(Originally posted on the Bibles for America Blog)
Since we can’t lose our salvation, some might wonder if this means it doesn’t matter how we live after we’re saved. Are we free to do whatever we want? After all, nothing can change our salvation.
It’s important to know that being saved eternally doesn’t give us license to disobey God or sin freely. In fact, when a believer commits a sin, it results in three huge problems that involve three parties: God, ourselves, and Satan. Let’s look at these problems and the unique solution to each one: the blood of Jesus.
1. Separated from God
Isaiah 59:1-2 tells us what happens when we sin:
“No, Jehovah’s hand is not so short that it cannot save; nor is His ear so heavy that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have become a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.”
Our sins separate us from God, since He is holy and absolutely righteous in every detail. It doesn’t take committing a serious crime to separate us from God. Even telling a little lie can cause us to lose the enjoyment of His presence.
How can we get rid of this separation? Do we give it some time to somehow resolve on its own? Do we promise to do better in the future? Does waiting take care of the problem? No. Only the blood of Jesus can take away the sin that separates us from God.
Let’s read what 1 John 1:7-9 says:
“But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from every sin. If we say that we do not have sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Because of the blood of Jesus, we can be forgiven of our sins, and the separation between us and God is removed.
But notice that for us to be forgiven, something is first required of us: we must confess our sins to God. When we confess, He is faithful to forgive us.
Sometimes after we confess, we may not feel forgiven. But how we feel doesn’t determine whether we’re actually forgiven. The fact is that if we’ve confessed our sins to God, we are forgiven and cleansed. The blood of Jesus satisfies God. According to God’s own word, when we confess our sins to Him, we’re forgiven and have the right to come boldly into God’s presence. The separation is removed, and we can enjoy fellowship with Him again.
2. Guilt in our conscience
Another huge problem created by sin is the guilt we feel inwardly. God is satisfied with the blood of Jesus as payment for our sins, but we may be plagued by guilt. This is because when we commit a sin, that sin leaves a stain on our conscience. On God’s side we’re forgiven, but on our side sin has left a stain. The feeling of guilt comes from our stained conscience.
The stain of sin on our conscience is serious, and no cleaning agent on earth is powerful enough to obliterate it. However, Hebrews 9:14 shows us the unique “stain remover” for our conscience:
“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?”
The same blood that allows God to forgive us also purges our conscience of the stain of sin. We’re both forgiven and cleansed by the blood of Jesus.
To help illustrate, let’s say we’re issued a ticket for violating a traffic law. A record of the violation goes to the court (God), and a copy goes to us (our conscience). The court needs payment for the ticket. When we confess our sin to God, He regards the blood of Jesus as complete payment for our “ticket,” so He forgives us and removes our “ticket” from His record. We, however, may still have a lingering sense of guilt when we look at our copy of the “ticket.”
We have to remember what 1 John 1:9 says: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” On God’s side, He forgives, and on our side, we’re cleansed. This cleansing removes the stain of sin from our conscience.
If a feeling of guilt remains after we confess our sins, we should simply claim the power of the blood of Jesus by faith. We can pray, “Thank You, Lord Jesus, by Your blood I’m forgiven and cleansed. Lord, Your Word says that Your blood even purifies my conscience!” The more we thank the Lord this way, the more we’re assured that our conscience is cleansed.
3. Accused by Satan
After we’ve confessed our sins, received God’s forgiveness, and had our conscience cleansed by the blood of Christ, we may encounter another problem: some lingering inward accusation regarding our sins. This inner accusation can become like a gigantic cloud over our heads, robbing us of all peace as we continue to blame ourselves for what we’ve done.
What should we do? Should we confess our sin again, this time more earnestly? That doesn’t work. No matter how many times we confess the same sin to God, the accusations just won’t go away.
To be freed from these accusations, it’s important to see where they come from. Are they from God? No. God forgave us when we confessed. Then are they from our conscience? No. The blood of Jesus purified our sin-stained conscience. These accusations come from Satan.
This shouldn’t surprise us. In fact, in Revelation 12:10 Satan is called “the accuser of [the] brothers.” He spends all his time accusing the Lord’s believers day and night. His goal is to weaken and even paralyse us. He wants to cheat us of our enjoyment of God’s presence. If we accept his accusations, our fellowship with God will be hindered, and we’ll suffer great loss in our spiritual life.
But Revelation 12:11 tells us what answers these accusations from Satan:
“And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb.”
We need to confess our sins to the Lord to be forgiven and have our conscience cleansed from the stain of sin. But after that, if we’re hounded by accusations, we must take further action. We have to say “NO!” to Satan’s accusations and declare the full effectiveness of the blood of Jesus. We have to point Satan, the one who accuses us, to the blood of the Lamb.
Don’t succumb to Satan’s accusations. When he accuses us, we can declare, “Satan, I reject your accusations. Look at the blood of Jesus. God is satisfied by Christ’s redeeming blood, my conscience is purified with His cleansing blood, and you’re defeated by His overcoming blood!”
Experiencing the blood of Jesus
By believing in and experiencing the blood of Jesus, our whole Christian walk will change. We don’t have to remain separated from God, burdened by guilt, or tormented by Satan’s accusations. When we sin, we must confess our sins, believe we’re forgiven and cleansed, and even declare that we’ve been forgiven and cleansed by the blood of Jesus. The blood of Christ is truly precious!
This hymn by Watchman Nee expresses how effective Christ’s blood can be to us in our experience (you can hear the tune here):
Why should I worry, doubt and fear?
Has God not caused His Son to bear
My sins upon the tree?
The debt that Christ for me has paid,
Would God another mind have made
To claim again from me?
Redemption full the Lord has made,
And all my debts has fully paid,
From law to set me free.
I fear not for the wrath of God,
For I’ve been sprinkled with His blood,
It wholly covers me.
For me forgiveness He has gained,
And full acquittal was obtained,
All debts of sin are paid;
God would not have His claim on two,
First on His Son, my Surety true,
And then upon me laid.
So now I have full peace and rest,
My Savior Christ hath done the best
And set me wholly free;
By His all-efficacious blood
I ne’er could be condemned by God,
For He has died for me!