Christ Destroyed Your Record Of Wrong And Bled To Cleanse Your Conscience

Texts:  Colossians 2:6-15 & Hebrews 9:11-14

Grace and Peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

God’s holy Law has not only been inscribed on mankind’s heart at creation, it has also been chiseled into stone in what we know as the Ten Commandments.  These commandments of God are the voice of God’s holy, perfect, true, and good will towards and for mankind.    God’s Word of Law makes prohibitions, “Thou shall not,” and it makes demands of what we should do, “Thou Shall.”  God’s Word of Law addresses how we should live externally speaking and it also addresses the proper attitudes of the mind.  Yes, the Law addresses our thoughts, words, and deeds; the Law addresses the whole person.

So what is our attitude towards God’s Law?  It should be one of reverence and respect, for God’s Law is true and good and holy.  God’s Law is not unfair or unjust.  However, with that said, when we look to God’s holy character and His will for us as expressed in the 10 Commandment, we find ourselves out of our league.  Frankly, we cannot manage God’s standards as expressed in the 10 Commandments.  We cannot meet the demands of God’s perfect and holy Law.  Thus, as a result we find ourselves at odds with God’s Law.  We find that God’s Law, which is good, true, and perfect, now stands against us as it speaks its prohibitions and its demands. 

As we look at the Law we come to realize that the Law has a valid claim upon us because we have not kept it to perfection.  We have voided the contractractual nature of the Law.  Thus, because of our sinful nature we find ourselves experiencing pressure from the Law; this good and holy standard stands against us because we violate it daily by our thoughts, words, and deeds.  This is not the fault of the Law.  The Law did not turn and become our enemy; no because of our sinful nature we have turned our backs on God’s Law.  Thus, just like a mortgage, car loan, or credit card statement with its red numbers showing us our debt, the Law of God does the same; it shows us where we have sinned.  It shows us just how much in the hole we are.  Putting our life up against the Law results in a record of wrong that truly stands against us.    

Not only does the Law show us where we have sinned but it also makes continual demands to us.  Like that mortgage statement showing us how much in debt we are and then demands further payment, the Law of God does the same.  The Law continues to make demands upon us, “You shall be holy just as your Heavenly Father is holy!”  Indeed, God’s Law is like those red letters on the mortgage statement jumping off the paper saying, Payment Due Now. 

Yes, the Law not only shows us our wrongs thus convicting us by compiling a criminal rap sheet, but it continually exerts pressure upon us by reaching out to us and calling forth for perfection.  Alas, our consciences become bound, guilt sets in, and pressure is applied. 

As a result of the God’s Law bringing pressure to us, following us, and constantly revealing sin, our consciences most certainly become weighed down and burdened with conviction and guilt.  As a result though, we construct all sorts of methods to deal with the pressure and accusations of God’s Law upon the conscience. In our day and age people will cut themselves and abuse drugs on the one extreme and on the other extreme people will give a million dollars to the United Way and serve in soup kitchens to calm the rattling conscience and to satisfy the demands of the Law.  However, the result is the same.  The conscience still condemns us for the Law demands continual perfection.

Indeed, no amount of good works, personal piety, and spiritual aerobics can alleviate and lift this stain of sin from our conscience or appease the demands of the Law. Because of our violation of the Law, this guilt and stain of sin embeds itself at the depths of our being and it clings to us, it follows us, it haunts us, and it presses down on us.

As a result our mission then subconsciously becomes one of trying to avoid, escape, overcome, ignore, and suppress the guilty conscience.  When we realize that we can’t clean our conscience and appease the demands of the Law with our own works, we employ all sorts of escape tactics.   We deny that we have sinned.  We run from the accusations of the Laws, ducking, tucking, and rolling from its demands of perfection.  We try to suppress the guilt of the conscience by exchanging the truth of our sin for lies.  However, the problem is that none of these actions can cancel out this debt, satisfy the demands, make an adequate payment, and cleanse the conscience.  It is truly amazing to see the amount of money and resources that we spend and exert in order to calm the troubled conscience. 

My friends, some things never really change.  The problem of a stained and dirty conscience that stands condemned under God’s holy and perfect will is as old as Adam and Eve.  As soon as Adam and Eve sinned by violating God’s Word, their conscience was stained and troubled. Indeed this violation of God’s Law not only resulted in having the written demand standing against them, scripture also shows us that their conscience was convicted as they covered themselves with fig leaves and hid from God.

What this all boils down to is that like Adam and Eve, we as mankind have a God problem, a problem with God’s character of righteous holiness. 

Tonight though, we ask the question yet again, does this Old Rugged Cross do anything about the demands of the Law?  Does the Old Rugged Cross do anything to this tension between God’s holy character and our unholy character?  Does the Old Rugged Cross do anything about the burdened conscience?  Does the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus do or saying anything to us?

In our Colossians reading for tonight we read something remarkable, that there is a cancellation of our debt.  This cancellation of our debt happened on the cross when it was nailed to the cross.  Indeed, this record that stood against us, our record of sin; our record of the times that we violated God’s perfect holy Law was canceled and erased.  Yes, this damning record was cancelled as it was nailed to the cross.  How was this damning record nailed to the cross?  Parchment was not nailed to the cross, rather, Christ was.  Yes, this damning record of our violation of God’s Law was ascribed to Christ and He endured our damnation thus destroying this record of wrong.  Therefore, this record of you does not say ‘payment due’ but says, ‘paid in full.’

But what of the Law that continually stands against us?  The very perfect, holy, and righteous Law that condemns us is the very Law that Jesus was born under; so that by His righteousness He might fulfill, yes fulfill it, on our behalf.  Thus, Jesus not only destroys your record of wrong, but then gives you His record of right as a pure gift!  Yes, you have a new record and that is Jesus’ perfect record of righteousness. 

But what of the guilty conscience?  Hebrews says that the blood of Christ removed this stain from the conscience.  Yes, the blood of Christ cleanses and gives relief to the conscience as well.  The blood of Christ is the only cleansing agent that the universe knows that can give the conscience the relief in life and peace in death.  Yes, the Gospel actually ‘purges’ or ‘cleans’ our conscience.  You who have ears, listen to the Words of the Gospel, “Your Sins are forgiven, Christ has atoned for your sins, God is now well pleased with you…”  These words are not mere abstract ideas, but God’s Word for you.

My friends, in Christ, you are not condemned by the Law.  In Christ, God’s wrath has been satisfied.  In Christ, God is pleased with you because of Jesus’ righteousness for you.  In Christ, the Law has been fulfilled for you.  In Christ, all of your haunting sins from your life cannot slam you.  The blood of Christ not only cleanses and covers you now, but reaches back into your history and deep into your closets and washes you clean.

Rest my friends in Christ and Him crucified for you.  Rest in the shadow of this mighty cross; a cross that drips of Christ’s blood, blood that was shed for you.  Rest, knowing that you are indeed righteous because of Christ for you. 

Now, the peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

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