Today on Summit Life with J.D.
Greer. Forgiveness means you're released from the negative consequences of guilt. Purity means that you are made into something new and you're given an exalted position of righteousness. We have been bathed, we've been cleansed, we've been dressed in white, we've been made pure.
That means that the girl who committed sexual sin is pure and spotless again in God's eyes through the blood of Jesus. Welcome back to another week of solid biblical teaching here on Summit Life with Pastor J.D. Greer of the Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina.
As always, I'm your host, Molly Vidovich. I think it's safe to say that all of us have a few skeletons in our closets, you know, past mistakes that we regret and that haunt us. And whether we embrace these misdeeds or try to hide them, the truth is apart from Christ, we're slaves to sin.
But I'm here right now to tell you there is hope. Today, Pastor J.D. describes the only way to be freed from sin.
It's easier than you might think, and it's free yet costly. Wondering what that means? Let's join Pastor J.D. in Hebrews chapter nine with a message he titled, No More Consciousness of Sins. Certain Christian counselors that I respect and read a great deal make a distinction between what they call overt guilt and covert guilt. Overt guilt is when you know you've done something wrong and you feel guilty about it. Maybe it's a sexual sin that you have committed, or maybe you've gotten ahead where you are right now by cheating and no one's ever found out about that.
Maybe it's cheating at school, right? All of that is what we call overt guilt. But then there's this other dimension called covert guilt, which is a sense that all of us have that something is wrong, a sense of shame that we may not be able to identify where it comes from, but it's just part of the human condition. I've explained that even if you don't believe in God, your soul has a sense of that shame.
So here's the question. What does the Bible say about guilt and how to deal with it? Hebrews chapter nine, verses one through 12 of chapter nine, the author of Hebrews goes through a description of the Old Testament sacrificial system and he explains that the whole temple was set up to deal with our guilt. The reason we had a temple is because we felt guilt.
We were guilty. We had this sense of separation from God. Verse two, he describes two intersections of the temple.
Two intersections. The first was called the holy place, a curtain that divides it from the innermost section called the holy of holies. Into that holy of holies, only one priest, the high priest, would enter and only one time a year on that day the high priest would go in and sprinkle the blood of a clean animal sacrifice upon the top of that ark.
The high priest was supposed to make meticulous preparation before entering the holy of holies. All these ceremonies, all these regulations, all these arrangements for entering the presence of God, but here's what the author concludes about it all. Verse nine, according to this arrangement, gifts and sacrifice are offered that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper.
All that pomp and circumstance. And it couldn't do the one thing that we needed, which was perfect the conscience, remove the guilt, or change the heart. Verse 11, but when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect hand, the one not made with hands, that is not of this creation, he entered once for all into the holy place, not by means of the blood of goats and calves, but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. Don't these symbols, the author says, don't they have to point to something? He says, yes, they point to Christ.
All of these things were shadows. What the old temple gave you as a shadow, Christ fulfilled in reality. Now, what is most intriguing to me in this passage, however, is how the writer says that that blood of Jesus, how it does something with our guilt that the old covenant and all religions ever could never do.
I found three of them in this chapter. The first two are in verse 14. All right, so look at verse 14. How much more, the writer says, will the blood of Christ purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God? Three things the blood of Jesus does with our guilt. Number one, we go from guilt to purity. Jesus did not simply cover our guilt or waive the penalty.
He did away with it forever. When Jesus was on the cross, the words that he spoke right before he died, in Greek, tetelestai, which meant literally, it has been paid. How does Jesus dine for our sin? How does that actually remove our guilt before God?
Honestly, I don't know exactly. It's easy for me to see that a lot of injustices require some kind of restitution. The example I've used before is if I let you borrow my car and you take it out and you wreck it, my options are I can tell you that you are going to pay every penny of what it costs to repair my car. The other option I have is to say, you know what, don't worry about it. I forgive you.
There's an accident. You're forgiven. You don't owe me any money for the car.
If that's what I do with you, then what have I just agreed to do? I just agreed to pay the penalty. What Jesus did when he died on a cross is he didn't just make the penalty go away, he absorbed the penalty for us. When somebody commits an injustice against you, it makes you suffer. And the way you alleviate your suffering is to make them suffer. If I forgive that person, however, that means that I will not pay them back for their injustice.
I will absorb the sting of it into myself and give them a mercy and a respect that they don't deserve. At the cross, that's what God did. He absorbed the sting of our insult into himself. Now, I can use those things for you as analogies, but at the end of the day, I can't explain to you exactly why the blood of Jesus removed all our guilt. I just know that God said it did.
J.I. Packer, one of my favorite theologians, in a book called In My Place, condemned he stood. He said, listen, how it is possible for Jesus to bear our penalty, we do not claim to know, any more than we know how it is possible for him to be made man. But that he bore it is the certainty on which all of our hopes rest.
