JOHN | The final word on sin: Grace { DAY EIGHT }

 

READ: JOHN EIGHT

Have you ever been caught doing something wrong, and been called on it? Maybe you lied, stole, or cheated. Or maybe you just talked bad about someone behind their back and your words made their way to the ears of that person. Maybe as you awaited the wrath of the person you sinned against, shame and guilt washed over you and you wished you could just run…or hide…or both.

With six kids who love to tell on each other, this happens a lot in our home. Recently, one of our children caught another eating cookies without permission. The offense was indignantly reported because cookies should be rationed, and stealing them is a huge offense when you’re 5 years old. I listened intently as the little crime-stopper reported on his sibling, but was instantly reminded of something I found in his pockets just the day before. Not dirt or rocks or worms this time. Worse…candy wrappers.

The accuser was silenced pretty quickly when he was reminded of his own sin. This reminded me of one of my favorite Bible stories, in John chapter 8.  As Jesus was attempting to teach those gathered in the temple courts, some men interrupted, bringing in a woman they had caught in the act of adultery. Although their motive had nothing to do with this poor woman (they just wanted to trip up Jesus), she stood their exposed and vulnerable, awaiting her sentence. These “teachers of the law” reminded Jesus that the appropriate sentencing was to stone her, according to the Law of Moses.

“Now what do you say,?” they asked Him.

And Jesus’ answer is really good news to us all.

Instead of condemning this guilty woman in front of her accusers, he turned the focus from her to the accusers. “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”

As they walked away one by one, imagine the relief that began to sweep over this woman.

Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?

No one, sir, she said.

Then neither do I condemn you, Jesus declared. Go now and leave your life of sin. { John 8:10-11 }

Jesus demonstrates that the Law isn’t wrong, but if we could see the Law for what it really is – we would realize that we are ALL guilty. Even those who seem to be righteous. What happened in this story (and in the one in my living room) was self-righteous sinners exposing another sinner. The response of the merciful savior to their hypocrisy revealed a harsh truth. We clearly see the evil in others but are often blind to the darkness in our own hearts.

Righteousness and justice are grounded in His grace. Click To Tweet

In Jesus, righteousness and justice are grounded in His grace. It is when we remove grace as the foundation that we are left with the same spirit of the Pharisees, all too quick to judge others and point fingers. But the beautiful thing about grace is that it doesn’t excuse sin. Grace not only ushers in forgiveness, but it also empowers us to live differently, free from the grip of sin. It is in experiencing God’s kindness that we are drawn to repentance { Romans 2:4 }, not in fearing His wrath.

Know that no matter what you’ve done, the foundation of God’s righteousness is grace. Jesus stands in the gap between your guilt and God’s standard of holiness. And also remember that before you call out the cookie thief in your life, you might have some candy wrappers in your pocket you should deal with first.

Reflect:

  • Do you carry guilt and shame, fearing God’s wrath because of your sin, whether it’s secret or exposed? Think about Jesus’ response to this woman and reflect on His response to you being just the same. He doesn’t condemn you.
  • Have you been an accuser? ( I know I have). Think about a situation you may have responded to differently if grace was the foundation, not “the rules.”
  • If someone is caught in sin, does this mean we have to ignore it? Pray about how we, as believers, can lovingly approach sin in others while remaining humble and kind.

Prayer:

Father, please forgive us for our self-righteousness. Forgive us for excusing the sin in ourselves while being far too comfortable with calling it out in others. Maybe we don’t always confront them to their face, but we judge them in our hearts. Please help us to change the way we see people- allow us to see them through a lens of grace and love, that we may always lead them to You through kindness. And God, where we have fallen short and are filled with guilt, help us remember this beautiful picture of redemption. Thank you for standing in the gap, for receiving the wrath that we so deserved, that we can be free- from sin, from condemnation, and from accusation. We are so grateful. In Jesus name, Amen.

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Elizabeth Oschwald
Elizabeth Oschwald
I’m Elizabeth, wife to an industrious, handsome fixer-upper {I mean…he fixes things, not he needs to be fixed} and Mom/Stepmom {a.k.a. Imma} to 6 amazing kids. I homeschool the ones I hatched myself, and we live on our family farm in central Illinois. I love to write about our real-life experiences, how Jesus is in everything, and how God can redeem even the biggest messes in the most beautiful, unexpected (and very Brady) ways. You can read more about my crazy crew at www.AddingJoy.com!

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