Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Conscience Conviction


John 3:17  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

The concept of condemnation in this verse simply means that Jesus did not come into the world to accuse the world or to judge and declare people guilty and worthy of punishment. That determination was already made. Jesus’ focus was aimed at saving the world from the judgment which had already been declared. Jesus is not a condemner but rather a Savior.

The picture of Jesus in the scriptures is not that of one who curses but rather one who blesses; not a borrower but a lender; not a sickness but rather a physician; not a taker but a giver; not one who puts down but one who lifts up; not one who accuses but one who justifies; not one who hurts but one who helps; not a judge but rather an attorney for our defense…

1 John 2
1 ¶  My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
2  And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

This is not to say that sin is ok … but if we sin … we have an Advocate (Attorney) sitting right beside the Judge, bailing us out, pleading our defense and paying our fines. This brings us to our Bible story for the day.

John 8
2  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.
3  Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst,
4  they said to Him, "Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act.
5  "Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?"
6  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.
7  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."
8  And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9  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.
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."

Commentary on the story ... These men know that this might just trick Jesus – why – because they know Him to be a man who does not condemn but rather forgives … Conclude the story by realizing that sin is not ok … but it can be pardoned, at least from heaven’s perspective – although it may yet have to be dealt with and/or temporarily punished on earth.

Just because God forgives us and forgets our transgressions, does not mean people will!

God has not always been as focused on people’s sins as some may think.

Acts 17:30  Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent.

God chooses the route of instruction before correction – education before annihilation. He treats us like His children who sometimes need a little encouragement and some instruction on how to do the right thing.

Hebrews 12:5 You have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening (nurture; training; education; cultivation) of the LORD, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked (convicted; corrected) by Him.”

We saw in John 8 how Jesus accomplished this type of conviction. He did not argue with the accusers or fuss at the woman, nor did He curse them or punish them by His own hand – Jesus simply found the best way to educate and cultivate a heart of conscious conviction. Only this would bring about the change they needed.

People changed from the inside out, not from the outside in.

Only a “Conscience Conviction” can lead a person to lasting change.

Romans 14:22  … Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.

1 John 3:21  Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God.

Condemnation means to find fault … if we find no fault in our heart – no conscience conviction – then we have confidence before God.

In light of these truths … what should we do?

1.   Take an inventory of our lives in light of the Gospel.
2.   Refuse the condemnation which invites punishment.
3.   Welcome the conscience conviction which leads to change.
4.   Tell God you’re sorry for your sin then go and sin no more.
5.   If you don’t feel bad for the sin in your life, ask God why.

Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

But – can you truly say that God has no problem with anything in your life?

Perhaps what we all need to increase our spiritual walk with God. You can begin that walk today and the first step only requires an honest, heart-felt prayer. Bow your heads with me now and ask God for a deeper walk with Him.