When the believer’s faith has grown to know that Christ’s redemption clears him of all of sin’s guilt concerning his entire earthly life, then and only then can the peace of God, according to His provision for the believer, be fully entered into.
First, an example of what a believer constitutes should be established. The primary confirmation concerning our relationship with God is the rapport we have with the Holy Spirit, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God,” and “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Rom. 8:14, 16).
The difference between forgiveness in the prior dispensation and the present is that of being “born again,” a condition which was not made available until Christ. Rebirth into “Christ, who is our life” (Col. 3:4), now provides the believer with the addition of a “new man” or new nature, through which (Eph. 3:16) the Spirit of God opposes our “old man” or original nature (Gal. 5:17), thus by the Spirit-new man work in us, we no longer perform willful sins, with the added advantage of our “old man” being restrained from having “dominion” (Rom. 6:14) over us.
It is this work of the Spirit of God which He manifests to and by the life of the believer as He “conforms” (Rom. 8:29; 2 Cor. 3:18) him, and as this process progresses, this becomes more manifest to the believer and to others. The resulting condition is that the majority of the believer’s life involves godliness, which will continue to progress, along with the awareness of a continued decrease (not a cessation) in the manifestation of the “indwelling” sin nature.
Understanding which does not allow for a completely clear conscience of sin’s guilt (upon rebirth) evinces insufficient learning concerning “no more conscience of sins” (Heb. 10:2). The understanding which is lacking concerning the guiltless condition of the believer within Soteriology will be individually resolved by the Spirit’s teaching of His Word (1 Cor. 2:13), for “they that seek the LORD understand all things“ (e.g. concerning all things necessary for salvation – Prov. 28:5).
Perfect Peace - by W. J. Hocking
As to our past, we have peace with God (Rom. 5:1). All our past (that is, everything connected with the old man, not only the sins committed by us, but also sin which is in us, that is, all that we are by nature) has been dealt with, “put away” (Heb. 9:26) in condemnation (Rom. 8:3) and settled as to every believer. The result is: perfect unbroken peace with the Father.
As to the present: Jesus Christ, through whom we have peace with our Father, has also, as being “our life,” opened up for us an access to God’s blessed presence in the unclothed sunshine of His favor. As the dying believer triumphantly exclaimed, “Not a spot within, not a cloud above.” “Yes, such cases there are indeed,” I hear some readers of the old school say, “on the death-bed of some pious Christians, where God in His mercy grants them such a peaceful cloudless sunset after many struggles and earnest wrestling in prayer. But as for me, I have not yet attained to being able to say, ‘Not a spot within, not a cloud above.’”
To such I can only say, the difference between us, dear friend, is just this: you are speaking of the sunset, and I of the sunrise. You have been taught to look at that unbroken peace with God and the unclouded sunshine connected therewith, as being the goal of a Christian’s course of life, whilst I, and I trust many of the dear Christian readers of this page, have learnt, through the grace of God and from His own Word, to look at it as the starting point of our Christian life.
In the very first verse of Romans Five we find this unbroken peace with God. Everyone who simply believes what is written in the Word of God, that “the Blood of His Son Jesus Christ cleanses from all sin,” and that those who thus worship God have no more conscience of sins, and therefore, liberty “to enter into the Holiest through the Blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He has consecrated through the veil, that is to say, His flesh” (Heb. 10:19, 20), is enabled already now to chime in with the triumphal strain of that dying Christian man: “Not a spot within, not a cloud above.”
Many souls confound “no more conscience of sins” with consciousness of sins, and thus are kept in a constant state of uncertainty. Only the true Christian worshiper can draw nigh into God’s thrice holy presence with a perfect conscience, i.e., a conscience which has been thoroughly purged through the Blood of Jesus Christ. What then does it mean to have “no more conscience of sins” (Heb. 10:2)? It simply means that the conscience of the worshiper who approaches God has been so thoroughly purged, that is, made perfect through the precious Blood of Jesus Christ which “cleanses from all sin” (1 John 1:7) that he, in drawing neigh, can appear there without any consciousness of guilt upon him—yea, justified, fearless, and with holy boldness and perfect confidence and liberty.
For he knows that the perfect light of God’s holy presence, which would expose the smallest speck of stain, makes manifest the precious Blood sprinkled (Heb. 9:13; 11:28; 12:24; 1 Pet. 1:2) on the mercy-seat in the sight of God, who looks at the Blood, and not at the sin that has been put away by the Blood. It was sprinkled before the mercy-seat in the sight of the approaching worshiper, as a proof that God will “no more remember his sins and transgressions.” Thus the worshiper can appear and stand before his Father with a purged conscience without any sense of guilt, that is, with a perfect conscience.
The Christian life is not our living a life like Christ, or our trying to be Christ-like, nor is it Christ giving us the power to live a life like His; but it is Christ Himself living His own life through us; 'no longer I, but Christ. -MJS