“When I came to the Lord I was a stripper,” says the woman in the video below. But when she tried to learn more about God and started attending a local church, she was ostracized and condemned. Instead of receiving help, love and acceptance from Christian people, they gave her dirty looks and rejected her.
The religious scribes and Pharisees once brought a woman caught in adultery to Jesus. Apparently, she was having sexual intercourse with a married man, or perhaps she herself was married and cheating on her husband. When the religious people caught her, they immediately brought her to Jesus and asked Him what they should do with her. According to the Old Testament Law, she deserved to be killed by stoning. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear their question. When they asked Him again and pressed Him for an answer, Jesus said, “He who is without sin among you, let Him cast the first stone.” (John 8:4-11)
Everyone thought about it, and realized that no one there was without sin. Therefore, they really had no business condemning the woman to death when they themselves were guilty of probably worse sins. So being convicted by their consciences and hypocritical attitudes, they slowly left the scene, one by one. Finally Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are your accusers? Has no one condemned you?” Still feeling ashamed, she said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”
The gospel of grace saves.
In this incident, Jesus was demonstrating the love and grace of God in wanting to save sinners – not condemn them. He also stated elsewhere:
“For God did not send His Son [Jesus Christ] into the world to condemn the world – to judge, reject, and pass judgment on; but that sinful, lost people through Him might find salvation and deliverance from sin.” – John 3:17 (JCV)
We Christians need to preach the same gospel that Jesus preached. The Good News gospel of Jesus Christ is, first and foremost, a message of hope; that God is willing to forgive us of our sins. He understands our weaknesses and faults, and wants to give us opportunity and supernatural power to change (grace).
In the above example, Jesus never approves of the woman’s sexual sins, but he doesn’t condemn her either. He told her, “Go and sin no more.” He forgave her and advised her to stop sinning. We Christians need to do likewise. Whether we are witnessing to a woman who makes a living dancing naked in front of men in a bar, or a man with homosexual tendencies, or a drug addict or alcoholic, our first priority is to preach the love and forgiveness of God who sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for their sins. God might hate the sinful way they’re living, but He still loves the sinner. God’s purpose is always to have compassion on the sinner bound by sin, and is willing to deliver them from their sinful bondages. His message is one of restoration and liberty to live a new life.
For God so loved the world
I believe John 3:16 is the Good News gospel in a nutshell. God loves us sinners so much that He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the penalty for our sins, so that we could be forgiven, healed of our corrupt natures, and restored to fellowship with our Holy God.
For too long, the Christian church has been preaching the message of Jonathan Edwards, “Sinners in the hands of an angry God.” Instead, it should be preaching the true message of Jesus Christ, “Sinners in the arms of a loving, compassionate, and forgiving God.” This message makes the religious hypocrites fighting mad, that’s why they wanted to kill Jesus for preaching that He came to save sinners – not condemn them.
Let us pray and ask God to help us overcome our judgmental attitudes, and from being so critical of others. Let us learn to be more loving and accepting of people who may still be struggling with carnal sins, and be open and willing to forgive and help them. We must remember that, if God is patient and forgiving towards us, shouldn’t we also practice the same?
- Pastor Luis Yosefus
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for reminding me that You are, first and foremost, a God of love and compassion. Help me to avoid becoming like the judgmental, self-righteous Pharisees and scribes, and become more like Jesus – in my attitudes and treatment of others. Help me to be compassionate and forgiving, as You are with me. Help me to stop preaching the gospel of condemnation, and instead preach the Good News of Your grace and salvation that Jesus originally proclaimed. Amen.
REAL JESUS MINISTRIES
Thanks to brother Jeff Brown for sharing the following video:
See also: “Forgiving Eyes” by Michael Card