Consciousness And Conscience –w.j.hocking

We are not to confound “consciousness of sins with “conscience of sins.” The worshipper once purged has no more conscience of sins in the presence of the Father (Heb 10:2). He knows that if He would impute to him even one single sin, it would involve nothing less than judgment and condemnation. But he knows also that the Father has imputed all his sins to the Lord Jesus in judgment on the Cross and that He therefore neither can, nor will, impute them again to us. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:11). He has therefore nor more conscience, i.e., consciousness of guilt before God as Judge.

Due to his purged conscience, with “no more conscience of sins”, the believer no longer dreads of the light of his Father’s holy presence, which penetrates and lays bare everything. But he loves it (if he walks sincerely, though in conscious weakness before Him) and desires that this light, formerly so dreaded and rightly so, should shine into every corner of his inner man and discover there everything contrary to that light of God’s holiness and grace, in order that he may not only discover, but at once judge it in his Father’s presence.

It is just because such a worshiper “once purged” has peace with God and “no more conscience of sins” and no longer dreads the light of His presence when approaching Him, that he has an all the more humbling and deeper consciousness of his own sinfulness and of every sin, by which he might have been overtaken for want of watchfulness and prayer. For the same light, which instead of fearing it, he now invites to shine into every secret recess and there to lay bare everything inconsistent with it, that it may be judged and put away.

This light in the presence of the Father, in all searching and manifesting power, keeps him constantly in the humbling consciousness of his own sinfulness and weakness and entire dependence upon the abundant grace of God in the Lord Jesus Christ, without whom “we can do nothing” but through whom we “can do all things.” At the same time the consciousness of that grace strengthens his heart and fills it with joyful gratitude towards his Father.

Thus our being conscious of our sinfulness and failures has nothing whatever to do with a perfect conscience, once for all purged (Heb 10:10) in the presence of the Father by the Blood of the Lord Jesus; nor with our relationship to our Father, which rests upon the divinely solid basis of the work of the Lord Jesus; nor with our position before our Father, which is inseparably connected with the life of the Lord Jesus (2 Cor 4:10). The confounding of these two truths, the consciousness of sin in ourselves and conscience of sins before our Father, tends to keep so many believers at a fearful distance from Him, instead of following His gracious invitation (even command) to “draw near to Him with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience” (Heb 10:22).

But he is also able to say, “Not a cloud above.” Even the smallest shadow of a cloud of judgment has disappeared and the sun of the Father’s grace and favor now shines on us in full splendor. As we have found peace with the Father through our Lord Jesus Christ, by Him as our life we have also access to the Father – unimpeded access to the divine favor. By the Lord Jesus we are just as welcome in our Father’s presence as His own Beloved Son Himself, for we are “accepted in the Beloved” (Eph 1:6).