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Spirit cleanses our conscience by appeal to the blood of Jesus

“How much more shall the blood of Christ . . . cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” Hebrews 9:14

The question of how the blood of Christ cleanses our conscience cannot be resolved in literal terms. Can we imagine some onlooker at Calvary stepping forward and taking a little of the blood of Jesus, touching it upon his body as was done symbolically with the Jewish offerings and so finding his conscience cleansed? No. For us, the Holy Spirit deals not with symbols but with spiritual realities.

When the Spirit cleanses our conscience by appeal to the blood of Jesus, he is applying to us the reality of the Lord’s death on the cross. Those who only live in the realm of symbols and forms and rituals will find themselves bound by conscience to dead works. The Spirit is life. He it is who works on the basis of the spiritual reality of the shed blood to guide into a new and real relationship with the living God.

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