Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Cleansing the Conscience - Martin Wiles

For the gifts and sacrifices that the priests offer are not able to cleanse the consciences of the people who bring them. Hebrews 9:9 NLT

He was the sweetest man in the world when she married him, but that would soon change. Peter and Catrina were high school sweethearts who planned their wedding for the summer after their graduation. Nine months later Catrina delivered their baby girl. Shortly after Adeline’s birth, life took a downward turn when Peter lost his job. 

Desperate, Peter made a decision he wouldn’t have otherwise. He robbed a local store and buried the money in a vacant lot. Sadly, he left evidence behind that led to his arrest and a six year prison sentence. The money, however, was never recovered. Catrina didn’t feel as if she could give him a second chance. She visited him only once while he was in jail. 

Imagine Catrina’s surprise when six years later Peter showed up at a Christmas celebration hosted by the police chief. In his hand was the bag of money which he presented to the police chief. “It’s all there,” he said. Peter had done his time; all he wanted now was a second chance with his wife and daughter. Prison life hadn’t soothed his conscience.  

Thousands upon thousands of sacrifices couldn’t pacify the raging consciences of the worshipers who brought them faithfully. The commands and ceremonies were just a temporary fix until Christ came and paid what only a sinless person could pay. 

Cleansed consciences are only possible by accepting and understanding what Christ has done. I could pay for my sins—but it would mean my death and eternal punishment. No one else has offered to and couldn’t if they wanted since they are sinners as well. 

Only the sinless Son of God could solve my dilemma. Knowing and believing that isn’t enough, however, to clear my conscience. I must actually believe my sins are forgiven.

If I hang on to past mistakes he has forgiven—as Peter did, I’ll live continuously with false guilt. Satan will capitalize on my misunderstanding of forgiveness and make my life miserable and useless. What Christ has paid for and I’ve accepted, God will never hold against me again. 

Is your conscience clean?

Prayer: Father, cleanse our consciences from the false guilt that Satan attempts to inflict.
(Photo courtesy of morguefile and JasonGillman.)

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