Grace is an intrusion of the Kingdom of God into the “real world”, and the “real world” is always scandalized by it.
1 But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
2 And early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach them.
3 And the scribes and the Pharisees *brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the midst,
4 they *said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act.
5 “Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?”
6 And they were saying this, testing Him, in order that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down, and with His finger wrote on the ground.
7 But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”
8 And again He stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
9 And when they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the midst.
10 And straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?”
11 And she said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go your way. From now on sin no more.”
(John 8:1-11, NASB).
Grace is an intrusion of the Kingdom of God into the “real world”, and the “real world” is always scandalized by it. When the woman was caught in the act of adultery, she sowed the seeds that led to reaping the judgment in that culture of being stoned to death. If you are thinking, they shouldn’t stone her for that, you’re not catching the flavor of this. Whatever the world’s judgments are on YOUR sin, these are the stones and that is your adultery you were caught in.
Jesus stepped in and the Kingdom of God was manifested on earth as it is in heaven, and her condemners were all driven away. His kingdom had come, and His will was done on earth as it is in heaven. We must pray for the kingdom of God to come in this way, on earth as in heaven. Fears of the liberty of grace are always about fears of present practical judgment on the injustices that sin produces, with no faith at all that the Kingdom of God, Christ’s grace and truth (John 1:14,17), might be manifested on earth. You might say, do you mean that sinners should just get away with it? I stand with Jesus in saying – yes. Yes I do. He let me get away with it. He let you get away with it. Now if I go my way and sin no more, it is to follow Him and to swim in the ocean of His grace and truth!
But wait a minute, what about the part where He said, “go your way AND SIN NO MORE?” You really think he meant that in a condemning and rejecting way? I have a friend that had a serious heart attack, and had to have bypass surgery. He was told to eat better, exercise, take his medicine, etc. Basically he was told to go his way and sin no more. Well, he did terrible at those things. He ate what he wanted, neglected his exercise, and was sporadic with his meds. Guess what happened? He had a stroke. One whole side of his body is paralyzed now. When they took him to the hospital, do you think the doctors said, “HEY! We told you to go your way and sin no more! We’re not treating you!” Of course not! The same mercy applied. Is God less gracious than these? Of course not. Would it have been better for him to have heeded their advice? Of course!
It is always better for us to go and sin no more. However, we ought never to read into this that God intends to reject us if we do sin more. The same grace applies to your future as applies to your past. The grace we want is the grace that forgives us, and cleanses us from the unrighteousness – but the cleansing is just as much a gift as the forgiveness. God is forever faithful – that is the message of grace. And grace seeks to destroy the law of reaping what you sow on earth as it does in heaven – all the time. It is grace which opens the door to the gift of confession and cleansing, not our anemic and self-serving repentance.
There is not a person clamoring for that woman’s judgment that didn’t drop their stone and slink away. I say this to myself as much as to everyone else: drop your damned stone! Know that whatever He wrote in the sand would have nailed your sin too! Come to the universe of grace, and pray for it to manifest His genuine love and mercy and truth on earth as it is manifest in heaven!
Read the scripture from this perspective and see if it is not truly exactly what He means:
9 “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name.
10 ‘Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.
11 ‘Give us this day our daily bread.
12 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.’
14 “For if you forgive men for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
15 “But if you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.
(Matthew 6:9-15, NASB).