That which I am about to address is the claim that believers, once saved, are to have no more consciousness of sins. This certainly can be true if held within the proper context. When held in the wrong context, it can lead people into spiritual error.
Below, I would like to address this doctrine (no more sin consciousness) by addressing the following points:
1. The proper context
2. The wrong context
3. The scriptures which are misunderstood
4. The failure of this doctrine when cross examined with other scriptures.
1. THE PROPER CONTEXT
First, allow me to address the proper context. It is absolutely true that we are set free from the guilt of sin in our conscience when we are cleansed by the blood of Jesus.
When we commit sin and repent, the blood of Jesus purifies our conscience and cleanses us from all unrighteousness.
This is the correct context.
2. THE WRONG CONTEXT
Now, the wrong context states that a believer should no longer be conscience of sin because all of his sins have been permanently dealt with.
This is dangerous doctrine because a saved person who happens to fall into sin, such as pornography, is going to experience guilt. Such guilt is the voice of his conscience, and guilt will not be taken away until he has repented and been cleansed from this sin by the blood of Jesus.
Teaching Christians that any consciousness of sin is something to be shunned, is actually teaching them to override the voice of their conscience when they are in sin.
In the book of Hebrews, the author of Hebrews tells us the following:
Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, THEY DO ALWAYS ERR IN THEIR HEART; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.) TAKE HEED BRETHREN, LEST THERE BE IN ANY OF YOU AN EVIL HEART OF UNBELIEF, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; LEST ANY OF YOU BE HARDENED THROUGH THE DECEITFULNESS OF SIN. ~ Hebrews 3:8-13
Notice that the author of Hebrews warns believers to “take heed” so as not to allow an evil heart of unbelief and to not be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
Also, the apostle John says the following:
And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, THEN have we confidence toward God. ~ 1 John 3: 19-21
Whenever anyone teaches that as believers we should never be conscience of sin, they are actually teaching people to drown out the voice of their own conscience in their heart which is alerting them to sin in their lives.
If we have dealt with a particular sin, and have been cleansed, the precious blood of Jesus will purify our conscience and remove the guilt, but if there is unrepentant sin in our life, our hearts will condemn us before God, because we need to deal with the sin in our life.
3. MISUNDERSTANDING THE SCRIPTURES
Confusion arises in this area because of a misunderstanding of the “once for all” references in the book of Hebrews.
Bear with me while I address this.
The author of Hebrews places emphasis on THE FINISHED WORK OF CHRIST and refers to it as ONCE FOR ALL.
This does not mean that those who have been saved can’t err from the truth and be entangled again in sin? Otherwise, the book of Hebrews would contradict its own exhortations.
Contextually, the putting away of sins, and the once for all references in Hebrews, has to do with the superiority of the New Covenant in contrast to the Old, and the permanency of the finished work of Christ in contrast to the imperfect atonement under the Law which was merely as shadow of things to come.
Notice the following from Hebrews 7:
Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing HE EVER LIVETH to make intercession for them. For such a high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners and made higher than the heavens; Who NEEDETH NOT DAILY, as those high priests, TO OFFER UP SACRIFICE, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for THIS HE DID ONCE, when he offered up himself. For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is CONSECRATED FOR EVERMORE. ~ Hebrews 7:25-28
Notice also, the following from Hebrews 10:
By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ ONCE FOR ALL. And every priest STANDETH DAILY ministering and OFFERING OFTENTIMES the same sacrifices, which CAN NEVER TAKE AWAY SINS: But this man, after he had offered ONE SACRIFICE FOR SINS FOREVER, sat down on the right hand of God. ~ Hebrews 10:10-12
The blood of animals could not purify man’s conscience in the sight of God and those offerings were not sufficient to provide lasting atonement for all sin, therefore atonement had to be made annually for the nation and daily for individuals. Furthermore, those sacrifices could not take away sin and cleanse the conscience from guilt.
Jesus’ sacrifice, however, provided atonement once and for all. His sacrifice is perfect and avails forever.
Christ’s sacrifice being “once for all” does not mean that God can’t see our sins. It does not mean that we do not need to repent when we know we have sinned. Nor does it mean that we will not be conscience of sin when we knowingly sin.
It simply means that there is no longer any need for any more offerings for sins. Jesus’ sacrifice was offered once and for all, and his blood will cleanse us and keep on cleaning us when we sin, if we continue in faith towards Christ.
Jesus is a priest forever after the order of Melchisedek (both priest and King, seated at the right hand of the Majesty on High). There will never, ever, be the need for another sacrifice or another priest. In fact, the Book of Hebrews tells us that if we go on sinning (living in sin and rejecting Jesus) after we have received the knowledge of the truth there is no more offering for sins.
Jesus’ ministry as our priest is unlike those who were ordained under the Law, “He does not need to offer sacrifices every day. They did this first for their own sins and then for the sins of the people. But Jesus did this ONCE FOR ALL when he offered himself as the sacrifice for our sins (Hebrews 7:27).
It is the blood that cleanses our conscience from sin, and not a mindset of not having a sin consciousness.
The “once for all” references have to do with the “provision” for the cleaning of our sins, and not a reference that once we have been cleansed, we are permanently holy no matter what we do or how we live. The provision has been made to sanctify us, and it has been made “once for all!” Yet, we must guard against the deceitfulness of sins and not harden our hearts against God.
4. A CROSS EXAMINATION
Finally, when we cross-examine the belief that all future sins are already forgiven, and God can’t see our sins, and that we should never address sin because we are to have no more consciousness of sin, we find that such ideology fails miserably.
In 1 Corinthians 5:1-2, the apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit confronted the Corinthians for the sin of fornication in their midst.
It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife. And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. ~1 Corinthians 5:1-2
If Paul inspired by the Spirit of God, reprimanded the Corinthians regarding this sin, God obviously knew about their sin.
In 2 Corinthians 7, Paul says the following to them:
For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season. Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow works repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world works death. For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter. ~ 2 Corinthians 7:8-11
According to the Bible, God saw the sin of fornication which the Corinthians were allowing in their midst, and after Paul rebuked them they repented.
Though they repented, Paul was still concerned about the lack of repentance of some among the Corinthian believers, for they had allowed false teachers (specifically, false apostles) to influence them with another gospel. Paul says the following in chapter 12 within context of the Corinthians tolerating false apostles.
20 For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults:
21 And lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and that I shall bewail many which have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness which they have committed. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:20-21
Those who teach that God does not see your sins after you are saved because all future sins are already forgiven, and that you should never be conscience of sin, are teaching error, and bordering on the lines of being false teachers. Some have already crossed that line.
Did God see the sin of Corinthian believers? Absolutely! And he can see mine and your’s too.
Our conscience is cleansed by the blood of Jesus, but when we sin we should repent and the blood will cleanse us again and purify our hearts before God!