Thursday, September 1, 2011

In Christ - I am forgiven!

I am forgiven...

II Samuel 12:13  Then David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD." Nathan replied, "The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die."

Hebrews 9:11-15 But Christ came as our High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation.  Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption .  For if the blood of bulls and goats and ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more, then, will the blood of Christ, Who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!   And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

Colossians 1:14 In Whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. 

I John 2:12 I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of His name. 

I John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 

Caution: Mind at Work
"'Then neither do I condemn you,' Jesus declared. 'Go now and leave your life of sin.'" John 8:11 (NIV)
"’Hey!  I want a do-over!’ she screamed. The sun was clearly blinding her as she struck the volleyball with her fist to serve.  She didn't see the serve fly straight into the hands of the opposing team. It was interesting to watch the reaction of her teammates. Some agreed to offer her grace, others muttered, ‘Tough stuff! Too bad!’ Middle school volleyball resembles a story that Jesus lived.

“In the middle of an ordinary teaching day Jesus shared a revealing truth about our Savior.  The Pharisees interrupted His lesson by dragging in front of the crowd a woman who had been caught in adultery.

“This woman had obvious, visible sin in her life.  She was caught red-handed.  It was easy for the lawgivers to snatch this life and display it before the crowd.  They had their motives for bursting onto the scene, but Jesus flipped their intentions upside down.

“When these puffed up leaders asked Jesus if this woman should be stoned, ‘Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger’ (vs. 6b, NIV).

“Did you catch His reaction to the confrontation? Silence. His mind was at work, but His mouth was not.  We learn from scripture that Jesus asked His Father in heaven about every decision before moving forward. Why would this situation be any different?

“We've probably all heard that pausing to count to ten before getting angry can diffuse an argument, but I want to park here a minute to see what Jesus did.

 “Jesus' agenda had just been altered by a bunch of self-righteous leaders. He was preparing to teach truth, and now He had the opportunity to live it. Instead of a quick response He hit the pause button while the Pharisees continued the barrage. Jesus was in no rush to respond.

 “As He bent down, I imagine Him offering up prayers. He saw that broken woman, He heard that accusing crowd, and yet His focus was on truth. The verse tells us He didn't just stand up, He straightened up. Jesus knew about body language before it was hip to study it. The power of this visual communication meant that He was about to say something that would pierce their hearts.

 “Many scholars have guessed Jesus was writing on the ground all of the sins of each of the accusers there.  His words, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her" (vs. 7, NIV), must have been the first glimpse of light this woman had seen in a long time.  Finally, someone saw value in her beyond the bedroom.

 “Can you imagine the flood of emotions filling her at that moment? She witnessed hope in the middle of her circumstance. Jesus then straightened up to speak to her.  He declared that He did not condemn her but she must leave her life of sin. She was given a do-over!

 “Have you ever wished for a do-over in life? I have. I've been that woman who had no hope. I'm a witness: Jesus is the master of second chances. Throughout the Bible He not only raised the physically dead, He resurrected the spiritually and emotionally dead as well. 

“Romans 3:10 tells us, ‘There is no one righteous, not even one’ (NIV). Jesus wants you to see that you are not alone. If you look around and think that everyone else has it all together, this story is for you.  No one is righteous, not even one!  Everyone has their sins, some are just more visible than others.  But Jesus knows your heart.  He knows your struggles.  He sees what plagues your life.

 “Where are you in this story?  Are you the adulterous woman looking for hope?  Are you the leader looking to condemn?  Are you part of the crowd standing silently in the background?  There was only One in this story without sin and He offered grace.

 “Jesus gave us the perfect example of how to live the truth.  Quietly seek the Father's guidance. Think before we speak. Then straighten up and live redeemed.

 “He has come to give you a second chance; a do-over. Will you listen to His voice?”

I hope you’ll listen – and that you’ll accept His gift of grace if you’re the adulterous woman looking for hope.  I hope you’ll repent if you’re the leader looking to condemn.  And I really hope you’ll choose to stand up and speak out if you’re part of the crowd standing silently in the background. Jesus’ message was for all of them – and all of us.  Can we remain overwhelmed by our sin if we really listen to His words of forgiveness and compassion?  Sure – it might be difficult to believe – but Jesus is the Son of God – GOD – speaking these words – and His word can be trusted – always.  Can we remain blinded to our own sin when confronted with the truth of Jesus – that everyone is a sinner – that we all need the same forgiveness He was offering this woman?  Can we stand silently by while others judge – and would even kill – someone caught “in the very act” of sin?  Jesus’s words should change us – restore us – transform us – empower us – to live for Him – speak for Him – and to rest in His amazing grace!  Sharon

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