Growing up we learn that there are consequences for our actions. When we disobey our parents, we are punished. When we break the law, we get a ticket or go to jail. Have you ever been caught doing something wrong, but were given mercy instead of punishment? This doesn’t happen often, but for me when it has I was left with an incredible feeling of relief, gratitude and a resolve not to do it again.
Just like Jesus didn’t hold the sins of the woman caught in adultery against her neither does He hold our sins against us! We are all guilty because of our sins and we deserve the full consequence of our sins, which according to scripture is death and eternal separation from God’s presence. However, because of the glorious grace of God, Jesus stepped in took upon Himself the weight of sin and the punishment we deserved. He paid the debt we could not pay and as such we can receive forgiveness for our sins. We can receive His eternal life rather than death.
We simply have to receive it.
Receive it. That might be the most challenging part. We tend to want to earn things, but salvation is not something we could ever earn by being good enough or avoiding sin. In fact, Jesus didn’t tell the woman to stop sinning until after He had shown mercy. It is once we receive His mercy that we begin to change our behavior, not the other way around.
This is not illustrated better anywhere than in the exchange Jesus had with one of the men hanging on the cross next to His. This man was a thief. Most likely He was guilty of pretty serious crimes because hanging on a cross was a cruel punishment, reserved for the vilest of criminals. This thief recognized that unlike himself, Jesus was innocent and believed that He was the son of God. The thief looked at Jesus and asked Him to, “Remember me in Your Kingdom.” Jesus looked upon this man, moments away from death and said, “Today you will be with me in paradise.”
Jesus offered forgiveness and salvation to this man who not only deserved to die, but surely would die for his crimes. This thief would have no opportunity to ever do any righteous deed to prove his salvation. Yet, Jesus freely and fully forgave him and invited him into the Kingdom of God.
The same invitation that He gives to us today.
Jesus doesn’t hold our sins against us. He doesn’t wait for us to change before loving us. He gives us life instead of the death we deserve. Jesus shows mercy instead of judgement, even the one who deserved to die.
THINK ABOUT THIS:
- Do you believe that Jesus not only can forgive you, but wants to forgive you?
- How will your life change after receiving His forgiveness?
PRAY: Lord, I receive the forgiveness you offer. Thank You for loving me and showing me mercy.
John 8:10-11 (NLT) Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
11 “No, Lord,” she said.
And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
Micah 7:18 (NKJV) He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in mercy
James 2:13 (NLT) There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you.
James 2:13b (NKJV) Mercy triumphs over judgment.
Romans 3:23 (KJV) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Romans 6:23 (KJV) For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Luke 23:39-43 (NLT) One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed, “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself—and us, too, while you’re at it!”
40 But the other criminal protested, “Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? 41 We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”
43 And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”