Grace and Truth: The Impacts of John 8:11 – Part 1

And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

There are so many lessons to be gleaned from this passage, a truly powerful example of grace and truth that Jesus has provided us.  In this verse is Jesus’ reply to a woman, accused of adultery, that has been brought before Him by the scribes and Pharisees.  In that day, those found guilty, according to the Law of Moses, would be stoned to death (there was no mention of the man in this story), but this would mean going against the authority of Roman Law, under whom they were governed.  It was in essence a catch-22 situation that these men were trying to place our Lord in.  In response to the men, Jesus first continued writing on the ground as though He didn’t hear them (can you imagine the look on their faces!).  Then as though answering on His own terms when He felt so inclined Jesus said, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first” John 8:7 NKJV and proceeded again to write on the ground.  Now I don’t know about you, but I’m sure at this point if a third party was observing this, they would’ve been completely floored.  Here are the “religious” leaders being spiritually convicted by the King of Kings.  The men, one by one, began leaving the scene until Jesus was alone with the woman and He raised up and said, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” To which she replied, “”No one, Lord.” John 8:10-11 NKJV

Now think about what just happened here.  These men were attempting to trap Jesus between the religious code of the Mosaic Law and the political rule of the Roman Empire.  Jesus’ declaration to the woman was multi-faceted.  He neither upheld the Law of Moses nor went against the law of Caesar.  His response showed that there was now a new choice, one not under the law, but under the grace and truth of Jesus Christ.  As the Apostle Paul reaffirms in Romans 6:14 NKJV, “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”  The power in Jesus’ response cannot be understated, “Neither do I condemn you.”  What beauty we as sinners can find when we fall before Jesus, burdened by sin, “casting all [y]our care upon Him, for He cares for us [you].” I Peter 5:7 NKJV To know that Jesus takes our sin and offers back grace in return, if we only receive Him as our Savior.

But there’s a second part to Jesus’ response, one of equal importance.  He offered grace, but followed with the truth of His command, “Go and sin no more.”  So too is this the case for us as sinners when we have received grace through our faith in Jesus, we are charged to sin no more.  Just as we discussed in the post  A License to Sin, our new birth in Christ requires us to abandon sin.  As we accept the free gift of grace, we must give up the old sinful flesh.

Too often we are quick to make the argument that once we are saved there’s nothing more to be done.  This is true for our salvation, the work was done on the cross by Jesus and through that work we are justified. Romans 3:24 Just like when we were newborns physically we needed nourishment for growth, so too is this the case when we’re born again spiritually.  We gain nourishment from the Word of God and grow out of our old self. 

So with our focus on grace, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast” Ephesians 2:8-9 we must be careful no to forget to live the truth, “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!” Romans 6:15

 

Prayer: Do you long for Jesus’ words of grace? Bow before the cross and ask repentance for your sins, believe in Him and accept Him as Lord and Savior of your life.  If you’ve already accepted Christ as Savior, but are not living in truth, what’s holding you back?  Turn it over to the God and pray that He renews you in Him.

Additional Study: James 2:26  John 14:15  James 4:17

The Sanctity of Marriage: Defile Marriage = Defile the Body of Christ

Few things in our society are as politically charged and divisive as the homosexual debate.  As many states continue to review legislation to determine the legalization of marriage and some churches, mired in apostasy, declare days of prayer and studying the Bible (ELCA) to form their position, there are a few Biblical truths that we need to uncover to understand what’s at the root of this pervasive sin.  Typically in a biblical response to homosexuality we hear (or use) scriptural references to Genesis 1:27 “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”  This verse lays the foundation early on in the Bible of man and women joined together in marriage as we read later on in Genesis 2:24, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”  While the language of these passages seems clear and straightforward, why is it that society and even churches refuse to recognize this truth?  Jesus emphasizes these verses in Matthew 19:4-5, “And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?  There can simply be no debate on this issue as the scripture is crystal clear.  But still the worldly perversion of marriage persists.  Still the debate will rage on to the point of calling it a “hate crime” (see Christian Post article link below) if you stand firm on the Biblical truths defined above. 

