Love Letters In The Sand

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December 27, 2016
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December 28, 2016

Love Letters In The Sand

Go And Sin No More

By Vinnie MacIsaac

There was a crash. The door broke in. Light shone into the broken doorway, flooding the darkness of the room. Men poured in the room… They were yelling, screaming, shouting, “Get her,” “Drag her out,” Don’t let her get away.”

Awakened from her sleep and blinded by the shining light in the room, she cried out to her lover looking for help, security, and protection.  He leaped from the bed, pushed her away from himself and said, “Get her; just don’t take me.”

Half- naked, she was dragged from her room, from her darkness, into the light; cast at the feet of Jesus. Broken, shamed, dirty, guilty, without dignity nor humility she appeared, caught in her sins…before the very Son of God.

The Story is recorded in John 8.

The Woman

…Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. John 8: 1-4

Who was this woman?

Some have suggested this is Mary Magdalene but the Bible does not say. Some have said it is the woman whom Jesus cast out seven demons but the Bible does not say. Some have told me she must have been a woman whom Jesus had redeemed or was a follower of Jesus, and the reason they picked her was to mock Jesus and rub his face in this failed follower, but the Bible does not say. All the Bible tells us is that she had no name given. Not one. In fact, the only thing we know is she is a Woman; a woman caught in adultery.

She could be any of us.  Let that sink in. She could be any of us.

Wait you say, “Come on, Pastor I have never committed adultery… how dare you say such a thing as that to me?”

This woman is like us: Like us all. She is defined by her SIN.  Think about it. The only name we have for her is her sin. Who is she? –The Woman caught in adultery.

The Lost: The real truth is we are all called the lost. 

The real truth is we are all called: The lost. It is important –that no matter who we are that we all understand when we stand before the living Son of God, who is God… we are naked in our sins. He sees all.

  • Just because you have never cheated or been caught does not mean you have no sin. Your sin may be different, but it is just as real. It makes you Naked before God.

    You may be a woman caught in adultery or…

  • Man caught in anger

  • A mother caught in selfishness

  • A father caught in provoking you children to wrath

  • A daughter caught in rebellion

  • A son caught in hopelessness

  • A brother caught in covertness

    A sister caught in lying

  • No matter what we have fallen short in… God sees it all.

When you stand before the mighty SON of GOD …There is no hiding your condition. Just as that day, on those steps to the temple this woman could not hide her Identity –A woman caught in adultery.

The Law

Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say? John 8:5

What did the Law Demand? Simply death. Death to whom? This woman who had been caught in her sin.

“Moses said to stone such woman.”

How ironic. Did the law not condemn Men who committed adultery too? Where was the man?  What! Did this woman commit adultery all by herself? –I think not!

And yet, It is sadly not strange to me to see the man left out of the blame. A legalist always on applies only the part of the law they want, they believe, they seek, they up hold… and they ignore the rest. They were not concerned with the Law; they wanted to trap Jesus!

What would He do?

The Judgment

This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him.  John 8:6-9

He did not judge – But He could have. He did not judge though He was worthy to Judge. He did not judge, but He would have judged rightly had He judged. Notice – JESUS never let anyone back him in a corner.  You could not force His hand. He would not pick the lesser of two evils.

Jesus scooped and wrote in the sand. What did he write? Some say he wrote their sins; others say he did not write anything He was just giving time to for them to consider their own sinfulness. Others still say perhaps he just wrote the word forgiven.

I have given it lots of thought, and my own opinion is that He simply wrote the Ten Commandments and each saw their own sin in the breaking of the law. Think about it for a second time the finger of God wrote the law of God for man.

V7 “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Oh, that we would learn this lesson! But how had she heard those words I wonder?

She was guilty… She stood before all the holy men of Israel…

  • The Pharisees

  • The Rabbis

  • Jesus.

Where they not all more Holy than she? Was she not guilty? I can only imagine she thought her accusers were indeed without sin next to her!!!

“The woman had stood before Jesus, cowering with fear.  His words, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone,” had come to her as a death sentence. She dared not lift her eyes to the Saviour’s face, but silently awaited her doom. In astonishment she saw her accusers depart speechless and confounded…” Desire of Ages p. 462

Reflecting on this paragraph in the classic work on the life of Jesus, Desire of the Ages, I have come to understand that too often we see his actions as condemning us when really he is acting to redeem us!

