LiveAsIf.org - Today's Little Lift - How God Treats Sinners

'Today's Little Lift' with Jim Bullington
Originally posted on 04/29/2019

How God Treats Sinners

Focus Text: John 8.8-11

“And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, ‘Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.’” (John 8.8-11).

The woman was a sinner, of that there can be no doubt. However, as the events of the story reveal, she was not a “greater” sinner than those who had accused her. In fact, their motives were so sinister as to attempt to entangle the very Son of God in their carefully laid trap. Yet, even though she was a sinner, Jesus did not “condemn” her. That expression is the key to understanding the whole of the text. We will examine it more closely.

First, notice something that Jesus did not say; He didn’t say, as He had done on other occasions, “Your sins are forgiven.” Rather, He stated that which He did NOT do; “Neither do I condemn you.” His function on earth was not to bring moral or civil judgment on those about Him; His aim was much, much higher and He would not be deterred from that goal. He came to save sinners! Hear John the apostle on this matter: “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3.17). As a part of the godhead, had Christ wanted to judge or condemn the world, He certainly would not have had reason to come here; He could have done that from His throne in heaven.

Rather, Jesus came here to do what He could not have done in His state of celestial glory. The only means to man’s salvation was entirely wrapped up in the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1.29). Had He remained in the heavenly realm, we would not know, as we can know now, how God treats sinners. We would have continued to have our vain imaginations darkened even as the Pharisees did, imagining all sorts of things about God that simply are not true. Jesus came to declare the Father to mankind (see John 1.18), and He accomplished that mission. Near the end of His earthly ministry, Jesus said to Philip, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” (John 14.9).

Without Jesus as an example, man might have thought only of God’s sternness, or His hatred for sin, or His demands for justice. With Jesus as our example, we know that God is stern, that He does hate sin, and that He demands justice, BUT we see another side of God manifested in the person of Jesus. We see a God who has absolutely no delight in the spiritual failures of any human being; rather, we see a God so full of compassion and love for man that He is willing to give His only begotten Son to die in our stead.

No wonder Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more!” He revealed the Father!

Questions:

1. What did Jesus write on the ground? Is it important for us to know?

2. Did Jesus have the right to condemn the world? If He did, what constrained Him from raining destruction on every human being?

3. How did Jesus declare the Father? Did He do it by word? How else?

4. How great is God’s love? Try to describe the magnitude of love WITHOUT doing so in terms of giving. Do you find it difficult? Did God demonstrate His love without giving? Why not?

Meet the Author:
Jim Bullington - A Christian writer whose insight into the scriptures is reflected in practical application lessons in every article. The reader will find that the Bible speaks directly to him/her through these articles. God is always exalted and His word is treated with the utmost respect in this column.
Copyright:
'Today's Little Lift' Copyright 2019 © Jim Bullington. 'Today's Little Lift' articles may be reproduced in whole under the following provisions: 1) A proper credit must be given to the author at the end of each story, along with their complete bio and a link to https://www.liveasif.org/  2) 'Today's Little Lift' content may not be arranged or "mirrored" as a competitive online service.
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