Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Hebrews 9:11-14 Pure Conscience to Serve the Living God

KEY TEXT: Heb 9:13-14 For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a heifer sanctifies for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

KEY THOT: The author of Hebrews contrasts the sacrifices within the earthly tabernacle with the Sacrifice of the Heavenly Tabernacle. While the blood of goats and bulls could purify the flesh, the blood Christ purifies our conscience from “dead works”. “Dead works” refer to every effort of the old self—not just the sinful works but also the noble and religious works. As long as these works originate from our human nature rather than the divine Spirit, they are considered “dead works” that need to be repented of: “not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works” (Heb. 6:1). 

When Paul lists the things he used to have confidence “in the flesh” he includes his noble achievements: his religious pedigree, education and moral righteousness under the law (Phil. 3:4-7). The blood of Christ purifies our conscience (moral sensitivity) and make able to discern these “noble” achievements as "dead works". These are achievements that the world considers praiseworthy and for which many of us as believers are still striving to attain. But these noble attainments can defile our conscience as much as the ignoble works of the carnal nature. Only when we have repented of trusting in both the noble and ignoble achievements of the flesh is our conscience free from defilement of the flesh and purified by the blood of Christ to “serve the living God.”

However, we are daily bombarded by the media that we are not "successful" if we have not attained these worldly measures of success (education, vocation and ministry), it is easy to feel a sense of failure and even despondency when we start comparing ourselves with others who have these symbols of worldly success. We may even feel we have been cheated by God to give up these pursuits to seek first the kingdom of God. But we have to remember ourselves that in God’s eyes, these achievements among to nothing but “dead works”. Paul refers the attainments he had previously achieved as “loss” and “rubbish” (KJV: “dung”) in Phil. 3:8. Unlike the eternal fruits of the Spirit, which are heavenly, these dead works are earthly and temporal. 

Father, thank You for the blood of Christ that has cleansed our conscience from dead works, so that we might have a pure conscience to serve the living God. Amen.

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