How Jesus sets us free to live a flourishing life – John 7:53-8:11, Part 4

In the temple courts, Jesus is standing alone with a woman who had been caught in adultery. With her accusers now gone, Jesus responds to the woman, in John chapter 8, verses 10-11:

“Jesus straightened up and asked her, ‘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’.”

What does “condemn” mean?  It is a legal term, referring to a judgement of guilt.  The woman had been caught in the act of sin.  The religious leaders had brought her to Jesus essentially putting him in the role of judge, asking him to proclaim her guilty.  He turns the tables on them, and they leave without condemning her, and then he also does not condemn her, removing himself from the role of judge. 

Wouldn’t you love to see the transformation that comes over this woman when she hears Jesus say, “I don’t condemn you.”  Instead of condemnation she receives grace. 

But grace is not a ticket to do whatever she wants.  He says, “Go and sin no more.”  Do you hear the grace and love in his statement?  Do you also hear him encouraging her to make new choices, good choices?

We could easily think that Jesus is letting her off the hook, that he should deal more harshly with her, “She committed adultery, Jesus!”  In our contemporary purity culture, sexual sin is often seen as the worst possible sin.  By our standards, it seems like Jesus is neglecting the accountability this woman needs.  “Go and sin no more?  Are you kidding me, Jesus?  That’s not going to help this woman.  What’s to stop her from jumping right back into bed with the guy?  She’s getting off easy here.  You need to deal with her.”  But our purity culture is so quick to misunderstand the amazing power of grace.

As Paul writes in Titus 2:11-14,

“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.”

You and I have received this grace too.  We need it every day.  You are not condemned.  Think about that.  It’s powerful.  You are not condemned.  God says to you, “I do not condemn you.”  In fact, Paul wrote in Romans 8:1-2,

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.”

We are set free to receive grace which motivates us with grateful hearts to say, “No” to sin.  So see yourself in that woman’s shoes.  Jesus says “I do not condemn you, go and sin no more.”  Is there a sin or sins in your life about which he is saying to you, “I do not condemn you, receive my grace, sin no more.” 

Receive his grace and follow his way. His way is so amazing.  They way of choosing to remove sin from our lives is the abundant, flourishing life that he said he gave to give us. 

Frankly, though, receiving grace can be difficult.  It means ridding ourselves of shame, accepting that God really does love us fully as we are, failures and all.  Some of us have a really hard to receiving that truth, believing that truth. 

God invites us to see ourselves as we know we are, with all our faults and bad habits, and yet rest in and believe in and receive his grace and love. Then we become people who, like Jesus did with the woman, give grace more easily.

Photo by Fuu J on Unsplash

Published by joelkime

I love my wife, Michelle, and our four kids and two daughters-in-law. I serve at Faith Church and love our church family. I teach a course online from time to time, and in my free time I love to read and exercise, especially running,

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