I told you guys I would be sharing all the awesome stuff I am learning! I have not been this excited about something in a long time... ok, ever!
I want to say that my studies have really challenged me, making me think outside the box. I do want to clarify here before I go any further - this blog only represents my own personal thoughts. In no way do I think that I have the answers. In fact, I would encourage anyone to seek the answers for themselves. Dig into your Bible, pray, study and see where God leads you.
Let me start by stating the simple truth - Jesus is Messiah. He is God. He came to die, so that we could live. If you accept Jesus as your Savior, then you can have life eternally.
I have always believed that Jesus died for my sins, and I must confess my sins to Him, daily, to be forgiven. I also have believed that if I died with unconfessed sin, that I would have to stand before Him and be judged.
Recently, after hearing my cousin Shane speak on this very subject, I began to wonder if that was how it worked after all. Let me give you the scripture reference that caused me to rethink this.
John 8 tells us the story of the adulteress woman. The Bible says she was "caught in the act of adultery". Ok, lets think about this for a moment - caught in the act. How mortifying. Considering she was caught in the act, likely she was unclothed. Wouldn't you guess that? They were looking to publicly humiliate her, do you think they gave her time to get dressed? I would guess not. So they drag her, possibly unclothed, to Jesus. They say to Him, "The law of Moses says to stone her, what do you say?"
Jesus doesn't immediately answer them. He just bends down and starts writing in the dirt (I love how He just kind of ignores them for a bit!). They keep harassing Him for an answer. Meanwhile, this poor woman is lying there face down on the ground. Finally Jesus answers, "Alright, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone." Then, he bends down and starts writing in the dirt again. Can you imagine? LOL! The Pharisees were probably arms raised, ready to throw that stone, then they hear the last part! I would love to know what went through their minds! I am so going to ask Jesus that one day!
Anyway, one by one, they all left, until it was just Jesus and the woman. Here is where it is stinkin' cool. Jesus is a genius, I tell you! Sure the law of Moses says to stone her, but the law also states that two or more witnesses must be present to convict (Deut 19:15). Obviously, He knew that. He decided to doodle in the sand until they all went away. He "bought her time" so to speak! So they are all gone now and Jesus says to the woman, "Where are your accusers? Didn't even one of them condemn you?" The woman looks up, and realizes the Pharisees are gone - "No, Lord."
And then Jesus says, "Neither do I. Now go and sin no more."
WOO! "Neither do I." Y'all! That is some good stuff! Here is where my mind camps for a moment. No condemnation, judgement, harshness, anger. Just mercy, grace, acceptance, love.
Another example- when Romans came to arrest Jesus, what happened to the disciples? They left him, completely abandoned him. Not only that, Peter even denied he knew Jesus. Yikes.
However, after the resurrection, Jesus appeared on the beach one morning. Several of the disciples, including Peter, were coming in from a night of fishing. They saw Jesus on the beach, where He had prepared breakfast for them. And you know what? Jesus didn't even say, "GUYS! What happened? Why did you abandon me in my hour of need?" He never even brought it up. Instead, He loved on them, and fixed them a tasty breakfast. No condemnation.
Why? Grace. Mercy. Love.
One more. Remember the story of the thief, hanging on the cross beside Jesus? Clearly this was someone that had done bad things. He says to Jesus, "Remember me when you come into your kingdom." And Jesus says to him, "I assure you, today you will be with me in Paradise."
The thief didn't pray the "sinners prayer". Jesus didn't quote the "Roman Road" to him. The thief didn't confess his sins. All he did was acknowledge that Jesus was God. And in mercy, grace and love, Jesus promised him an eternal future.
There are more examples, but this post is already a book. Like I said above, I don't claim in any way that this is fact. Just my personal thoughts.
There is no condemnation in Him. We are righteous because we are covered by His blood. Nothing we do can earn that. He paid the price for all of our sins - not just the confessed ones. When we accept Him in our hearts as Lord, and confess we are sinners, we are covered. Often times it is taught - Do not sin, so God doesn't condemn you. However Jesus taught, "I do not condemn you. Now go and sin no more." Big difference.
Just as He said, "It. Is. Finished." I believe Him.