So often the full doctrine of redemption is not known by Christians. Forgiveness is looked at as forgiveness of so many past sins, up until conversion. This was really Jewish forgiveness, which is contrasted in Scripture with Christian forgiveness. Hebrews 9 and 10 compares the two. Hebrews 9:12 tells me that I have an eternal redemption. Many Christians cannot tell you what it is to have no more conscience of sins, or even of the blessedness of the man to whom the Lord imputes no sin.

When I sin there is an interruption of communion; the Spirit’s service is to bring it to my attention, so that I can confess it and communion with the Lord be restored, but when I have believed in Christ’s work, there is no more imputation of sin, I am perfected as to conscience. We have boldness to enter into the holiest – the presence of God – by the blood of Jesus. He who bore our sins, and put them away long ago, is there. We must not mix up the Spirit’s work, that makes me acknowledge my failure, and the work of Christ, finished and effectual, once and forever. He bore my sins long before I had committed one of them. If forgiveness, in the sense of imputation, has to be obtained now, it would be impossible, for as the writer to the Hebrews says: “For then he [Christ] must often have suffered from the foundation of the world”. But Christ has obtained an eternal redemption, and “He, having offered one sacrifice for sins, sat down in perpetuity at the right hand of God … For by one offering he has perfected in perpetuity the sanctified”, Hebrews 10:12-14. So the work completed, and he who is sanctified perfected for ever, the worshipper once purged has no more conscience of sins, and Christ is sitting down at the right hand of God because the work is finished. [The Jewish priests stood to serve.]

The Lord told Peter that he that is washed all over needs not to wash, save his feet, John 13:10. The blood shed is for my guilt, to wash that away. The washing by the water of the word is to draw my attention to failure, so that I can acknowledge it and communion with the Lord be restored. There is no fresh application of the blood. Of course there may be a deeper appreciation of the work and person of Christ as a result of failure and restoration.
MM April 2008