Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Understanding Grace: Who judged you guilty?

18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and forever. Amen. 2 Peter 3:18

 There is one thing we all have in common. All of us who have received new life in Christ have at one time or another felt the stinging accusation of the enemy. The Word of God even identifies satan as the Accuser of the Brethren. In reality all accusations against the righteous are rooted in the work of the enemy. In light of this I want to ask a question.

Where are your accusers?

 Where are your accusers? This is one of the most powerful questions the Lord Jesus Christ ever asked. I would like for you to actually grab your Bible or device where a Bible App is downloaded and follow along with me in this study today. I want to dig deep into John chapter 8 where Jesus deals with accusation against the righteous. 

but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd. John 8:2-3
 Notice what has just happened. Jesus is teaching the Word of truth and these religious leaders bring a woman caught in sin to Him. Take note the shame they are inflicting upon this woman. They are exposing her flaws and sin for all to see. Love covers wrong, it restores, it doesn't try to expose and shame people. I've always wondered why they never brought the man with her, it takes two to commit adultery. 
 Now this woman is not a prostitute. It never states this. She was brought into the Synagogue, therefore she was an Israelite. She was under the Old Covenant. Therefore she was righteous only in the sense of the sacrificial system in place at the time. Now her choices and actions weren't in any way righteous or upright, but she was nonetheless a daughter of Abraham. 

  “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. John 8:4-6
 What are these religious types actually doing here? They are bringing accusation against Jesus. By citing the Law and asking Jesus what is your view, they were bringing a two fold accusation. 

"Do you hate the Law, Jesus? Do you disagree with Moses?" 
"Are you advocating sinful living, Jesus?"

 These religious leaders, were staring at perfection in flesh. They were conversing with the Word made flesh. Yet, they couldn't see this. Their traditions blinded them to the truth and they felt compelled to accuse the Lord Jesus Christ of hating the Law and promoting sin. 

 They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. John 8:7-8 
 Jesus, perfection, the standard, reminded all of the accusers of their own faults and failures. Jesus was God in the flesh. He wrote the Law. He knew its purpose. He knew it was a perfect standard to reveal just how flawed we are in ourselves and why we need a Savior. 
 Take note what Jesus did here twice. He stooped. He stooped for this one being shamed. The one who didn't deserve it. In the original Hebrew one of the meanings of grace is to stoop. To bend in kindness for one who doesn't deserve it. 
 Jesus wanted to express grace, to show mercy. To reveal that restoration comes from His love and faithfulness. The religious tradition bound, demanded "justice". Give her what she "deserves" but not us. 

When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” 11 “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” John 8:9-11
 In light of this powerful passage of Scripture allow me to ask again, where are your accusers? Who judged you guilty? In the light of Christ's Finished Work, who can accuse you of unrighteousness?
 Who says you aren't forgiven? Traditional theology accuses us of not being forever forgiven. That our future sins are not forgiven. Traditional theology believes redemption goes something like this. You hear the gospel and you receive Jesus in your life. Your past sins up to the point of conversion are now remitted or "wiped away". From this point until you draw your last breath you must apologize and seek pardon for each and every mistake and misdeed and sin you commit.
 To accomplish this you repent and confess I did this wrong. I am wrong, and I am unworthy and unrighteous, please God forgive me and accept me back. Please don't remove my place in the Kingdom of God. After much groveling and tears and chest beating God will take you back once again, but you best quit committing this sin or His forgiveness will run out. 
 This is not the gospel. Repentance is not turning from sin to God. Repentance isn't saying I am sorry to God each time you blow it. Repentance is a change of mind. The good news is realizing only the blood remits or forgives all sin. 
 Those who have received His grace and understand the New Covenant are today dealing with the very same accusations the religious hurled at Jesus. We are accused of hating the Law and/or promoting sin. 
18 Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin. Hebrews 10:18
 We are preaching the gospel. We are proclaiming the simple truth that when we receive the Lord there is no more sacrifice or offering for sins. No confession or apology is going to forgive you. Only the Blood of Jesus forgives. This is the answer to our accusers. We are forgiven forever. 
 Does grace promote sin? Do we hate the Law? No, we just understand the purpose of the Law and we bring mercy and restoration not condemnation when addressing people's failures. Better be careful preaching this way some may say. People will get the wrong idea.
 Using this same logic, should we not teach Christ bore all our sickness and disease in the Finished Work? Will telling folk Jesus paid for all of their healing make them pursue ways to get sick or contract a disease? This is absurd.
 Grace brings growth and produces fruit. Grace doesn't promote licentiousness. One who desires to pursue his earthly unbridled passion says this. Grace doesn't teach all are saved and the place of eternal separation doesn't exist for those who reject the free gift of grace. The Universalist proclaims this. 
 Rest knowing you are righteous in Him. You are forever forgiven. No accusation the enemy may bring can remove you from the Father's hand. Even if you are engaging in sin, be it sexual sin, drunkenness, or any fault know you are still the righteousness of God. Certainly, these are unprofitable and poor choices but it doesn't change who you are. Identify with your righteous new nature and be free from these habits. Who can dare judge the righteous guilty before God? 

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