The ground is level at the foot of the cross....recovering addict rescued by the saving grace of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Monday, December 27, 2010

The True Power of Grace

In John 8:1-11 we read the story of the woman caught in adultery. This is such a powerful story, especially if you're dealing with sexual sin. We don't know exactly the circumstances of the woman that was caught in adultery. How did she get to the point where she was having an affair? When this affair started, did she ever imagine that she would find herself at the point of being stoned? Did she have children? Did she love the man she was having an affair with? Did he tell her the things that she had been longing to hear? So many questions.

The Pharisees are quick to see this event as an opportunity to trap Jesus, but Jesus refuses to take the bait despite being battered with questions. Instead he issues a simple challenge, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." Afterwards he went back to the ground and started writing. One by one the accusers left and finally it was just Jesus and the woman. Here is the one man that she knows can still accuse and condemn her. Here is the one man that has the authority to cast the stone. Here is the one man that knows the truth.

Eventually this is where we all will be, alone, one on one with Jesus, caught in our sin. Our defenses, excuses, reasons, will all amount to nothing. We have no defense and now must answer for what we've done. The law is clear and our sins, like the woman's, are punishable by eternal death.

Yet here's the absolutely, breath-taking, amazing portion. Jesus' response is not to condemn us but rather give us an opportunity to leave our sinful life behind and walk with Him. Despite being trapped in a lifestyle that we thought we could never get out of, Jesus offers us an escape that costs us nothing and everything all at once.

For so many of us, leaving our life of sin behind is one of the hardest things to do. Like Jacob Marley, in the Christmas Carol, Satan wants to drag us down with guilt and shame over our sins. But the thing is by accepting Jesus, we're already free. The chains of our past are just ghost images with no real hold on us, unless we allow them.

Breaking free from a life of sin is one of the most difficult things to do. I worked with one man that was struggling with sexual addiction. He joined a recovery group but refused to change his lifestyle. Over and over again he would relapse until finally the group leader had no choice but to ask him to leave the group until he was serious about his commitment to recovery. His departing statement was that now he would be free to live his life how he wanted.

We read countless times in the Gospels stories of Jesus freeing people and then instructing them to sin no more. To leave their life of sin. To not return to that which trapped them in the past. We never find out if all these people were successful or not. Chances are likely that some were and others were not. Ultimately the decision to accept freedom in Christ and to live in that freedom is ours to make.

So may the Lord open your eyes to see what true freedom is all about. May He fortify your walk with Christ as you walk out of the darkness and into the light. May He give you the strength to testify of the power of His Amazing Grace so that others may experience the same freedom that He has given you.