The full message of grace
By Ivan Ho 1 August 2016
Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
John 8:2-12 NKJV
Jesus said to the woman who committed adultery, “I do not condemn you either. Go. From now on sin no more.” (NASB)
In other words, “I have forgiven you. Don‘t do it again”.
This is the true grace message which should be taught. Some grace teachers only teach the first part: “I do not condemn you” but leave out the second part of Jesus‘ message: ” From now on go and sin no more.”
These preachers only focus on the first part because the first part is popular, but the second part is not. The first part ie “God forgives us” does not require us to do anything. However, the second part of the message ie “Go and sin no more” requires us to change. If you tell people to change, they may leave your church, not because they don‘t agree with your message but because they don‘t want to change.
Some churches are full of people who don‘t want to change. In fact, churches that preach only forgiveness but leave out the message of repentance are usually very popular.
In fact, some may feel offended now just reading this message. Because of some people who feel offended, some preachers and leaders decide to only teach the grace message that does not require repentance, and usually their churches grow in numbers really quickly. Hence they release a half baked message, not unlike the first part of the dream that I have today. Such half truths can become very popular but will back fire on us sooner rather than later.
We can‘t change God‘s message just because some people have decided they don‘t want to change. Some people would embrace all the blessings of God, but when someone tell them to change their ungodly ways, they would get upset. Or they have tried to change but keep failing in the same things over and over again. Therefore they conclude that it is human nature and there is no point to change. What they are really saying is: “Jesus doesn‘t know what He is talking about.” If Jesus told the adulterous woman to sin no more, that means He has given her the power to change. God never tells us to do anything that can‘t be done. The power to change comes from God but it requires our willingness and cooperation. Some change overnight, others may take a longer time, but change we must.
When God brings us a new message, don‘t be too quick to release it. Allow it to work in our lives and change us, mould us and form us. Many people compromise God‘s message because they have not allowed God‘s word to work in them and change them. They change God‘s word to fit in to their unreformed old man nature. These messages are usually very attractive because a lot of people can identify with it. Instead of us measuring up to the standards of God‘s word, we measure God‘s word according to our sinful nature and weaknesses.
Jesus said to the woman who committed adultery: “Neither do I condemn you. From now on go and sin no more!” That is the grace message of Jesus in fullness!