UCAN sharing: Get out of Jail free
Scripture: 1 Jn 1:9
10 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?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” Jn 8:10-11
In the board game Monopoly there is a “Get out of jail free card”. When a player has this card and is forced to go to jail they can use this card and not lose a turn. In our spiritual life it is easy to forget the debt that Christ has paid for us and is paying. All our sins he took on himself at the cross and this covers all of man’s sin forever. In daily life without God man sins continuously without though to how the debt will be paid off. As a result man without God must face judgment and will be condemned. God knew this so he planned Jesus’ death and resurrection to allow us to escape the wrath of his judgment (Eph. 2:3-4). But unless we remain humble and close to God Christians have a way of taking for granted the debt paid and how great it really is. When this happens we will lose our focus on God’s love through the cross. It was love that kept Jesus on the cross so that we could be pardoned. It is now up to us to daily remember that the life we lead we lead because it was given as a gift at a high price.
Everything in life wears out. Our lives do too and we all are aging and this means we are getting closer to death. When we die we can no longer sin but we also can no longer deal with sin and it presence that creates a debt for our souls. Hebs. 9:27 states that all men die once, so no reincarnation, and then must face judgment. For man this is terrifying because in this life we accumulate so much sin and we know in our hearts we can’t pay it back so the only remaining verdict is eternal damnation. Nothing that is sinful and temporal can enter the kingdom of God. How can this be if the kingdom is pure and holy? So sinful man will be cast away. This truth is the source of great fear for man knows his wickedness and knows that there is a God (Rom 1:20). Man may choose to rely on his reasoning and understanding and deny God but that doesn’t do away with God’s existence so man fails to deal with sin.
Enter the power of God’s grace. If we all had a limit as to how much grace we could get during our lives we would face the serious problem of running out of grace and being left in sin. It is like fuel in an airplane traveling far across the ocean. The plane must carry enough fuel to get across or else it will fall in the ocean. This is the reality of man that all we do is limited and flawed. All our resources including our lives are governed by time and will run out sometime in the future. But God is not limited and neither is his grace. God has enough love and sin cleansing power to cover all of humanity’s sin from all time. This is an amazing amount of grace and it came about through the death and resurrection of Jesus and it will never stop being available. The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you. Jer. 31:3 If God’s love towards us is eternal then it has always been, even before we existed. Jeremiah 1:5 tells us that God knew us before we were formed in the womb. This means that God has been thinking about us forever and his love for us has covered us from before we were. We must stop and take time to let this sink in deep. If we fail to embrace this deep down we will find pride will rise in us but as we see God’s love despite our unfaithfulness it creates humility and a desire to draw near God.
Jesus throughout his life demonstrated this powerful forgiveness by extending it to the least of society. Prostitutes and tax collectors were seen as the low of the low in society yet Jesus sat and ate with them. In Him they saw something they didn’t seen in the Pharisee, compassion. When the adulterous woman was brought before him, he gave mercy and forgiveness instead of condemnation. He could have thrown the stone
but he didn’t. He gave her forgiveness. Lastly when Jesus was dining at a Pharisee’s house a prostitute came and poured oil all over his feet and crying she wiped them with her hair. Jesus speaking to the Pharisee, who didn’t see a person but a sinner in the woman, tells him that those who love much have been forgiven much (Lk 7:47) and then he forgives her sins. There is always enough grace for our sin.
From the scriptures we can get insight to how to walk before God’s grace. First, we need to get it in to us that only Jesus has the grace that takes away sin. In Revelation 5 Jesus is described as the lamb that was slain (V6). It is because Jesus choose to step forward and die for us that he is worshipped as being worthy to receive all glory. This is the same Jesus that comes to us and sees our sins yet continues to love us and give us grace so
we must always keep before us our need for Jesus as our source of the grace and forgiveness.
Second, we see that from God’s point of view his forgiveness is always there and able but we may not always believe this. We face two intense obstacles to our faith, our minds and the enemy’s lies. When we sin we lose connection with the presence of God. God is holy and can’t abide sin so we move away from Him. Without the presence of God it is easy to begin to misjudge what is happening and what needs to be done. Our flesh or carnal nature wants power to get back in control so at this moment it can because God’s Spirit has been pushed aside by us. The desires of our flesh lead us away from God (Gal 5:17) and we begin to believe that God doesn’t care or that his power can’t help us. Doubt, hurt and fear begin to move and then the enemy shows up. The enemy plays to our weaknesses. He builds lies so cunning we can’t even see them. We start listening to them and fall further away.
All this happens because we look with our eyes not with God’s. If after we fall we realize our sin and turn to God immediately and confess what we have done then He can restore us. What we normally do though is to dwell on the sin and let our flesh the enemy have room to speak. We have forgotten the power of God’s love. This is often a product of our pride. We want what we want when we want it. James 4:4-10 explains that if we are carnal we won’t listen to God. We will pursue our own way and this is pride and God resists this. But if we see our need for God’s grace, like air to a drowning person then we will humbly come to Him crying out our need. At this moment we can give our lives back to him and His grace flows again. Once submitted we can resist the enemy and he must flee. When we step away from God we have forgotten who God is.
In the parable of the prodigal son the son sins greatly but the father waited and looked for his son. Only when the son saw how bad he had been did he realize his need. We all need to see how bad we are a part from grace. Sin gathers quickly. It changes and damages us. It causes us to lose our inheritance just like the son. Christians don’t need a get out of jail free card because the cell doors have been torn down by Jesus. The way home is just simple repentance. Turn away, acknowledge what you did and most importantly believe God still loves you and this is greater than your sin. We must always remember he wants us back.
No matter how sinful you have been the blood of Jesus can make you new. No matter how little you love God, God will always love you unconditionally. He is always waiting, longing for us to repent and be with Him. Choose today to believe in this love and live a repented, humble life.
Our Daily Bread, May 4, 2018 Before the Beginning