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To Receive Grace

Jesus went across to Mount Olives, but he was soon back in the Temple again. Swarms of people came to him. He sat down and taught them.

The religion scholars and Pharisees led in a woman who had been caught in an act of adultery. They stood her in plain sight of everyone and said, “Teacher, this woman was caught red-handed in the act of adultery. Moses, in the Law, gives orders to stone such persons. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something incriminating so they could bring charges against him.

Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger in the dirt. They kept at him, badgering him. He straightened up and said, “The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone.” Bending down again, he wrote some more in the dirt.

Hearing that, they walked away, one after another, beginning with the oldest. The woman was left alone. Jesus stood up and spoke to her. “Woman, where are they? Does no one condemn you?”

“No one, Master.”

“Neither do I,” said Jesus. “Go on your way. From now on, don’t sin.” John 8:1-11

Looking at this from the perspective of grace, I’m starting to see a lot of things. I’m starting to see how this story is possible.

In the past, I have always wondered how this could have happened. Jesus was the Son of God. How is it possible that He did not condemn a woman caught in sin? I mean, she was actually caught while committing the act! How could He just look at her and say, “Yeah, I’m not going to accuse you.” And all He said was, “I think you already know that it wasn’t right what you did, so I’m not going to accuse you. But stop sinning. You need to stop.”

Looking at it now with what I’ve learned about grace, I can see why Jesus treated the woman this way. The Son of God did not look at sinners and say, “Oh, I cannot be around this!” He didn’t! He loved being around sinners! And sinners loved being around Him. To be with Him was to receive grace. He looked at people and said, “They’re human beings. And they’re going to have these problems. It’s part of life. Even when they accept me as their Savior, even when they accept that I died for them, they’re still going to have these problems.” Jesus knew that!

Paul wrote about it in his letter to the Romans, and he is so honest about it. Romans is so good to read when you start learning about grace and trust in relationships. In Chapter 7 he asks, “Why do I always do what I don’t want to do, and what I want to do, I don’t do?” We know the answer before he tells us. It’s because he lives in his flesh!

Nowhere in Scripture can I find anything about the redemption of the flesh. Nowhere does the Bible say that Jesus died to change our flesh. He died so we can live by the Spirit. He knew we’d still experience problems in our flesh.

In my experience of trust with Jesus, I have started to realize that I can also live in a trusting relationship with people. I can trust them because they are who they are. They can trust me because I am who I am. We can trust each other, and we can love on each other, and we can encourage each other. We don’t have to perform to be liked. We can just be. We are imperfect, sure. But still, we are precious children of God.

It’s so freeing to get into relationships where you don’t have to perform to be liked. It’s so freeing to know that you are liked just because. It’s so freeing when someone likes you and loves you, just as you are. When that happens, you begin to see people as Jesus sees them. As He sees you. With love and grace. You know that flesh will always be flesh, and you don’t have to hide anymore.

More on that last point next time. See you Thursday.

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