Guilt Verses Grace

The Book of John   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Bad Behavior

When we are born often times we are shown and taught what bad behaviors are so much more than we are taught what the right behaviors are. We tell toddlers not to touch outlets, we tell children to behave in class and do not talk out of turn and stay in your seat. When children become teenagers we tell them to abstain from sex, do not have a baby out of wedlock, and stay away from drugs and alcohol.
When people become grown we give them a list of rules of what we believe it means to be a morally sound adult. One thing we have not done as much as we should is show people how to bounce back from mistakes, how to deal with accusations and moments of guilt. We have often exiled entire families, generations and people because grace and empathy did not carry the same weight as accountability and consequences.


As we approach the 8th chapter of John we are introduced to a scene in which Jesus went up to the Mount of Olives. That morning Jesus goes to the temple and people gather around Him and He’s teaching them.
The mount of Olives historically brings a lot emotion to the forefront of this text. It was the southern hill, overlooking Jebusite Jerusalem and the city of David. It’s also called the Mount of Offense because this is where Solomon build temples for his foreign wives. Historically this was a place of what we would consider to be marital misconduct. It’s no secret that David made missteps and committed adultery, it’s not secret that Solomon has more than a few women.
We have to be careful about the historical grievances that we do not check. Behavior unchecked in families and in our churches can become behavior and eventually culture if we are not careful.
Romans 12:2 “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
Resmaa Menakem quotes in My Grandmother’s Hands - Trauma decontextualized in a person looks like personality. Trauma decontextualized in a family looks like family traits. Trauma in a people looks like culture.

Accusers are Interrupters

Be careful of the people that are willing to interrupt the growth and development of others to prove a point.
John 8:3-6 “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.”
Be careful with the people that will try to prove a point but ostracizing you.
There’s a lot of inconsistencies with this passage. “this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act.
This is definitely a punishable act. Punishable to the point of death.
Leviticus 20:10 “‘The man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, he who commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death.”
The law clearly states that both individuals should be put to death. Nonetheless the difference between the Law of Moses and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the grace and mercy that is attached to the love of Christ.
Forgiveness, grace, and mercy does not alleviate consequences nonetheless it rids of the foolishness attached to the holier than thou people who believe that they are better than you because they haven’t been the victim of the same temptation as me.
Sin is a paramount issue in this text but so is misogyny. Sin is an issue in this text but so is the prideful nature and attempt to accuse Jesus of heresy.
We need to be very careful, its not that we all haven’t sinned, we just need to be thankful that God hasn’t exposed some of us. I’m certain that if some of our sins were exposed we would not be able to move forward like we think we could.
The Greek definition in the new testament defines this as an act on both the part of the man as well as the woman.
Let’s make this plain, any man that is willing to allow you to take the punishment of a sin that you committed together is not someone you need to be with.
Adam and Eve both experienced consequences, Abraham and Sarah both experienced consequences, David and Bathsheba both experienced consequences.

Sometimes the Accusation Doesn’t Have Anything to Do With You

As the young folks say, this woman caught in adultery caught a crazy stray!
Her act was a punishable offense, nonetheless “This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him”.
They really did not care about the woman caught in adultery but because the Pharisees were haters they were willing to go to endless lengths to destroy his image and character.
One thing about grace and mercy is the fact that they are from God and characters of God. You might try to slander my name, you might try to destroy my character but I know a God that can help even the worst of us bounce back, and if we are truly honest the main people accusing need to take some time to look at all the things God has helped them bounce back from.

Condemnation on All Sides

Sure the woman was guilty but where is the man? Both of them deserved to die. Nonetheless Jesus was too slick to be tripped up. Jesus trapped the trappers.
“Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear”.
When it comes to the haters in life sometimes we have to act like we are ignoring them. I’ve always wanted to know what Jesus wrote in the ground but the power was not in what He wrote but what He said.
Now Jesus asked a question, when we are having an issue with the sins of others let us remember “without sin”, means pertaining to being without guilt! Guiltless, sinless: Jesus literally says whichever one of you is guiltless may throw the first stone at her”.

It’s About Redemption

This is not about making us feel guilty about our sin. We should feel guilty about our sin. I have to change if I truly believe that Jesus sacrificed His life for my sake.
John 8:9-11 “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.””
The power of Jesus, the ability to be better removes the world’s attempt to charge us as guilty until proven innocent.
They had already made the decision that she was guilty, and the left the man behind. They had ill intentions from the jump. Thank God that the ill intentions of haters could never trump the goodness of Jesus.

A college freshman went to the dorm laundry room with his dirty clothes bundled into an old sweatshirt. But he was so embarrassed by how dirty his clothes were that he never opened the bundle. He merely pushed it into a washing machine and when the machine stopped pushed the bundle into a dryer and finally took the still-unopened bundle back to his room. He discovered, of course, that the clothes had gotten wet and then dry, but not clean.

God says, “Don’t keep your sins in a safe little bundle. I want to do a thorough cleansing in your life—all the dirty laundry of your life.

Listen you’re already in the laundry mat of life because you need clean up some stuff. Regardless of how pretty the basket or the bag that people are carrying their dirty clothes of life in, they’re there because they have some stuff that needs to be cleaned up. Your bag might not be pretty, but the clothes inside are still too dirty to wear!
Guilt says I don’t deserve a second chance meanwhile Grace says go and sin no more.
Guilt says I don’t deserve anything, grace says here’s life and more abundantly.
Guilt says I’m worthless, Grace says I was worthy to die for.
Guilt says I’m no good, Grace says Jesus is good enough!
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