C.S. Lewis in the Chronicles of Narnia called it the deeper magic of the universe, that when an innocent willfully suffers for the guilty, then the curse upon the guilty is reversed. So I cannot tell you exactly how it all works, but what I can tell you is that the Bible is clear that apart from the blood of Christ, there is no forgiveness of sins. Verse 22, without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins, which means that those religions that tried to teach that God can forgive sin apart from the shed blood of Jesus are, simply put, wrong. For example, saying there are multiple ways to God, as if Christ's death is one way and Buddha's eightfold path and Muhammad's five pillars are another, are wrong because Hebrews 9 and 22 says without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins. That means that Christians, modernized Christians, who like to say that the blood of Jesus, that wasn't actually a payment for sin because that's God's not like that. You know, that was just an example of how much God loved us. That means they're wrong because he said that the shedding of blood and the forgiveness of sins, one produces the other. You know, and to note, by the way, on that, how is it that Jesus would have proved he loved me by dying for me if his dying for me wasn't actually forgiving my sin?
That didn't make it, like, it's almost, the way I've described it, it's like this. If I'm walking along with my daughter and I'm like, sweetheart, you want to know how much I love you? How much, daddy? Watch this, and I'll throw myself in the oncoming traffic. That's not really showing her how much I love her. That's showing her that I have lost my mind because my death on that point doesn't do anything for her. Or if I were going to, you know, tell you how much I loved you as your pastor. Here's how much I love you.
I'm going to let myself be accused of sexual misconduct and abuse, wrongfully, and then I'm just going to get fired. It's not true, but I'm just going to do it just to show you that I love. That's not helping you at all, right? It's only loving if Christ was actually doing something by dying for our sin. Without the shedding of blood, there's no forgiveness or sins. I can just tell you what 922 says.
Can't explain to you all how it works. I can just tell you what it says. Blood is required because it's the only way to remove guilt. But notice that the verse doesn't simply say that guilt is removed. It says that we are made pure.
Forgiveness means you are released from the negative consequences of guilt. Purity means that you are made into something new and you're given an exalted position of righteousness. We have been bathed. We've been cleansed.
We've been dressed in white. We've been made pure. That means that the girl who committed sexual sin is pure and spotless again in God's eyes through the blood of Jesus. She is cherished again because of the blood of Jesus. One of the best illustrations of this I've ever heard comes from a book by a guy named Mark Driscoll called Death by Love. He talks about a friend of his who had been married to a woman that he loved dearly for many years. Even though he loved her that way, they were never as close and intimate as he desired.
He could never figure out why. Later into their marriage, about five years, he figured out it was because his wife was filled with shame. She had been molested as a young girl, raped as a young woman, and promiscuous throughout much of her teen years.
She never told her husband about any of this. She even cheated on her husband to be during their engagement and did not share any of that knowledge with him. She cheated on him while they were engaged. After many years, she finally confessed to him who she was and what she'd done and what she had done to him.
Devastated her husband who would never have married her had he known of her infidelity during their engagement. Plus, she knew that there were some guys who wouldn't want to be with a girl that had been abused so much because he might look at her like she was damaged goods. She had all this fear in telling him this. She was afraid that he would leave her and never want anything to do with her. After she confessed to him, Mark Driscoll says, he said to her horror, he just walked out of the room. He left her home. She didn't know where he was going or if he would ever return, but he did something completely unexpected. He went to the store and he purchased for her a new clean white nightgown. He returned home and asked her to undress in front of him and then after she did, pulled out this white beautiful garment and said, clothe yourself now in this. He then said that he had chosen to see her not by what she'd done or by what had been done to her, but he chose to see her solely by what Jesus had done for her to forgive her and to cleanse her from her defilement. He embraced her and prayed for her and she wept tears that purified her soul as her sin was put away from her by the love of Jesus and by the love of her husband who was filled with the Spirit of God and committed to love her like Jesus had. That's what forgiveness does to you. It doesn't simply remove the condemnation.
It clothes in purity. Forgiveness tells you, you may go. This is Summit Life with J.D.
Greer. I think you know by now that we like to provide you with practical resources each month to engage and encourage you in your walk with God. You know, sometimes it's hard to make Christ first in our lives. Thankfully, the book of Hebrews was written to people who needed a boost in their faith. It gives us a clear message to keep fighting and trusting and believing. Our newest Bible study actually follows along with our teaching on the program. And in it, we'll learn that Jesus is greater than every other hero of our faith. Want to know more? Contact us now and receive the Christ is Better Bible Study with your gift to the ministry right now.
