Judica (Lent 5)
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Delivered By
Pr. Mark D. Lovett
Delivered On
March 17, 2013


In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.

The blood of Christ purifies your conscience from dead works to serve the living God (Heb. 9:11-15).

The book of Leviticus, the book of the Law, is nearly all about how a person becomes unclean and clean. Some of uncleanliness is caused by sickness or natural functions of the body. Other uncleanliness is caused by touching an unclean thing, like a leper or dead body. But whether the uncleanliness was of inescapable natural reasons or was the result of outward events, the unclean person was still unclean. They needed to be cleansed. Why did they need to be cleansed? Because an unclean person could not, was forbidden from entering the temple and participating in the service of God. An unclean person was cut off from God and from the people of God.

So an unclean person must be made clean. And there is only one way to be cleansed in the book of the Law: blood and priests. Sacrifice must be made and a priest must declare you clean. Nothing else will do. There’s no other way. The only way to God is to be sprinkled with the blood of the sacrifice and to be declared clean by the priest.

That is still the only way to God. You must be sprinkled with the blood of the sacrifice and declared clean by the priest. Only the sacrificial blood with which you are sprinkled is not the blood of goats or bulls, but of Jesus, the Son of God. And the priest that declares you clean is not a descendant of Levi and neither is he priest according to the making of men. The Priest that declares you clean is the High Priest, Jesus, ordained and anointed by God the Father to be the High Priest forever.

How do you know you have been sprinkled with the blood of Jesus? Because the gospel is preached to you and because you have been baptized. The apostles directly link baptism to the blood of Jesus in several places and in several ways so that just as the bread and wine are the very body and blood of Jesus for you, so the water is the blood of the sacrifice that cleanses not merely your body, but your conscience. As the apostle John writes, “Jesus Christ came by water and the blood, not by water only but by water and the blood” (1 Jn. 5:6), and the apostle Peter writes, “Baptism – corresponding to Noah’s flood – now saves you; not by the removal of dirt, but by an appeal to a clean conscience before God through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Pt. 3:21). So here we read in Hebrews that we are sprinkled with the blood of Jesus to purify our conscience.

And why do we need a pure conscience? Because a defiled conscience cannot enter the presence of God. It is unclean. A sacrifice is needed. Blood is needed. A priest is needed. They are needed so that you can enter the presence of God and service Him in His temple. So Jesus is the sacrifice and He is Himself the Priest. He sprinkles you with His own blood to purify your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

But what does that mean, to purify your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? Well just as under the old testament a person became unclean by both what was inside and what they came into contact with, so we are unclean by both what is inside and what we come in contact with. Dead works are those works we do by which we cannot enter eternal life. Dead works are those works done in sin and sinfulness. Dead works are what we by our sinful nature do. From these dead works we must be cleansed.

+ In Nomine Iesu +