Please allow me to share some thoughts that have been on my mind as a result of God-ordained circumstances in my life and what God is teaching me through them.
Recently I reread the following story from Scripture and I'm sure Christians and non-Christians alike are familiar with it. It's the account about the woman caught in adultery and brought by her accusers to Jesus. In case you're not familiar with the story, you can read it here in John 8:1-11 and here's a brief synopsis: a woman is caught in adultery, the religious leaders bring her to Jesus and ask Him if they should stone her.
So often, unless we're walking in the truth of God's Word, I know it's easy to view other people's struggles from the outside and feel that since we are not guilty of that particular sin we can condemn them and mentally start throwing stones.
But I wonder where you picture yourself in this story?
Are you an onlooker in the crowd, are you in line to throw a stone, or are you the one about to be stoned?
And unless we've met with the grace-giving Savior, we just might picture God as first in line to throw a stone. But in reality, He is on the side offering grace, forgiveness and restoration to the one about to be condemned if she will accept those gifts of grace through His Son, Jesus Christ.
However, she's not the only one needing forgiveness in this account.
Everyone lined up to cast a stone is just as guilty as she and we know this from other accounts of Scripture where we find that these men relied on their religiosity to gain favor with God.
I can't help but wonder if they all scrambled to get in line in hopes that they could hide behind their stone so that no one would suspect them of the sin they didn't get caught in.
Because you see, the one who is self-righteous is just as guilty as the one caught in deep sin.
If I'm depending on my good deeds to gain favor with God I will find myself condemned right along side the adulterer or murderer who also has not repented (turned from his sin) and found restoration through Christ.
It's easy to not see ourselves for what we truly are...people born into sin...whether it's the blatantly obvious sin or the sin that lurks deep within our hearts where we try to appear "not too bad" to others.
God tells us in the book of Isaiah that "we are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind."
In contrast, the righteousness of Christ that is offered to us through salvation is pure, peacable and complete.
None of salvation is dependent upon us. Christ did everything that was necessary when He was at the cross. It's not a matter of if we believe hard enough or if we do enough good. It's if we accept the work that He did on the cross.
If we accept it, Christ has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has transferred us into the kingdom of his dear Son...In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.
In the story from God's Word, Christ speaks to the men (religious men who lacked a relationship with Christ) holding the stones and says (paraphrased), "The one who is without sin can cast the first stone." He, of course, knew their hearts and that not one of them was innocent. And then, beginning with the eldest, they all dropped their stones one by one into the dust at their feet.
When they had all left Christ says to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
Jesus then continued by saying to the woman and the onlookers, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”
So whether we are guilty of adultery or self-righteousness, when we come to Christ, we no longer need to walk in the darkness because we will have the Light that leads to Life.
The Bible doesn't say whether or not this woman continued in her sin or if she repented, but I would imagine that one who had experienced the love and forgiveness of Christ such as she did would want to live a life of thanks to the One who loved her in spite of her sin.
The outpouring of good deeds in our life should be there if we are walking a grace-given life. Anything righteous that comes from us ought to be daily thank offerings given to the one who saved us from being stoned...or prevented us from throwing the first stone.
We have so many opportunities to extend grace in our own homes and families and to live lives of thanks to the One who has forgiven us.
In what ways this week can I extend grace and point my husband and children to the fountain of grace? (And may they do the same for me!)
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