But why is this?  Some of you might be reading this post and thinking, “What’s the big deal?”  Just let everyone be happy and spend their lives married to whom they love.  The problem with this logic is that God created marriage as we read earlier in Genesis.  Therefore no man, no government (state or federal), no principality has any authority to destroy it.  Matthew 19:6 “So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”  There is the authority of God in His Word.  In context Jesus is referring to the Pharisees challenge of divorce, but more can be read from it because if God has joined man and women together in marriage then there is no compromise on this issue.  No multiple spouses, no same sex, no endorsement of divorce.  1 Man and 1 Woman for life. 

Now let’s briefly examine why the opposition to this passage exists, why churches are questioning biblical truths, and why the passages above will soon be labeled as hate speech.  As shocking as this might sound, it’s all part of Satan’s plan to defile the Body of Christ, or the Church Body as a whole.  If you can’t see the strategy in this, then I pray that God opens your eyes to it.  This issue alone, as though it were possible, will seek to destroy the truths of the Bible, turn churches against each other, and draw lines between true repentant believers in Christ and those who merely claim His name.  Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.”

Jesus used marriage as a beautiful symbol of His relationship with His people, or Church.  He is the Bridegroom and we as His chosen are the Bride.  One example of this symbol is found in the Parable of the Wedding Feast in Matthew 22:1-14 and again the Parable of the Wise and Foolish virgins in Matthew 25:1-13.  In fact, the Apostle Paul emphasizes this symbolism in Ephesians 5:23-25, “For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.  Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her”.  Again the analogy of marriage as it relates to Christ and His Church.  When Satan, through the wretchedness of the world, attacks these truths he is using the guise of “tolerance”, “equality and equal rights” and those who oppose are merely expressing “hatred”.

The truth is this, God created marriage between a man and woman to be holy, in fact, to be a sanctifying relationship before Him.  It was so perfect that Jesus used this to describe His own relationship between Himself and the church.  Therefore it cannot be twisted and turned into a perverse relationship and those who do so and those who condone or endorse it are defiling the Body of Christ.

http://www.christianpost.com/article/20090626/christians-say-hate-crimes-bill-is-not-what-you-think/index.html

http://apprising.org/2009/06/rev-megan-rohrer-on-gay-rights-movement/

What were you called to do?

Even though I shared a sermon from Charles Spurgeon earlier in the week, this is too important and speaks so close to my heart that I had to share.  Is it any wonder why the Lord used men like this to reach generations of believers and non-believers alike.

By Charles H. Spurgeon

“Let each one remain in the same calling in which he was called.” I Corinthians 7:20

Some persons have the foolish notion that the only way in which they can live for God is by becoming ministers, missionaries, or Bible women.  Alas! how many would be shut out from any opportunity of magnifying the Most High if this were the case.  Beloved, it is not office, it is earnestness; it is not position, it is grace which will enable us to glorify God.  God is most surely glorified in that cobbler’s stall, where the godly worker, as he plies the awl, sings of the Savior’s love, aye, glorified far more than in many a prebendal stall where official religiousness performs its scanty duties.  The name of Jesus is glorified by the poor unlearned carter as he drives his horse, and blesses his God, or speaks to his fellow laborer by the roadside, as much as by the popular divine who, throughout the country, like Boanerges, is thundering out the gospel.  God is glorified by our serving Him in our proper vocations.  Take care, dear reader, that you do not forsake the path of duty by leaving your occupation, and take care you do not dishonor your profession while in it.  Think little of yourselves, but do not think too little of your callings.  Every lawful trade may be sanctified by the gospel to noblest ends.  Turn to the Bible, and you will find the most menial forms of labor connected either with most daring deeds of faith, or with persons whose lives have been illustrious for holiness.  Therefore be not discontented with your calling.  Whatever God has made your position, or your work, abide in that, unless you are quite sure that He calls you to something else.  Let your first care be to glorify God to the utmost of your power where you are.  Fill your present sphere to His praise, and if He needs you in another He will show it you.  This evening lay aside vexatious ambitions, and embrace peaceful content.

Ephesians 4:15 "Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ"