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Let me be very clear in opening this topic: We are talking about the “inner man” here. And this is the secret to this sense of utter “cleanness”.
Paul wrote about it in Romans – John too in 1 Jn 3. Much of Wesley’s powerful preaching revolved around this one issue. And Finney wrote about it this way: “I could not feel a sense of guilt or condemnation by any effort I could make. My sense of guilt was gone, my sins were gone, and I do not think I felt any more sense of guilt than if I never had sinned… I felt myself justified by faith, and, so far as I could see, I was in a state in which I did not sin.”
Wow! Shock! Are we saying that it is possible to live in a state in which there is no consciousness of “present sin” at all? Am I saying that this is actually “normal” Christianity? -Yes, that is exactly what I am saying.
“Normal” Christianity is this: Walking before God with a totally clean conscience and a pure heart – as our ‘normal’ state before Him. -Utterly clean. No STRIVING or “TRYING to be good”. This is clearly what the New Testament describes as normal. -Literally walking before God with “no consciousness of present sin”. Notice that Finney (above) refers to this as a state of “justification by faith”. And he is absolutely right. That is exactly what it is. It is as basic as that. Elemental Christianity.
The saddest thing of all is that we never hear it preached today. It is almost as though such a thing is too “lofty” – out of reach of the average church-goer. Or perhaps the preachers themselves do not believe it is possible to live in such a state. They do not experience it themselves, and therefore they do not preach it. How awful beyond words! How we are robbing people blind with the neglect of these basic truths! No wonder so few are getting truly saved.
I tell you, this is the basic Gospel we are talking about here. It is nothing less. Today we somehow think that we preach the ‘gospel’ simply by relating the facts of Jesus dying for our sins, rising again and offering salvation freely. Yes, these things are important. But what about becoming a “new creature” and walking in it? What about the fact that Jesus came to ‘TAKE AWAY’ our sins? What about a ‘new birth’ that utterly transforms us from the inside out? -That actually MAKES us clean and KEEPS us clean? Where is this basic stuff in our preaching? Where do we actually describe what happens inside a “truly saved” person?
We have so reduced the gospel today to make it more “convenient” that it is no gospel at all. And thus we have entire church-loads of people who are completely unsaved. They go down the front and pray the “little prayer”, then they spend the rest of their lives paying their tithes and “trying to be good”. This is what a lot of our Christianity amounts to. And it is all garbage. It is no “new birth” at all. Wesley would be rolling in his grave to see what we preach as the ‘new birth’ today.
Such was Wesley’s preaching of this “clean” state in his day (and Finney too) that both of them were accused of “perfectionism”. But I think that what a lot of people misunderstand is that it is the ‘INNER LIFE’ that we are talking about here. Yes, we are still attached to a “fallen” body – which sometimes stumbles – much as we hate it. Paul says, “Oh wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from the BODY of this death?” (Rom 7:24). But in the very next breath he answers: “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord…”
So it is not the ‘outer’ life, but the INNER one that we are speaking of here. (-Though the ‘outer’ will be affected, of course. We must walk in “NO KNOWN SIN”). It is Jesus who gives us robes of righteousness to WALK IN – in the “Inner Man”. That is what Romans chapters 5 – 8 are all about. That is what ‘justification by faith’ is all about: WALKING in a purified state inside. Pure white robes – given to us by God – for us to walk in and keep “unspotted”.
That is true Christianity: To walk before God with a totally clean conscience and a pure heart before Him. -No known sin. Anything less is no Christianity at all. It simply cannot be found in the New Testament. You are either a “new creation” and WALKING as a ‘new creation’ – or you are not. There is no room for a “half-way” house.
Today, we are no longer bringing people into this state with our preaching. And therefore I say to you – “WE HAVE LOST THE GOSPEL”. And when we lose the gospel, we lose Christianity itself.
Wesley spent much of his life preaching on this stuff. (Go and read his sermon “Marks of the New Birth” for instance. -One of the most convicting messages of all time). Little wonder that sometimes when he preached, thousands of people would be left on the ground under agonizing conviction. Little wonder too that after Finney preached, sometimes church-goers were in such shock that they could not speak or stand for days – they were so stricken. These were people who thought they were ‘saved’ but Finney had shown them that they were not – in the most direct and piercing way.
We say we want “apostolic preaching” and true “Revival” preachers. I don’t think we realize what we are asking for.-Such searching, direct, bold and convicting preaching as we have never heard in our lives.
In August 2003 God woke me up at 4:00 am one morning with a sudden insight into Finney’s preaching – how he would expose “false assurance”. God showed me that I had to start preaching that way too. From then on, every time I preached this message I began to notice a big increase in anointing and conviction. I have seen whole congregations of people come forward weeping and confessing sin. And I have noticed a similar impact when I preach on walking before God with a “pure heart and conscience” as our NORMAL STATE. But I’m convinced that there is a greater anointing yet unseen, waiting for us all in future days.
[If you want to hear these kinds of sermons, please download “Repentance in Kansas City” and “Are You Walking in Romans 8?” at our website-http://www.revivalschool.com ]
So are YOU experiencing this “clean state” today, my friends?
God bless you all.
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