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Volume 25 - Page 31 of 190 Index | Zoom | |
No more conscience of sins (Heb. 10: 2).
pp. 185 - 187
Before any "cases of conscience" can be a fit subject for discussion, and before we
can study the meaning of a good conscience, or a pure conscience, we must settle, from
the Scriptures, the possibility and the basis of the removal of guilt from the conscience.
This is a deeper question than that of conduct, for it lies at the root of our standing before
God. A guilty conscience makes service, access, or worship impossible. The passage
that supplies the title of this article and illuminates the whole question is Heb. 10: 2: "The
worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins."
The reader can see that this quotation is incomplete, being a part only of an argument
that occupies a number of verses. We must look back to the preceding verse:--
"For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the
things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make
the comers thereunto perfect for ever" (Heb. 10: 1).
The word translated "continually" in the A.V. of Heb. 10: 1 is repeated in 10: 14,
where it rightly reads with the word "perfected". It should be so read in 10: 1: "perfected
for ever." To be perfected for ever is evidently another way of saying "no more
conscience of sins", as a reading of the two verses will show. The offerings of the law
were shadows and, as Heb. 11: 9 says, "they could not make him that did the service
perfect as pertaining to the conscience".
In contrast with these types and shadows that could not thus cleanse the conscience or
lift from it the sense of guilt, is the offering of Christ. The argument proceeds:--
"For if the blood of bulls and goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean,
sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, Who
through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience
from dead works to serve the living God?" (Heb. 9: 13, 14).
Consequently in Heb. 10: 2 we read: "The worshippers once purged"; "no more
conscience of sins". Conscience therefore in the first instance is a question of the
efficacy of the sacrifice trusted in for cleansing. The offerings made under the law, being
shadows and types, could not touch the conscience.
While it was not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins, there has
been offered "one sacrifice for sins for ever" so effectual, so wondrously complete,
that--in contrast with the many sacrifices offered under the law "which can never take
away sins"--the sacrifice of Christ will never be repeated:--
"Their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is,
there is no more offering for sin" (Heb. 10: 17, 18).