Call 866-335-5220 or check it out at jdgreer.com. Now, let's get back to the conclusion of today's teaching. Here's Pastor J.D. Here's your second thing from that verse. Verse 14, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. Number two, from dead works to loving service. Religion is filled with all kinds of works, but they're dead. Because before the gospel, the reason we were doing good works was to try and get God to approve of us. If you're doing something good so that God will reward you for it, think about this, that's not loving God. That's just loving yourself, right?
I mean, if you own some really nice beach house and I found out that you let your friends use that beach house. So I call you up. I'm like, hey, I'd really like to take you out to dinner.
I take you out to dinner, tell you what a wonderful person you are, tell you how much I'm glad to be a part of, you're a part of the church, how much we're glad to know each other, right? That's not love for you. That's me saying if I take you out for dinner, maybe you'll let me use the beach house. That's not love for you, that's an investment.
That's like for a $60 dinner, I can score a week at your beach house. You should let me use it simply because I'm your pastor and you like me. That's the only reason that you should be motivated by that, all right? Religion leads you to dead works because you're doing good works to be accepted by God. The Gospel gives you God's acceptance as a gift and the result is a new motivation. You begin to serve God because you love God, because you're grateful to him. You serve God not in order to be accepted, but because you have been accepted. In religion, you do good works in order to be accepted by God, but the Gospel liberates you to do good works because you have been accepted by God.
That's the difference in dead works and living works. I think it was John Newton, a former slave owner, who told the story about a converted slave owner, might have been himself by the way, who would save his money after he became a Christian and go to the slave auctions to purchase slaves, at which point after purchasing them, he would promptly set them free. After one of these occasions, he told the girl that she was free. He had purchased her.
He handed her her papers so that she would never be a slave again. She says, what do you mean? She said, I mean that you can go anywhere you want. She says, I don't have to go with you? He says, no, I don't own you.
She's like, I don't have to serve you? He said, no, you're free. I purchased your freedom. She said, you took your own money and came to this auction having never met me and purchased freedom so that I could go anywhere I want. He said, that's right, that's what I did.
She said, then I choose to go and be with you. Not because I'm have to as a slave, but because I desire to. Religious rituals cannot take away sin. The Jewish people made a mistake. They took the symbol and started to treat it like it was the real thing. They started to think that the blood of bulls and goats actually could take away sin.
People do that today. When they think they're saying, hell marries and that can take away their sin, at its best, it just covers sin. It's like spraying yourself with cologne instead of taking a bath. It might work for a few times, but it's not going to take away the stench. You think you're taking communion is going to take away your sin. Coming to church a lot is going to take away your sin. Those are dead works with no power to actually remove sin. Only the blood of Jesus takes away sin.
It doesn't just cover your sin or spray religious cologne on you. It removes your guilt and it transforms you, which leads me to number three. From guilt to purity, from dead works to loving service, number three. From dread to longing. From dread to longing. Verse 27, just as it has been appointed for man to die once and after that comes judgment, so Christ having been offered once to bear the sins for many will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to save those, look at this, who eagerly wait for him. That's the biggest change of the gospel.
We used to have this sense of dread about God, fear, but the gospel gave us a love for God that replaced that dread, a longing for him. I see this in my kids. When I go off on a trip, I come home, pull the car in the driveway in the garage, immediately that door is open and those kids are running down the stairs and they're screaming, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy. They know that I long to see them so they long to see me. Now, when my kids think I'm angry at them, which happens sometimes, they're not running up to me trying to hop in my lap.
They're in the other room trying to avoid daddy because if daddy's angry at them, they want to be apart from me. Same way with God our father. If you believe that there is judgment there, then you want to resist, you want to stay away from God, but when you understand that he has absorbed the guilt, it creates in you a longing for God. That's the sign that the gospel has come into your heart because the gospel gives us that kind of sense of adoption before God. Rather than fearing judgment, we begin to long for God.
Three changes. Three changes from guilt to purity, from dead works to loving service, from dread to longing. It is because of this heart transformation that we can escape the shame of our sin. See, people sometimes will say, well, I know that I'm forgiven, the guilt is gone, but I still feel so much shame over what I've done.
I feel so much shame over what I did. That's because you don't understand that, yes, you actually did those things and you are responsible for those things, but what the Bible tells you, second Corinthians 517, is that when you're in Christ, you're a new creation. Old things have passed away, all things have become new. It means that he's taken that part of you that did those kind of things and he crucified it and put it away. You're a new creation. It's like I heard about a guy one time that up until the time he became a Christian, he cheated on his wife several times, had multiple mistresses.
After he became a Christian, he was walking through town one day and some woman came up to him and grabbed, so a woman that he had an affair with and he kind of pulls away from him, he starts to push back and she's like, what are you doing? It's me, it's me. His only response to her was, yeah, but it's not me.
It's not me. It's not the me that used to do these things with you. I'm a new creation.
