Summary: The new life in Christ

Theme: I am doing a new deed

Text: Is. 43:16-21; Phil. 3:8-14; Jn. 8:1-11

Read Isaiah 43:18 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See I am doing a new thing!”

God is doing a new thing and this is evident all around us. We see it in the changed lives of many people who have received God’s forgiveness and have been freed from captivity to sin. One such man was born to a godly mother who died when he was only a child. He was brought up by his sea captain father and taken to sea when he was just eleven. He grew up and earned a reputation for drinking and using foul language. He was involved in every sin imaginable and ended up trading in slaves. One day during a storm, when everything appeared hopeless, he desperately called out to God for forgiveness and deliverance. God answered his prayer and he emerged from that ship a completely different person. He later became the chaplain of the English parliament. His name was John Newton. His changed life led him to write an inspired song with the words ‘Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see.’ BL God is doing a new thing. He forgave John Newton and freed him from captivity to sin to become a completely new person.

Just like John Newton we all are sinners who need God’s forgiveness. Not too long ago it was widely believed that human nature was fundamentally good and that evil was largely the result of ignorance and poverty. It was also believed that through education and social reforms people would be able to overcome evil and live happily together in peace and harmony. But history has proved this theory to be false. Even in welfare states where educational standards are very high there is still a lot of evil in the form of violence, crime and murder. This points to the fact that the problem of evil is found in man himself, and not merely in the society. The problem stems from our separation from God. When Adam and Eve sinned they were expelled from God’s presence, the source of all goodness. This meant that all their descendants were born without access to His presence.

Sin does not only separate us from God; it also brings us into captivity. We have all sinned and need God’s forgiveness and deliverance. Consciously or unconsciously, our inner being longs for it. There are times when we actually cry out for it, even though in our restlessness, confusion, loneliness, and fear we may not know what we are crying for. To receive God’s forgiveness we need to acknowledge and repent of our sin. The woman caught committing adultery is no different from any of us. She needed to repent to receive God’s forgiveness just as we all do. Jesus forgave her with the words “go and sin no more” which could only mean that she had repented in her heart. The Pharisees and Scribes, on the other hand, were unable to repent because they mistakenly believed they obeyed the Law and therefore were without sin. But they had even sinned by failing to bring both parties involved in the act of adultery as requested by the Law. Their real concern in this matter was not obedience to the Law but trapping Jesus to contradict the Law. If Jesus had answered their question by saying it was not right to stone the woman they would have accused Him of contradicting the Law of Moses. If He had said she should be stoned, He would not only be accused of not being merciful and forgiving but also of breaking the Roman law which did not allow Jews to sentence people to death. Jesus, however, knew their plan and suggested that those who were without sin carry out the penalty of the Law. Jesus was trying to reveal to them the sinful nature of their hearts, which were filled with lies, hatred, and murder. He was showing them that they were no better than the woman. He was not only concerned about the woman but also about her accusers and gave them also the opportunity to repent. However, they turned down His offer and went away. This is the same way we often behave. We believe we are righteous and condemn others for the very sins we are guilty of ourselves. Let us not leave God’s presence without acknowledging and repenting of our own sins.

God is doing a new thing by taking the initiative in Jesus Christ to deliver us from sin and its consequences. Jesus Christ, who Himself was without sin, not only forgives and delivers from captivity to sin; He also gives us power over sin. Christ does not want us to come to Him and continue to lead a life of defeat and discouragement. He wants us to live a life that glorifies His name. After all, His crucifixion dealt with every problem related to our rebellion against God. It restored the divine authority and dominion that God had given to man. Jesus took our place and endured all the evil consequences that were due by divine justice to our sin. It was the only way for God to offer us forgiveness without compromising His own eternal justice.

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