Grace, Grace, God's Grace
With tension between good and evil and many climatic points, the book of John could be a movie script. Today, I want to look at John chapter eight, where a young woman was dragged through the city streets and placed before Jesus’ feet because she was caught in adultery. The Bible tells us her accusers caught her “in the act”, which is a very explicit explanation of her sin. I am sure the woman had heard of Jesus, may have even wanted to meet him, but not now, not under these horrific circumstances. She crouched half clothed before Jesus’ feet; her head was spinning with thoughts of her fate, as many were demanding she be stoned to fulfill the Law of Moses. Her criticizers pressed Jesus for an answer on what to do with the woman. If He held to stone her, He would not be the loving man who had been in the hillsides performing miracles, taking care of widows, and allowing children to come unto Him. However, if he did not stone her then they would argue He was not upholding the Law of Moses. In essence, the Pharisees felt this was a foolproof trap. Either side He chose would create a fall out, which would remove Jesus from the city.
The Pharisees kept pressing harder and harder for an answer. I love that Jesus did not react, He responded! What if you responded instead of reacted? In the very first verse it states “but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning He came again to the temple.” Before Jesus entered the day with anyone, He had already been alone with His Father. He was not shocked by this woman’s sin. He did not react with a condescending attitude or harsh words. So what does Jesus do? He simply bends down and starts writing on the ground. He then stands and speaks, “Let the one without sin cast the first stone”, then kneels and continues to write. Oh, how I would love to know what was written on the ground, although it doesn’t really matter in the big scheme of things. Some think He was writing out the sins of the Pharisees, which made them leave in fear of being exposed. Nonetheless, Jesus had to handle the situation with the woman. He knew the Law of Moses called for execution. He never denies she should be stoned according to the law. However, He knew the Pharisees were in no place to start casting stones because they were sinners themselves. One by one the accusers left the scene leaving only Jesus and the woman. I imagine the woman’s head is still low and maybe she doesn’t even realize her accusers have all gone. I can just visualize Jesus speaking softly to the woman, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” As she looks around astonished to see no one left to condemn her, she barely utters the word, “No.” He tenderly says, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” In this moment Jesus is speaking both truth and grace. The truth is the woman deserves to be stoned, but who is worthy to carry it out? On the other hand, He extends grace because He is without sin, but does not offer condemnation, but forgiveness of sin.
If you are reading this today in guilt and shame because you are the woman sitting at Jesus’ feet in active sin and you assume your sin is more than anyone’s around you, I have good news. Jesus came to this earth to die for sin. Never in the Bible does He give categories of sin because ANYTHING that keeps us from being holy and righteous before God is sin. Robert Madu gives this example:
“I was secretly judging my dad for having a triple chocolate cake, while I only had cheesecake with “healthy” strawberries on top. The Lord convicted me of this and said ‘Robert it doesn’t matter the content or flavor, its all still calories, which effects your body just the same.”
This is true with sin. Maybe you try to make yourself not as bad as someone else, or maybe worse, by comparing your sin to theirs, but the Bible declares sin as sin, all repulsive in the eyes of the Lord. The good news is the Gospel exclaims, “ Therefore there is no condemnation [no guilty verdict, no punishment] for those who are in Christ Jesus [who believe in Him as personal Lord and savior]. Amplified Romans 8:1. Although this scene seems tragic in the beginning, it is life changing for this woman. She was humiliated, mortified, and alienated but, praise God, at the feet of Jesus she left clean, whole, and sanctified. That should make you want to get up and shout Hallelujah because scripture says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. The beauty of the gospel is you can come just as you are, and He will love, accept, and make you who He created you to be.
If you are reading this and you have experienced God’s gift of salvation, but think he could never use you because of your past, I am here to tell you sister, He will use you in spite of your past. I love how Priscillia Shirer talks about salvation:
Receiving salvation is not the same as applying salvation. Having something does not ensure that the recipient will experience the benefits that only using it can yield. Not only will salvation save our future it ensures a presence in our daily life from the attacks of the enemy. It enables you to lead whole, healthy lives not fractured by the enemy’s deceptive strategies.”
Jesus did not just come to save you from hell, but to have a relationship with you. John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Jesus wants you to release your fears, doubts, and insecurity to Him. In His hands He will make you more than enough to carry out the will of the Father. Ladies, stop trying to pay the price your Savior already paid. On the cross He cried out, “It is finished!” These are words for us because He was saying; I have now paid the ultimate price for every person’s sin, and dear one that means you!
If you find yourself as an accuser lay it down before Christ. Do you want to be right so badly, as the Pharisees did, that you would sacrifice someone else to do it? Is winning every argument with your spouse so important that you will lose the one you say you love? Is being right in a friendship worth not having a friend? When we win an argument, but lose the person, we have truly lost in the end.
“Grace without truth is meaningless. Truth without grace crushes. Grace and truth is medicine for the soul.” Robert Madu
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9