I'm a new person. What you understand is that, yes, that was you that did those things, but that was a part of you that Christ died for and put away. That's where you begin to be released from guilt and shame because Christ was crucified naked to put that person who did those things away forever. I know some of you are like, yeah, but I did all those things after I was saved.
Some of these things, I did them. The Bible says as long as you are here, Romans 6, on earth, you still have this body of sin that is around you and when your flesh does things, even though I'm a Christian, I know that Jesus has already died to put that part of me away and I have to reckon myself dead to that and say, that guy, that guy deserved to go to hell and that's why Jesus died for him, but I'm going to reckon myself dead to him and alive to God so that I no longer am the person who did those things. Christ did away with it forever, all right. People say, well, I know that God has forgiven me based on what you're telling me, but I just can't forgive myself. You ever hear people say that?
I can't forgive myself. When you make that statement, what you're saying is that your opinion of yourself matters more to you than God's opinion of you does. What it means is that you have a standard you have to reach and if you don't reach that standard, you don't have any worth or value. That standard might be one that your parents set for you.
If you don't get these kind of grades and get this kind of job, you don't have any worth. It might be a standard that you have set for yourself because only if you could get to this status right here would you have any worth because then you would be set above others. You have to base your worth on what God thinks about you. You don't have worth because you're better than others or because you've reached some standard. You have worth because God has set his affection on you and you have to find your identity in that. When you say, I know God has forgiven me, but I can't forgive myself, essentially what you just said is I matter more to me than God does. Part of what it means to walk with God is that you define your life based on what God says about you and say his opinion is the one that matters even more than any of these false standards I've set for myself. The point is that God has forgiven you. He's cherished you.
So all the accusing voices, whether from the devil or from others or from yourself, they can all be silenced. Heard a story, and I'll close with this, of a little boy. You've probably heard some version of this story. A little boy who was at his grandmother's house and he's playing around with his slingshot in the front yard and his grandmother had a pet duck, lived out in the country. He had a pet duck and he slips up and kills the duck. Looks around, doesn't think anybody's seen him murder this duck, and so he takes it or manslaughter, duck slaughter or whatever, and takes the duck and he buries it, kind of puts it away, thinks that nobody saw that. Well, a couple days later, finds out that his sister had seen the whole thing go down, and so he's like, please don't tell grandmother, and she's like, I won't tell her. It'll be our little secret, but every time that they were assigned a chore that she didn't want to do, she would just kind of walk up to him and be like, remember the duck, and he would do the dishes and he would take out the trash or whatever it was. This went on for several months with her continually saying, remember the duck, remember the duck. Finally, you know, in his little 12-year-old life, he got to a point he's like, I just can't take that anymore, and he goes to his grandmother, burst into tears, and confesses that he killed the duck. When he says that to his grandmother, his grandmother said, finally, you come to tell me.
She said, I was watching from the kitchen window and I saw the whole thing. I forgave you at that moment. I was just waiting on you to be honest with me about this, and because you would not be honest with me about this, you've lived in captivity to your sister who has told you to remember the duck when I had already forgotten it. When you understand that God has forgiven you, right, there's all these voices that keep saying, remember the duck, remember this, remember this, you say shut up. Like God has put that away, and because God has put that away, and because I'm a new creation in Christ, I don't have to live in captivity of my own conscience or captivity to you any longer. When you get the gospel, it changes all your horizontal relationships, because ultimately this is the one, this relationship is the one that controls them all.
You were listening to Summit Life and a message titled, No More Consciousness of Sins. Pastor J.D., the study of Hebrews has been so encouraging to me, and I'm sure our listeners would agree. It has been really helping me remain faithful in my walk with the Lord. Yeah, I appreciate you saying that, Molly. You know, Hebrews was written to people who needed a boost in their faith.
They really had the same struggles that we have today. How do I trust Christ when everything around me seems so challenging and difficult? The book of Hebrews gives us a very clear message, and that is don't give up trying. You know, one of the things we like to do here at Summit Life is to provide you with a practical resource that will take you deeper into the passages that we're studying. And so this newest Bible study that we've produced will do that with the book of Hebrews. Hebrews is one of the most rewarding books that you can study. This book of the Bible, Hebrews, shows us over and over again that Jesus and Jesus alone is worthy of our trust and our devotion.
He is the only true hero of our faith. This is a fun study that's going to include some interesting insights into the scripture, questions that will make you dig deep, not only into the scriptures, but also your own heart, and then some easy homework that you can do between sessions that will help you hear and understand the word so much better. Take a look at it today and reserve your copy at jdgrier.com. We'd love to get you this exclusive Summit Life Bible study right away.
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Call 866-335-5220 or give and request this new resource online at jdgrier.com. I'm Molly Vidovitch. Remember to tune in tomorrow when we'll talk about the difference between mere belief and saving faith. We'll see you right here Tuesday for Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
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