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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Freedom From Condemnation

John 8: 2 - 11, Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, "Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?" This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first." And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, "Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?" She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said to her, "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more." NKJV
This story of the woman who was caught in the act of adultery is an illustration of God’s mercy and grace. Only God can take a horrible situation and bring good out of it. We can see the redemptive power of God’s love illustrated throughout both the Old and New Testaments. The Bible allows us to witness how God redeemed many people from their old lifestyles and made them into new creatures in Christ for His glory. We sometimes get overwhelmed when Satan attacks our lives, but if we will turn to the Lord and place our trust in Him, He will begin the same redemptive process in us. Do you have a story of redemption in your life?
We are accustomed to living under condemnation because of sin. Therefore, it can be very easy to condemn others when they fall into sin; while at the same time, we demand mercy from God when we fall prey to Satan’s seductive lies. Through the story today, we can see how Jesus brought mercy and balance to a situation that had neither.
Too many times we make this account all about the woman’s sin. Nevertheless, Jesus seemed to be more focused on the sin of the men who wanted to stone her. Why didn’t Jesus agree with the men and condone her stoning? After all, they were just carrying out the requirements of the law? If you read the gospel of John, you will see that when Jesus came to earth, He was full of truth and grace. In John 3, Jesus said that He came into the world to save the lost; He did not come to condemn us. Therefore, the bigger story contained within the lines of “her” story was about God’s grace and not His law.
Even though the attention of the would-be-stoners was on the woman, Jesus’ attention was on the sin that was in their hearts. This tells us that Jesus sought to expose and destroy the voice of condemnation in this woman’s life so that He could later address the issue of sin in her heart. You see, Jesus confronted and defeated the voice of condemnation that once held the world in bondage to fear. When Jesus gave His life upon the cross, it made the way for God and man to reconcile. Does this mean that God doesn’t care if we continue in sin since He didn’t send Christ into the world to condemn the world? Absolutely not! We were already under condemnation from our own sins and were on the road to eternal damnation. Even so, God opened the way for us to choose life and not death through His grace.
God’s grace doesn’t require you to die for your past sins, neither does grace require you to go to hell and pay for them. Grace does require that we make Jesus the Lord of our lives after we have received forgiveness from God for our sins. So the purpose of Jesus confronting the men’s hearts before He confronted the woman’s heart was to show us how we must first overcome the stronghold of condemnation through God’s grace. Like this woman, we, too, must be willing to accept God’s grace along with His forgiveness, if we are going to have the power to defeat sin in our own lives.
After Jesus had addressed the condemning voices of her accusers, He instructed her to go and sin no more. If it were impossible for “sinners who are saved by grace” to stop sinning, then He wouldn’t have told her to stop sinning. If God’s grace has the power to forgive us without penalty, then it also has the power to keep us from sinning as a new believer in Christ. Once we become free from the condemnation of sin, sin has no hold on our lives. This is why Jesus came filled with God’s grace.
Living Free by God’s Grace,
Pastor Asa Dockery

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