Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Redeeming Love

Read Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. You are Angel. So am I.
We are The Woman at The Well. The Adulterous Woman. That's US before Christ!

John 8:1-11
Early in the morning (at dawn), He came back into the temple [court], and the people came to Him in crowds. He sat down and was teaching them,
When the scribes and Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery. They made her stand in the middle of the court and put the case before Him.
...Now Moses in the Law commanded us that such [women--offenders] shall be stoned to death. But what do You say [to do with her--what is Your sentence]?
This they said to try (test) Him, hoping they might find a charge on which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger.
However, when they persisted with their question, He raised Himself up and said, Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.
Then He bent down and went on writing on the ground with His finger.
They listened to Him, and then they began going out, conscience-stricken, one by one, from the oldest down to the last one of them, till Jesus was left alone, with the woman standing there before Him in the center of the court.
When Jesus raised Himself up, He said to her, Woman, where are your accusers? Has no man condemned you?
She answered, No one, Lord! And Jesus said, I do not condemn you either. Go on your way and from now on sin no more.

John 14:15-18
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.

I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

Recently, I attended a conference by MarketLife Ministries in Myrtle Beach. The theme:the Gospel. The Message:The Gospel. The Application:Preach the Gospel to yourself EVERY day. (Sound familiar CIT alumni?)
As a redeemed Pharisee I have always thought secretly that "yes, Jesus earned my salvation but NOW I must earn/be worthy of what He did for me." I honestly thought God loves me more when I "succeed" and didn't realize this meant I thought He loves me less the rest of the time! When I read about the lost, sinful and broken people Jesus met and whose lives He transformed I tend to put myself in the story...don't you?
But I realized recently that I had been putting myself in as a bystander...an innocent bystander.

I'm that sinful woman. I'm neither David nor Goliath, I'm one of the cowardly Israelites who didn't love and trust God enough to stand in His name and  trust His power and might. I'm Paul when he was still Saul. I am Judas.And I am Peter denying Christ by my actions at times.

BUT I am also the Peter Jesus restored and commanded to Love and Feed His Sheep.

I realized I had a major issue backwards. Notice the order in the passages above (neither do I condemn you THEN go and sin no more and if you LOVE me THEN obey my commandments)
 I don't obey to prove my love.I receive HIS love, I love IN RESPONSE, and the overflow, the effect of those loves, is the Holy Spirit teaching me and helping me to obey.

This changed the rest of my life. I guess others understood grace better, earlier in their walk with Christ. But I then re-enacted the shortest verse in the Bible..."Jesus wept."
I did. I wept. And the weight of performing to earn God's favor fell away. I understood why the words "It is finished!" should be cause for rejoicing. Jesus was the only one who could perfectly fulfill the Law, and He did, FOR US, because we can't and could never.

Like Christ I have resolved to now daily preach to myself Christ Crucified and Resurrected and to let that transform and empower me to do the work to which He has called me!

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