A Clear Conscience

Hebrews 9

Key verses – 13-15

13 For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, 14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

This chapter breaks down the details of the tabernacle and of the priestly duties under the Old Covenant.  The author intends to provide a clear contrast between the former priesthood and Jesus’ priesthood and the sufficiency of His sacrifice.  Remember that this letter to Jewish believers is intended to show that Jesus fulfilled all of the requirements and imagery of the law.  It is also valuable to help Gentile believers like us to understand that the whole Bible is about Jesus.

In the first half of the chapter, we see the images of the earthly tabernacle.  In the second half, we understand that these are copies of the true tabernacle in heaven.  The blood of bulls and goats could not remove sin and perfectly purify the earthly tabernacle or the people.  It could only cover temporarily.  Because the earthly tabernacle is only a copy of the true, the blood that was used was also only a copy.  Only Jesus’ blood can truly remove sin and purify all that it touches.  And only His blood can enter into the true tabernacle in heaven.

Verse 14 says that because of the blood of Christ, our consciences are cleansed from dead works to serve the living God.  Our consciences are what condemn us for failure and stir in us a desire to work our way back to righteousness.  We all know the feeling of trying to assuage a guilty conscience.  Dead works are the efforts that we make to remove guilt and obtain righteousness.  In the Old Covenant, it was about making sacrifices.  Today, we do things like go to church to “be right with the man upstairs,” or we serve out of a sense of obligation to do good.  Religious rituals take many forms, but they are all dead works.  According to verse nine, they can’t cleanse the conscience.

Grace frees us from dead works.  When we understand the power of Jesus’ blood to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, we find the freedom to attend church just because we love Jesus and His people.  We serve because we are grateful.  We walk out good works from a place of thanksgiving and a desire that others would know freedom.  Grace is unmerited favor.  It is not favor obtained through dead works.

Because Jesus as High Priest of the New Covenant entered the true tabernacle with the true blood that purifies, He became the Mediator of the New Covenant.  We learned in previous chapters that angels mediated the Old Covenant and Jesus is so much better than the angels, having by inheritance obtained a more excellent name.  We see from verse 15 today that this eternal inheritance is received by those who are called.  We all are called to put faith in Jesus.  When we respond to that call, we become co-heirs with Jesus in His inheritance.

There aren’t many mediators.  1 Timothy 2:5 tells us plainly that “there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”  Angels aren’t mediating this New Covenant, and dead works don’t cleanse the conscience.  Pure blood has been placed in the true tabernacle and over all who will receive it by faith.  An eternal inheritance is available to anyone willing to brave grace.

Day 20 – Perfected Forever