  • Was she guilty? Yes.

  • Was Jesus holy? Yes.

  • Was Jesus in his right to condemn her? Yes.

Jesus chooses mercy. Jesus chooses redemption. Jesus chooses Forgiveness. Yet, she could not see what He was in the act of doing, while He was doing it!

It is a worthy endeavor to stop and consider why this is. Why do we only see gloom and doom when Jesus only offers love, mercy, and a chance at full and complete redemption?

The conclusion I keep coming back to is Sin (the condition) closes off to us what God is really up too. Sin produces an unfair, tainted, skewed picture of God. She saw His words as declaring damnation. But they declared salvation!

How is it for you?  Is it getting hard to see the goodness of God? – He may be in the act of restoring you too.

The Gospel Order

Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” John 8: 10-11

Don’t let people trap you in your shame.

Listen, if you learn anything from this blog, learn this…When Jesus declares you righteous no one can stand to accuse you!

  1. Neither do I condemn you

  2. Go and sin no more.

Don’t get it out of order.

  1. Neither do I condemn you

  2. Go and sin no more.

For years in the church I thought that if I could not sin any more God would not condemn me — this is Backwards! I was trying to win his love by good behavior. The problem is good behavior, without being inspired by His love, is in fact in short supply!

The world may call you all sorts of names but the name Jesus wants to call you is FREE!

I would work hard not to sin so I could be forgiven… then I would fall and give up… defeated by my own sin.

Thank God for John 8 and the lessons I learned from it. I must first understand God’s grace (“neither do I condemn you”) then I can have God’s victory (“Go and Sin no more”).

THIS IS THE GOSPEL ORDER – GRACE Produces SUSTAINING FAITH!

Alexander Whyte, the great Scottish preacher and famous New Testament  professor, once stood up in his pulpit in Edinburgh and said: I have discovered the most wicked man in Edinburgh … ” Then he paused, while the congregation eagerly awaited the name; whereupon the preacher continued—”that person is Alexander Whyte.”

Look to Jesus and he will set you free.

Stop trying to hide your sin and rather deal with it. Deal with it by keeping the Gospel order, accepting God’s love and letting him change you by His love. The problem with hiding your sin in a dark room is quite simply you don’t know when the Pharisees, and Scribes, will break into your room mid-sin and drag you out on the temple steps before God Himself. God knows everything about you and still desires to save you.

The truth is that at times we all feel like Romans 7:

So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man (person/human) that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
(Romans 7:21-24 ESV)

But today we must stop and remember: Jesus is writing you love letters in the sand… and what really matter is if you are you reading them? Follow the Gospel order to Jesus!

Roman’s 8:1 reminds us There is no Condemnation for those who are “in Christ.”

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.
(Romans 8:1-2 ESV)

And I say to you today …Be those in Christ!

 


*This edition of my Blog is lovingly dedicated to Pastor John Gibson who suffered from depression and allowed the “stones” around him to cast him into actions of despair. Rest in Peace and may God still in his endless grace find you in His resurrection. May in that day Jesus present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the Father. 

2 Comments

  1. robertsang says:

    Thanks for the encouraging post. It is great that there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.

    I am not sure how many suggest the woman caught in adultery from John 8 is “the woman from whom 7 demons were driven.” That only happens when people equate her with Mary Magdalene (who is actually the woman from whom 7 demons were driven). But in fact, most of the people who see them as one and the same are mostly Hollywood writers and directors who want to show a dramatic character arc, and the subsequent people who are influenced by those films. “The Passion of the Christ” and “The Greatest Story Ever Told” are two such movies which make this identification.

    The Bible definitely never identifies the woman in John 8 as Mary Magdalene. The more common misconception is that Mary Magdalene is the sinful woman who anointed Jesus’ feet in Luke 7:36-50, which again has no scriptural basis.

    I’ve written about this topic in depth myself on my own website, clarifying all of the myths from the actual Biblical passages.

    • admin says:

      Well said. And I think the more powerful narrative is that she could be any of us. I think her name is missing in order to accent her identity as a common sinner caught up in a system of judgement with no way out. She is the person we judge and often the person we are all rolled into one.

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