Heb. 9:14 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.
Have you ever wondered why Christianity claims an exclusive access to God? Many religions are more accepting of one another but not true Christianity. Actually, religious observations all have one ultimate goal, to sooth the conscience. All of mankind are sinners at our basic core and religion is man’s attempt at soothing that nagging, guilty conscience. Everything from the chanting with the gopi beads of the Hindus to the rigid prayers and rules of the Muslims and the many religions that offer food and incense before their graven images; all of it speaks of a guilty conscience. Ancient judaism pointed to the final solution with its animal sacrifices to atone for the sins of man. As the New Testament teaches, the blood of bulls, lambs, and goats can never take away sin. These Old Testament offerings only spoke of a coming sacrifice that would finally take away sin and cleanse our sin stained conscience. Of course that offering is the blood of God’s only Son who died for all of us on the cross. Here are some thoughts from John Owen on the guilty conscience of man.
“Sin affects all the faculties of the soul, and it defiles the conscience in a special way, so that “consciences are corrupted”. The conscience alone brings a sense of guilt, which leads to fear and a dread about approaching God’s presence. It was Adam’s conscience that reduced Adam to hiding himself from God as his eyes were opened through a sense of the guilt of sin….So the cleansing of consciences from acts that lead to death removes the guilt of sin through the blood of Christ. Conscience is used to represent our whole spirits, souls, and bodies that are all to be cleansed and sanctified. To cleanse our consciences is to cleanse our whole being.”
This is the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is faith in the sacrificial blood of Jesus that cleanses our conscience. With the guilt gone, we can now approach our God with confidence. Rather than going through a system of religious observances we can come into God’s presence by faith. Our righteousness is not based on what we have done, it is based on the righteous life of Jesus Christ. Not only can we approach God, we can serve Him now with a different motivation. Rather than doing religious activities to please God, we see that He is already pleased because of the righteousness of His Son. We serve Him not out of duty but purely because of a love for Him birthed in us by the power of redemption.