Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Unexpected.

She was brought to Jesus in order to tempt him. This woman caught in adultery. Was she guilty? Without a doubt! Caught in the act she was and worthy of death according to the civil laws of the day. However, it was not about her sin which those who brought her to Jesus were concerned. They wanted to put Jesus on trial. He was constantly congregating with sinners such as she. This did not sit well with the clean churchly. Those who had all their Theological ducks lined up neatly. We all love our ducks lined up and to be outwardly clean. But oh how that can build ego! While building ego it blinds to ones own sin doesn’t it? They expected Jesus to condemn her. As we expect Jesus to condemn others but not us.

John 8: 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” ESV

After Jesus did some writing on the ground Jesus asked for any of them who were without sin throw the first stone. Then he wrote some more. Many have speculated he wrote accusations against some of them or all of them the sins of which they were guilty. Some have given other opinions about writing the law. We don’t know what Jesus wrote. But the most important thing he did was the unexpected. He forgave her. And this forgiveness brought new life. A life free from bondage to her sin. Jesus was there for her like no other man was there for her.

I heard many times over how some think the Gospel is both good news and bad news. Good news for those who believe it but bad for those who do not. This is false teaching. It fails to consider that we are all in the same condemned boat outside of Jesus. That those who believe were never condemned somehow apart from the general run of humanity. And that God chose some to damnation along with choosing the redeemed. This is moving the focus off Christ the Chosen Lamb to be Slain and looking at which sinners are saved and which are lost. Not focusing on Jesus leads to all sort of error. When Jesus is the focus in the choosing these issues fade from sight. Those in Jesus are chosen for eternal life.

John3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” ESV

We see here the Gospel of Jesus does not condemn nor is it bad news to the unbeliever. The good news, the gift, is for all. Even those who will not turn to Jesus due to evil deeds which they want and appreciate. The forgiveness is theirs. Such a pity to love the temporary pleasure of this life and self righteousness which will end when we are resurrected. An eternity of continual dying instead of eternal life with he who is Life.

“Holy Spirit, grant true repentance for those loving darkness. I think especially of family and friends who have estranged themselves from you. Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy!”

In the name of Jesus. †


Larry said...

This reminds me of a bold quote from Luther that in my memory paraphrasing goes something like this, he warned, “Be careful you do not pursue purity so much that you find yourself not a sinner or desire to be one, for Christ only dwells with/in sinners…”.

The main problem with the Pharisees, in irony of irony, in seeking to line up their theological ducks according to the Law, they wrecked that nice linear train into one heaping mass of not having their theological ducks lined up correctly according to the Gospel and thus didn’t have their theological ducks lined up at all.

That’s an event in scripture dear to my heart, the forgiving of the prostitute. When I was under another confessional paradigm and in utter despair I constantly told my wife often in moments of the deepest despair one could imagine, “If I could just hear Jesus say to me personally like He did to the prostitute, ‘Larry I forgive YOU’, then I’d know if I’m saved or not. What sweet words those must have been to her ear!”

Sometimes I think, for pastors, it must be harder to preach the Law at 200 proof so that the Gospel 200 proof can get in.


David Cochrane said...


The command Jesus gave his disciples to fotgive sin is a wonderful gift of peace and assurance. Then, as you pointed out, we hear Jesus forgiving our sin.

God's peace. †

Steve Martin said...

"As we expect Jesus to condemn others but not us."

Yep. That is why the law needs to be there, constantly convicting us.

I too, worry about my friends and family.

It's very hrd for me to keep from beating them over the head with the Bible.

Sometimes I fail. Maybe I am part of the reason for their estrangement. 'Lord forgive me, and help me to speak of the good news for which You came to us.'

Thanks, David.

Julie said...

Reading the post and all the comments convicts me. We all like to point out flaws of others to deflect us from feeling conviction. Myself included in that activity. Lord, help me to remember that you died for all of us to save us from the condemnation we want to throw on others.

Thanks for posting, St. Dave.