“Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins.” (Hebrews 9:14 NLT).
The New Covenant ratified and sealed with the blood of Jesus is infinitely superior to the Old Covenant ratified and sealed with the blood of bulls and goats in that it offers and provides righteousness for men as a gift from God.
The righteousness that men under the Old Covenant pursued by the works of the law but could not attain is now available to all men as a gift to be received purely by faith in Christ and His finished work. This is why it is called “the righteousness of faith.”
Apostle Paul explains this truth in Romans 9:
30 What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith;
31 but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness.
32 Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone. (NKJV).
There are two kinds of righteousness that men can have. There is righteousness of men and there is righteousness of God. These two kinds of righteousness are mutually exclusive; you cannot lay claim to both at the same time. It is either you hold fast to your self-righteousness or you renounce it and embrace God’s righteousness as a gift by faith in Christ.
Apostle Paul said concerning the religious Jews in Romans 10:
1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.
2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.
3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.
4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. (NKJV).
Man or self-righteousness is purely based on man’s performance or works of the law. This is an imperfect righteousness; for no man can keep the whole law completely and continuously without stumbling in one point all through his life. No man has ever done that except God-Man, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Bible describes our human or self-righteousness as “a filthy rag” in God’s sight (Isa. 64:6).
On the contrary, the righteousness of God is apart from the Law or independently of the Law. It is not based on man’s performance, good works, or keeping the requirements of the Mosaic Law. It is purely a gift from God and can only be received by faith in Christ and His finished work.
You cannot have, keep or hold fast to God’s righteousness while still having, keeping or holding fast to your own righteousness. It is absolutely impossible to have and keep both!
Apostle Paul explains the righteousness of God in Romans 3:
19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,
22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference;
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (NKJV).
It is the earnest desire of Apostle Paul to be found in Christ, not having and holding unto his own righteousness, but having and holding fast to the righteousness of God which is apart from his works. This should also be the earnest desire of every child of God today!
Paul puts it this way in Philippians 3:
8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ
9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith. (NKJV).
Having the righteousness of God imputed or bestowed on us independently of our performance, actions or works is undoubtedly one of the huge blessings or benefits of the New Covenant in the blood of Jesus Christ.
Sadly, many believers today are not appropriating and enjoying this great blessing because they remain sin-conscious instead of being righteousness-conscious in their walk with God.
The blood of bulls and goats associated with the Old Covenant can only purify the bodies of the worshippers; it cannot however cleanse their minds and consciences from sin. Therefore, the Old Covenant people were not entirely free from guilt and condemnation of sin.
The saints under the Old Covenant still had the consciousness of sin in spite of all their sacrifices and rituals for cleansing. Their sins were only covered under the blood of bulls and goats, but not totally blotted out and so there was a remembrance of sins every year.
The writer of Hebrew explains this truth in Hebrews 10:
1 For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect.
2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins.
3 But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year.
4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins. (NKJV).
However, under the New Covenant, there is no longer a daily or yearly remembrance or reminder of sins of the believers in God’s sight. Unlike the blood of bulls and goats of the Old Covenant, the blood of Jesus purifies or cleanses our minds and consciences from sins, blots out all our sins, and obtains eternal redemption for us. Praise to Jesus!
The Scripture states in Hebrews 9:
13 Under the old system, the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer could cleanse people’s bodies from ceremonial impurity.
14 Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. (NLT).
Under the New Covenant, God has sworn not to remember or keep the records of the sins of the believers forgiven and cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ.
God said, “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” (Heb 8:12 NKJV).
Although God does not remember or keep the record of sins of the born-again believers in Christ, sadly, many believers are still stuck in sin-consciousness, keeping a personal record of their sins, thereby always remembering, recollecting, or recalling their past sins. Consequently, they remain under condemnation and bondage of sin.
Having sin-consciousness is Satan’s trap to hold you under condemnation and keep you from enjoying total freedom from sin. You cannot overcome sin by being sin-conscious or sin-focused. You can only walk in daily victory over sin by reckoning or considering yourself dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus (Rom. 6:11).
Likewise, you cannot enjoy intimate and loving relationship with the Holy God with a mind that is stayed on sin. You cannot worship God in spirit and truth with a conscience and mind that is not purged from consciousness of sin.
You cannot appropriate, possess and enjoy all the blessings and benefits of the New Covenant with sin-consciousness. This is why the devil wants your mind stayed on your sins!
Beloved, it is not God but the devil who constantly reminds you of your sins, sets your sins before you, and focuses your mind or attention on your sins, thereby getting you stuck in sin-consciousness.
God would have you remember always that your sins (past, present and future) have been completely forgiven and blotted out, and that you are now “the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.” (2 Cor. 5:21).
Therefore, rise up today to purge your conscience and mind from sin-consciousness by understanding, believing, confessing, appropriating, and focusing on who you are now in Christ in God’s sight – “holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight.” (Col. 1:22 NKJV).
How can you escape the trap of sin-consciousness?
What are the blessings of possessing righteousness-consciousness?
Find out in the second part of this piece!
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of righteousness You have graciously bestowed on me in Christ. Dear Holy Spirit, teach me how to walk daily in righteousness-consciousness, in Jesus’ name. Amen.