Cleansed Hearts lead to Confident Faith, Guilt leads to Religious Bondage!
By Richard Allen – May 29, 2023
As a young boy, I was mostly unaware of Broadway Musicals, but I do remember some of these songs making their way to my Dad’s stereo. One such song that had a catchy melody, has been stuck in my head to this day: “Love Makes the World Go Round,” sung by Anna Maria Alberghetti in the musical, Carnival. Like so many other sappy tunes about love, there was an element of truth in the song’s lyrics. But as I grew up, I realized that more often than not, many other similar lyrics could have been written: “Lust makes the world go round,” or “Money makes the world go round.” Those phrases have as much truth as the original song from Carnival. So forgive me for being cynical, but after living and observing life for a few years, it’s my opinion that a great title might be: “Guilt Makes the World Go Round.”
Being part Italian and part Irish, “guilt runs in my family.” It might be strange to say, but guilt is a multi-faceted subject. And guilt doesn’t operate alone, it makes its home in the human conscience: And the conscience can be informed and motivated by God’s word and give us pangs of guilt for actual wrongs that we’ve committed, functioning as a moral warning system. But guilt can also be energized by erroneous ideas and faulty beliefs. Just think of the guilt produced by the fake science of “Manmade Climate Change.” Notice, I didn’t say Global Warming, or its predecessor, Global Cooling. Since Global Cooling didn’t pan out with the apocalyptic fear mongering back in the 1960’s and 1970’s, modern day fear-mongers (all with agendas that have nothing to do with science or survival), have turned to “Manmade Climate Change.” This was an easy change to match the current climate. The real goal is to produce FEAR and GUILT, so that Wealthy Socialist Entrepreneurs can achieve their New World Order, getting filthy rich in the process!
I’m amazed at all the guilt produced by another wing of the New World Order: Guilt over Slavery and White Privilege. As our picture above shows: “People who never owned slaves, now feel guilt for something they never did, while showing penance and willingness to make reparations to other People who have never been slaves! Yes, guilt can make people do crazy things. As I’ve mused before, I believe all men have a deep seated guilt over offending a Holy God with our sin. But without knowing this God from His revealed word, many men express their need to grieve their consciences over something, even if it’s totally erroneous. We are truly living in the days Amos the prophet predicted:
“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord God, “when I will send a famine on the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord” (Amos 8:11).
So whether we have guilty consciences from “destroying the planet with our SUV’s” or “guilt over slaves you never owned” or even “guilt over not paying for a poor woman to murder her unwanted child” (what an injustice, huh?), guilty consciences can be and often are irrational, and bear no resemblance to moral righteousness. Jesus predicted how totally messed up unbelievers’ consciences might be, when predicting they would be grieved and filled with irrational guilt, propelling them to do great evil to righteous believers. Look at the words Jesus spoke in John’s Gospel:
“For you will be expelled from the synagogues, and the time is coming when those who kill you will think they are doing a holy service for God“(John 16:2 NLT).
How amazing, Our Lord explains that those misguided first century Jews who called for Jesus’ crucifixion and later persecuted the early Church (putting many of them to death), actually thought that they were doing a service for God. In fact, if they had not persecuted the early Church, they would have struggled with a guilty conscience for not being zealous for Jehovah God. According to their view of the Old Testament Scriptures, these disciples of Christ were heretics, and deserved to be stoned. Likewise, after 9-11-2001 we read of many Muslims around the world applauding the killing of almost 3,000 people in the “Twin Towers” in New York. While that was shocking, some moderate Muslims expressed guilty consciences that they had not taken part in the “Jihad” by helping to slay those horrible infidels. This proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the human conscience can be twisted into calling good evil, and evil good. This week’s Blog shows that Jewish believers, to whom the Book of Hebrews was addressed, were suffering from guilty consciences as well. The writer describes:
“The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming, not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. Otherwise, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins. It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins” (Hebrews 10:1-4).
