“This [the annual ministry the high priest performed in the Most Holy Place] is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper.” But when Christ came as high priest…He entered the Most Holy Place once for all by His own blood…How much more, then, will the blood of Christ… cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death! Hebrews 9:9,11a, 12,14
Hebrews 9:9, 11a, 12, 14
Friend to Friend
As far back as I can recall, I was a trouble maker. Born into a home where my parents modeled disrespect, I learned how to buck authority figures with great competence. I was made to sit alongside my teacher’s desk, placed outside the door of my elementary school classrooms, and sent to the principal’s office more times than I care to recount.
As I grew, so did my propensity to sin. It got to the point where I could say with certainty, having been raised in a Bible-teaching church, that “Shame” was my middle name. I knew I was guilty of breaking the laws of God. He was holy, and my actions were most certainly not.
Few things are as unbearable as a guilty conscience—take it from one who knows. The Bible tells us the Israelites lived their lives with guilty consciences, too. They were well-versed, as I was, in God’s laws. And every time they gave into their human nature and sinned against God, their consciences stung. Through Moses’ writings, many repentant sacrifices were spelled out to atone for one’s sin. But Scripture tells us these atoning sacrifices were temporary Band-Aids for their sin. While they covered the act, they never cleansed the conscious. Week after week and year after year, the people needed to have their sins re-covered by the blood sacrifice of innocent animals.
Paul, in his letter to the Hebrews, makes sure Jewish converts to Christ know that not only did Jesus’ shed blood wipe clean the surface of their sin-slate permanently, but for the first time in human history, a sinner’s conscious could be cleansed as well!
When I finally humbled myself before my Savior and became a recipient of Jesus’ infinite grace, all of my sin-failures and prideful acts were swept clean. I stood forgiven, but better yet, I was released from the shame I had carried around for so many years. I could have shouted, in the words of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr, “Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, I’m free at last!”
I’m going to guess there’s a number of you reading this today who’ve asked Jesus to forgive your sins—many times over, even—and still you’ve yet to FEEL forgiven. The honest truth, should it be told, is you’re still feeling quite guilty about something you’ve done in the past—ya’ know, that really BIG sin you just can’t seem to shake. I get that, believe me I do.
Here’s the hard truth I’ve come to learn: It’s not a sign of spiritual humility to continue in your remorse. It’s actually a lack of faith in the fullness of the forgiveness you’ve been offered. If Jesus has declared you forgiven and free, yet you continue to walk in the bondage of shame and guilt, you’ve placed your opinion of yourself above the authority of God.
The Bible is clear. Jesus is both Judge and Jury. His “Not Guilty” verdict for every Christ-follower stands unchallenged. Girlfriend, if you have repented of your sin and asked for His forgiveness, know this: You are FULLY forgiven. It’s the deepest cleaning your conscious will ever get!
Lord, who of us, on our own, can stand before You? Only by the cleansing covering of Your blood can we approach Your Throne of Grace. Thank You for Your gift which cleanses not only our sins, but our consciences as well! Enable us to believe You when You say we are forgiven. In the powerful Name of Jesus, we pray,
Now It’s Your Turn
Do you find yourself lacking the faith to believe your sin-debt (and shame) can be remembered no more? “So, faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17 ESV) Get to reading through your Bible, girl! There you will find detailed accounts of people, such as Moses, David, and Peter who were set free from their shame-filled pasts so they could be used powerfully in God’s redemptive plan for this world. Read enough of these historical accounts and I am confident you will become convinced your sins are no different than theirs: committed, yes, but repented, forgiven, and forgotten!
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Lisa Morrone, PT is a physical therapist, professor, author of six books, radio guest and event speaker who encourages people to “Get Healthy for Heaven’s Sake.” Visit Lisa’s website for more information and to sign up to receive her informative “Monday Morning Health Tips”!