Sweet words and deeds linger long after the emotion and excitement of the moment have passed. If you stop and think, I almost know that you can remember some kind words and/or deeds that someone spoke or did years and years ago. However, I also know that no words or deeds could be sweeter than those spoken and performed by Jesus as he concluded His meeting with the sinful woman in Simon’s house. See what you think; He said, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.” (Luke 7.50).
The most significant result for the woman in her meeting with Jesus was the fact that she was saved. The salvation anticipated by this comment is obviously one of a spiritual nature and not physical. Furthermore, the salvation spoken of is one which allowed her to “Go in peace!” This is in direct contrast with her broken condition as she stooped to wash Jesus' feet with her tears, tears brought on by the great remorse she had for her sins.
However, what saved her? This question is critical to the overall theme of this series on how God treats sinners! If we do not know how the woman was saved, we will certainly fail in our quest to understand how God treats sinners. It is certain that she loved, but beyond that, she loved much. The parable Jesus told implies that fact as well as His explicit statement that “she loved much.” In retrospect, there is certainly no question as to who saved her; however, at the time some questioned this fact, saying, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” This question was totally settled when Jesus arose from the dead and ascended to His rightful place at the right hand of the Father. What saved this woman is integrally connected to the question of how God treats sinners as we shall presently see.
What saved the woman was the fact that she submitted herself in humility to the will of God! God was and is able to save every single person who is presently living; He has had that power in every age and dispensation. However, it only takes a glance at the Bible to know that few have been saved as compared to the many that have been lost. Is the fault with God? Has He made the way difficult so as to make it a task that is almost impossible to accomplish? Though these questions seem simple, they fly in the face of how some think about God and how He treats sinners. The thought that God makes the way difficult so as to be prohibitive to those who seek to please Him impugns the very character of God. So, how does God treat sinners?
Those sinners who come in humble submission to His will (as did the woman currently under consideration), find a loving God ready to forgive, and totally willing to forever forget their past. Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved [perfect active indicative] you.” It was her faith that was responsible for her salvation; it was her actions that were responsible for her salvation. It was not someone else’s actions, and it was not God directly giving her faith. Her faith saved her, that is, her salvation was of her doing – not hers alone mind you – but her doing none the less.
God rewards sinners who come in faith [willing and obedient] with the gift of eternal life.
1. Why could the woman now “…Go in peace”?
2. Whose faith saved the woman? Who did the acting which resulted in her salvation? Was it the woman’s actions that saved her? Was it the woman’s actions ALONE that saved her?
3. What kind of faith saves, dead faith or living faith?
4. How do you think God feels when a sinner repents? When sinners harden their hearts?
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