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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Finding the Strength to Walk Away

John 8 : 3 - 6, 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?" NKJV
On the surface, it seems like the scribes and Pharisees are carrying out the requirements of the Law to punish this woman, who was caught committing adultery. Nevertheless, John tells us that they sought to use this occasion to entrap Jesus in their scheme. It seems legit, if you’re not familiar with the Law of God; however, these accusers had forgotten to carry out the entire Law, which also included punishing the man.
John 8 : 7 - 11, 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
It’s true that the Law condemned a person who was guilty of committing adultery to death by stoning. However, the point of this word today is about the confusion that surrounds grace. You will notice in this story that Jesus allows this guilty woman to “go free” without any repercussions for her sin. Why didn’t Jesus allow her to be stoned? John tells us in chapter one that the Law came through Moses, but truth and grace came with Jesus.
Does grace allow us to sin without any consequences, so that we’re able to continue in sin? Paul would say, “Certainly not!” Nevertheless, there are leaders in the church today who teach grace as a license to sin continually. Many believers somehow abuse grace to justify their sinful lifestyle or, at the least, their desire to sin, rather than obey the Lord. Therefore, why did Jesus defend this adulteress and allow her to “go free” without punishment? He was offering her a “better way” to overcome sin. This story is a perfect illustration of God’s grace and how He gives us time to overcome sin before judgment comes, instead of stoning us immediately as was done under the Law.
Under the Law, if you were caught in sin, you were taken immediately and punished. If the punishment was death, then you didn’t get a second chance to overcome sin. Grace gives us the “time” and the power to overcome sin, not to continue in our sin. Peter teaches us in his epistle that God is longsuffering toward us not willing that “any” should perish, but that all should come to repentance. Grace gives us the ability to “come to repentance.” Peter tells us that God is longsuffering, giving us time to turn away from our sin and to make Him Lord over our hearts, so that we can come to repentance.
If you read Jesus’ last statement to the woman in verse eleven, you will see that He commands her to go and sin no more! Does it sound to you like Jesus is giving this woman His permission to use His grace to continue in sin? Absolutely not! If you struggle with a particular sin in your life, and you’ve been born again by the Spirit of God, then this word is for you. Jesus doesn’t condemn you of your sin; however, He does give you grace (power) so that you can overcome the sin in your life through the Holy Spirit.
The key to learning how to utilize God’s grace to overcome sin is to understand how to submit to Jesus as Lord first. As you submit to God, He gives you the power to resist the Devil; and then, Satan must flee from you. No longer will the Devil be able to dominate your heart and life with sin because you have now made Jesus your Lord. Remember, Jesus tells us in Matthew 6 that we can’t serve two masters. Therefore, when we make a conscious decision to submit our hearts and our sin to Jesus as Lord, He empowers us to overcome the sin. In reality, grace is much harder because it requires us to “deal” with and to overcome sin, instead of making an animal pay for our sin. We can no longer blame anyone other than ourselves for the sin we commit. We must take personal responsibility as a child of the Most High God and die to the sin in our lives, through God’s grace.
It’s All Up to You,
Pastor Asa Dockery

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