel pain or grief, don’t block the feeling. Let it surface while you’re still in God’s presence. If it makes you cry, so be it. God loves it when you’re transparent with Him. While in His presence, tell Him you forgive those who have offended you (I recommend you mention their names, so it feels personal and real). Then, ask the Father to forgive them and bless them.

When you’re done, continue with whatever you want to say in prayer. Satan will give you all the reasons why you shouldn’t (or can’t) forgive. Don’t listen to him. Just do what you know pleases your Father, even if your emotions are pulling you in the opposite direction. If you’re tempted a hundred times to hold something against those you’ve already forgiven, reiterate your forgiveness a hundred times. Love will prevail.

Now that you have identified unforgiveness as a prayer-barrier, eliminate it with the power of love. You can do all things through the Father who strengthens you. Amen.

For further studyMatthew 18:21-35