March 10, 2004Email to a FriendPrint
Today's Reading: John 8:1:11 & Psalm 11
“If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7
Jesus—the one without sin—faces the woman caught in adultery. Should He now pick up a stone? She certainly had committed adultery—there were eyewitnesses. But no. Instead of throwing either real stones or figurative ones of shame, blame, and condemnation, Jesus throws out forgiveness, acceptance, and love.
Did Jesus tell the woman He would forgive her only if she never committed adultery again? Or did He forgive her, and then direct her to leave her life of sin? There’s a big difference between the two: one is self-righteousness, the other is Christ’s righteousness. Here we see the stunning brilliance of God's forgiveness. It’s free—completely, absolutely, with no pre-conditions to be met.
“For it is by grace you are saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Purely, simply, and only because of Jesus Christ, God forgives, accepts, and loves all who trust in Jesus as their Savior. Like the woman, we stand humbly before Christ. He forgives us, and, by the power of His Spirit, we leave our life of sin. Yes, we fall and yes, we fail. But God still forgives, throwing out forgiveness, acceptance, and love.
And, now, the forgiven throw out forgiveness, acceptance, and love to others. Rather than judging or condemning others, we can forgive them in Christ, accept them in Christ, and love them in Christ. Sound a bit risky? Yes—but then, hasn’t God taken a risk on us?
Almighty God, judge us not according to our sins, but according to Your mercy, so that we may come before Your throne clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, in whose name we humbly pray. Amen.
Reflect on situations in which you are tempted to throw out condemnation instead of forgiveness. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you grow in forgiveness, acceptance, and love.