“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” – John 8:11
There was a woman who had committed adultery.
The religious leaders caught her, and in their smug, self-righteous attempt to prove how holy they were, she was dragged to the feet of Jesus, where the religious leaders laid her sins out in front of everyone, and challenged Jesus to do something about it. “She’s supposed to be stoned, according to our Law,” they sneered. “What are you going to do about it, oh great Teacher?”
And Jesus looked right at them and said, “Okay, whoever here is without sin – go ahead and throw that first stone.”
One by one, the leaders had to choke on their own pride and walk away. The text says that Jesus was writing something in the sand – was it their hidden sins? Was it the Law that they claimed she had broken, yet they had forgotten the other 9 commandments that were also impossible not to break?
When Jesus looked up, she was still there.
“Where are your accusers?”
“Everyone left,” she replied, probably confused, probably timid, probably still shaking from the prospect of being stoned to death.
So, Jesus told her she was forgiven. And to go and leave her life of sin.
We all struggle with sin.
Our earthly, fleshly nature is sin. Pride, covetousness. Gossip, deceit, lies. Lust, greed, and immorality. It’s all programmed right into our DNA, and we are powerless against it. Might as well just give up trying to fight it and give in to it, right? We’re already saved by grace anyway. We’ve already been told there’s no condemnation in Christ!
I’ve had too many conversations and observed too many Christians/Christ-followers (even churches!) who believe this very thing- even if they don’t say it outright. Their actions show that they aren’t willing to go the extra mile. To be different even though the world would call them out on it. To stand strong even when it’s lonely, depressing, and discouraging.
They aren’t willing to be “more than conquerors” (Romans 8:37).
I’ve been mind-blown these past few days over how much I’m gleaning from the book of Romans. I remember studying it a few years ago, and having an older friend tell me they were surprised, because it was a difficult piece of the Bible to understand. I remember feeling a little deflated in my study because of those words, and stupidly moved on to something else. But reading it now – it’s a very clear, very concise, very hard-hitting letter. There’s nothing confusing about it.
And it makes more sense to me than ever before.
In chapter 7, Paul confesses how hard it is for him to fight his sin-nature…in his own strength. “The things I want to do, I don’t do, and the things I don’t want to do, I do!…I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.”
Just give up and give in, right? NO. Paul then continues on in chapter 8, which in my personal opinion is the most powerful and life-changing part; “You, however, are controlled NOT by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you.” (v. 9, emphasis my own)
God didn’t send His Son to die a horrific death, defeat sin, and rise again to glory just so we could continue living in our filth…so that we could continue giving in to sin but claiming everything’s fine because God already forgave us. If you’ve accepted that Jesus is LORD of YOUR life, that you are no longer a slave to sin but a child of God, that the atonement for your sin (past, present, and future) was owed and yet taken on by Jesus so you could be free and have eternal life…
Then why do we act like grace is nothing? Why do we ignore 99.9999% of the Bible, and only subscribe to the feel-good fluff that so many people are preaching? Of course we don’t want to be uncomfortable! Of course we don’t want conviction! We don’t really want the Power of the Holy Spirit.
We want the perks of salvation without giving up anything. We want to be saved out of fear, but we don’t have enough fear to change our hearts.
I need this message right now. You need this message right now. Jesus’s words echoing from over two thousand years ago, “Go now, and leave your life of sin.” It isn’t a suggestion. It’s a command.
He forgave you everything. But that doesn’t give you license to waste His grace. Instead, it should break your heart, tear off your chains, and set you free on the road less traveled.