31 Jesus-Benefits: I’m not Threatened

“’Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin’” (John 8:11).

Day 12 and I really admire people who stand for what they believe in without compromise. Jesus is absolutely perfect at that, but we needn’t feel threatened by Him because:

Jesus is against the wrongdoing, not the person.

There are others, but probably the best example is the woman caught in adultery in John chapter 8. The teachers of the Law want to stone her and make a spectacle of her, but Jesus says the one who’s never done any wrong should throw the first stone. Gradually they realise their imperfection and drift away, until only Jesus is left with the woman. At that moment, He tells her He’s not going to condemn her, but that’s not all; He tells her to leave her life of sin. He’s not condemning, but He’s not condoning either. Just because He loves this woman, He’s not suddenly going to rethink His stance on adultery. Adultery is still wrong, but she’s a woman loved by God, who’s not being excluded from His saving work.

We can be no-compromise people, like Jesus when He lived on earth. Some would say Christians hate homosexuals, for instance, but you can hate homosexuality without hating those who practise it. Let’s be against the wrongdoing, not the people.

“He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).

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A-Z: No Compromise

“I often warned you that many people are living as enemies of the cross of Christ.  And now with tears in my eyes, I warn you again that they are headed for hell!  They worship their stomachs and brag about the disgusting things they do.  All they can think about are the things of this world.  But we are citizens of heaven and are eagerly waiting for our Saviour to come from there. …  Dear friends, I love you and long to see you.  Please keep on being faithful to the Lord” – Philippians 3:18-20, 4:1.  N in the A-Z challenge is for ‘No compromise’.

 

How seriously do we take sin?  Have we become comfortable with it?  Paul took it very seriously when he said:  “A little yeast can spread through the whole batch of dough” – 1 Corinthians 5:6.

There has to be a place for confronting sin – in ourselves and in the lives of others.  If you’re anything like me, when you talk to some people about this, they’ll tell you we shouldn’t judge; we should leave that to God.  I don’t agree.  Jesus said “Do not judge”, but He didn’t say do not confront sin, and I don’t think they’re the same thing.

The teachers of the Law wanted to judge the woman who was having an affair (John 8:3-11).  They said she should be stoned to death.  That’s what I think judging is:  It’s dolling out consequences for someone’s sin.  Jesus didn’t want that woman stoned to death, but He did want her to know He took her sin seriously.  “Go now, but don’t sin anymore,” He told her.

That woman was someone who hadn’t become one of Jesus’ followers, but what about those people who do know Him and call themselves Christians?  This is the uncomfortable bit – well it is for me.  I’ll let Paul say it, ‘cos he says it best.  “I was talking about your own people who are immoral or greedy or worship idols or curse others or get drunk or cheat.  Don’t even eat with them!  Why should I judge outsiders?  Aren’t we supposed to judge only church members?  God judges everyone else.  The Scriptures say, ‘Chase away any of your own people who are evil’” – 1 Corinthians 5:11-13.  Do we do this?

Transformed

Someone at church this morning encouraged us to think of Jesus not only as our Comforter, but our Challenger. Back home afterwards, I got to thinking of the woman caught in adultery – John 8:1-11.

People often read this passage and focus on the love of God, saying: “Jesus doesn’t condemn”.

They’re right; He doesn’t condemn, but He does ask something of us. “Go, and sin no more”, or “Leave your life of sin”.

For the woman caught in adultery, that must have meant a big change of lifestyle. Presumably, she wouldn’t have committed the sin if there was no attraction there. As followers of Jesus, we don’t stop being tempted, and we’re not suddenly zapped out of the community where we live to start afresh somewhere different. She would’ve had the same people around her, including the man she had feelings for, who’d never met Jesus and may not have wanted things to change.

When she was with Jesus, there was no escaping the fact she could have been stoned to death, and owed Him her very life. But as the days, weeks and months went by, as she looked through the window and saw the man she loved walking down the road … I don’t know about you, but I sometimes wonder what happened to that woman. Did she make it to the end of the race? Is she in heaven now, sharing in Jesus’ glory? Did she allow Him to transform her life, or did she desert Him and go back to the life she’d left behind?

“Leave your life of sin” can be a tremendous challenge, but Jesus is a tremendous Saviour! Just like that woman, we need to remember His part in our lives. Let’s never forget what He did for us that day on the cross. God is a just God; He can’t tolerate sin. We should have been cut off from God for the things we’d done wrong, but God loved us so much, He sent Jesus to take that punishment, so we could be in a loving relationship with Him. Let’s give Him our gratitude, and our love; and with His help, let’s live to please Him.