Sin, of course, is our primary problem. We need to apply the blood of the sin sacrifice of Jesus through confession to be forgiven.
1 John 1:7-9
7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
When sin crops up in our lives (and it will), we don’t need to deny it or hide it. We need to bring it out into the light of the Son by confessing it. When we ask the Father to forgive our sins for Christ’s sake, He is faithful and just to forgive us of all unrighteousness. Once the sin sacrifice has been offered, we need to proceed to the burnt offering, consecrating ourselves to God.
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
It is our bodies that we are to offer up as living sacrifices. This is the language of the burnt offering. How is this consecration walked out? We are to be transformed through the renewing of our minds to the will of God. Consecrated saints aren’t to be crushed into the conforming mold of the world. Because He offered up His body for us, we are to sanctify our bodies to Him. This is true repentance—a walking away from our sin to run steadfastly after Him.
A life lived in service to the Lord should be a life filled with joy. At whatever point it becomes drudgery, we should examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith. If we have lost the joy of service, we need to consider that we have probably lost sight of Who we are serving and why. Works without love and service without joy bring reproof and bondage. “I know your works, but hold this against you: you have lost your first love,” Jesus told the Ephesian church. “Repent and do the things you did at first or I’ll come and remove the church.” Jesus has no interest in works done without love for Him or His people.
47 Because thou servedst not the Lord thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things;
48 Therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the Lord shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until he have destroyed thee.
If we accept the Lord’s forgiveness and commit our lives to Him but fail to follow through with thankfulness for all He has done, we will fall into works without love and service without joyfulness. These bring death and bondage to our lives and our churches. As New Testament priests, we need to continually offer up the sacrifice of praise, our peace offering, in order to avoid this trap.
15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
16 But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
It is after offering up the sacrifices of praise, our peace offering of thanksgiving, that we are to move forward to the works of doing good and communicating with others. The Greek word translated “communicate” in verse 16 is koinonea. It means a full sharing. This word is used of giving offerings to the poor. We also find it at the “communion” table of the Lord. Thank offerings and communion are synonymous with the peace offering. This is our final, liberating step away from the sin and guilt that stains our consciences. We have confessed our sin, we have consecrated ourselves, and we have communed with God in praise and thanksgiving. Now we can communicate with our fellowman in the power of the Holy Spirit by the blood of Jesus Christ.
That is the full process of gaining a blood-cleansed conscience—the confession of sin in the sin sacrifice, the consecration of our bodies in the burnt offering, and communion with God in praise and thanksgiving while we reach out to do good for our fellowman in the peace offering. Isn’t that good? Isn’t that wonderful to know? We can be free! We can walk free! And wherever we are not free from sin and worldly guilt, we need to ask ourselves, “Do I have any unconfessed sins? Have I dedicated my body to the Lord? Have I been giving thanks to Him? Am I helping anybody else get out of this, get beyond this, get through this, get past this? Am I doing a full measure of application, both of gifts and sacrifices, of the accomplished work of Jesus Christ?” If we don’t do this—if we don’t go through the full process—we will frustrate the grace of God in our lives. We need to live by faith in what He has done and appropriate the full measure of all His offerings.