Washed Clean [Part 1]
By Alan Wright — September 07, 2018
Are you ready for some good new?
The blood of Jesus cleanses the conscience of the believer.
Today’s Text: “and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10:21–22, ESV)
The conscience is unique and mysterious. The Greek word (transliterated “sunedeisis”) has the same meaning as the English word: “knowing with.” The conscience is a sort of “joint knowledge” – a witness within. God has created in every human being a mystical, but real, faculty that serves to direct your thoughts and actions about what is right and what is wrong but this tool, the conscience, depends on knowledge with another part of your being. I’m theorizing here (this isn’t spelled out in scripture), but the conscience is either agreeing with the Word of God or with your own beliefs that may or may not be consistent with scripture. In this sense, the conscience is a gift from God that may or may not be reliable.
Imagine the example of a man who had recently returned home to the United States after living in Cambodia for years. Upon his return, he joined family and friends for an informal gathering to watch a ball game on TV. When he got up from the couch to get some more salsa and chips, he stood still, waiting for his friend to move his legs that were propped on the coffee table. He assumed that the friend would move his legs but he didn’t. The former Cambodia resident couldn’t bring himself to step over his friend’s legs – such a thing would be reprehensible in Southeast Asia. But, in the casual, low-key culture of good friends in the US, no one thinks it wrong to hurdle someone else’s legs. In other words, with his family and friends in America, it wasn’t wrong to step over another person’s legs, but his conscience thought it was.
Because, in our fallen condition, the conscience isn’t always reliable, it is essential that we allow the blood of Jesus cleanse the conscience. The “joint knowledge” of the conscience mustn’t be between the heart and our natural thoughts; it must be a joint knowledge of heart and scripture.
When God has declared you clean and holy, you can feel free to be in His presence. You can draw near to Him with a clean conscience. And that’s the Gospel!