Again, I need to be careful how I say this. The sacrifices of Judaism after Messiah Jesus’ advent were empty displays, and totally unable to cleanse the conscience from dead works, or give the worshipper peace with God. Even during the Old Testament infancy, that is, the times leading up to Jesus’ birth, Judaism at best, could only “partially salve the consciences of worshippers,” pushing their guilt forward for another year. I have no doubt that some among this group of Jewish Christians were also struggling with a guilty conscience. This is why the writer tells us that:
“First, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them,” though they were offered in accordance with the law. Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy” (Hebrews 10:8-14).
There is much to understand in the following four short verses, but let me limit my comments to these 4 points: 1.) Sacrifices and offerings done by an earthly priesthood were NEVER SUFFICIENT TO SATISFY A HOLY GOD! But, says the Roman Catholic: We’re offering the Blood of Jesus again as an atonement in the mass. Remember, Old Testament Sacrifices were symbolic shadows of Jesus’ sacrifice as well. Even though they were offered for two millennia, God was never pleased. There was only One Sacrifice in which He was pleased, the sacrifice made by His own dear Son, Jesus, on Calvary. 2.) God completely “set aside the first sacrifices done under the law, in order to establish the final sacrifice by Jesus Christ.” 3.) Sacrifices and Offerings offered by an earthly priesthood were non-efficacious, that is, NOT COMPLETE, in that they had to be offered over and over again. The very fact that they had to be repeated constantly, was proof of their total inadequacy. 4.) Jesus’ one sacrifice was so effective that it would never be repeated. It fully and finally [RA1] atoned for sin, and was fully accepted. God showed His satisfaction with Jesus’ sacrifice by raising Him from the dead!
Regarding the finality and perfection of Jesus’ one sacrifice for sin, the writer of Hebrews goes on to say the following:
“Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin (Hebrews 10:17-18).
After quoting Jeremiah chapter 31:33-34 again as he had in Hebrews chapter 8, this inspired writer drops an earth-shattering bomb: Where sin is forgiven and remembered no more, there can no longer be another sacrifice for sin! This is an amazing statement, especially since “many of these Jewish Christians were returning to the sacrifices still being carried out in Jerusalem. That whole sacrificial system was obsolete and was soon to be completely eliminated. But what’s more ironic is, that many professing Christians who say they believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ, somehow believe that the inspired writer of Hebrews was wrong, there is still an ongoing sacrifice for sin. And this sacrifice, as their creeds and doctrines teach, atones, propitiates and ministers Christ’s so-great salvation to us. Let me say here with the full authority of the Word of God that there is no longer any offering for sin! We can either accept Jesus’ atoning sacrifice that was accomplished “once for all,” NEVER TO BE REPEATED, or we can trust the feeble, ineffective sacrifices done by an earthly priesthood. I should also add, THERE ARE NO PROCLAMATIONS BY THE APOSTLES OF JESUS, ANYWHERE, THAT TEACH US TO PERFORM INEFFECTIVE, EARTHLY, TEMPORAL SACRIFICES!
Jesus’ “Once-for-All, It-is-Completed, Paid-In-Full” sacrifice at Calvary almost 2,000 years ago, can get us off the Religious Roller Coaster of “continuing sacrifices” and “hearts plagued with a guilty conscience” and “no genuine assurance of salvation.”
“Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:19-23).
Now under the New Covenant of Jesus, believers have confidence in God and can draw near with a sincere heart and full assurance of faith. Our hearts have been “sprinkled clean from a guilty conscience.” Let me leave you with the clear truth about Jesus’ finished work on the cross. Either you are trusting in the one who finished His Priestly work, of whom the writer of Hebrews says: ”When Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God” (Hebrews 10:12), or you go on sinning deliberately by “crucifying once again the Son of God to your own harm and holding him up to contempt” (Hebrews 6:6). After explaining the truth about Jesus’ finished, forever completed unique sacrifice and priestly offering, in this context the writer warns these Hebrew Christians about going back to offer sacrifices in the actual temple in Jerusalem – which foreshadowed what Jesus had now finished:
“For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? (Hebrews 10:26-29).
Soli Deo Gloria!