I’m going to take a little different direction in today’s blog, but I wonder if God might speak freedom to someone through this story. Do you remember Jn. 6:3-11… about the woman caught in adultery and how the Pharisees wanted to stone her? After all, the law said in Deut. 22:22 “If a man is found lying with a married woman, then both of them shall die, the man who lay with the woman and the woman, thus you shall purge the evil from Israel.”
Boom! Pretty harsh law, don’t you agree? What was Jesus response though? Jesus said that the person with no sin should throw the first stone. I wonder if Jesus may have quoted Deut. 22 to them and they suddenly realized the guy would have to be stoned too. Is that why they backed off? Or maybe they feared their own sins would be disclosed. At any rate, they all left.
The Pharisees wanted the woman condemned but Jesus chose to show compassion and simply exhorted her not to sin again. Then He let her go on her way.
Do you see the point here? The law condemns but Jesus shows mercy. I hear so many people today putting themselves under the law. Really? The law brings condemnation and death. It’s the Old Covenant, the one Jesus released us from.
But wait…He put us under a higher law, the law of love. We don’t have to be weighed down by a bunch of rules, do’s and don’ts. With any choice in life, we need to only ask, “If I do this, am I loving God, my neighbor and myself?” Clearly adultery, lying, stealing, murder, coveting, etc. are not activities born out of love. They are prompted by lust and greed. Do we really need a specific rule when we know and choose to follow the heart of God, His heart of love?
James 2:8 speaks of the law of love as being the “royal law.” In Greek, the word for royal is ‘basilikos’. It means regal, belonging to or befitting the sovereign, denoting the foundation of power. The royal law of love, then, is straight from the powerful foundation of God’s sovereignty.
In James 2:12, the law of love is also called the “law of liberty.” That means that to love is a law that brings freedom. Whereas the New Covenant law, driven by love, frees us, the Old Covenant law puts us in bondage and judgment. Thankfully, v. 13 says, “…mercy triumphs over judgment.” This is cause for rejoicing.
Think about it, if we put ourselves under the Old Covenant laws, then we must abide by the whole law and expect judgment. Would you have stoned the woman? I guess not. But that’s the consequence of the law. Thank God, Jesus brought mercy. Let Jesus words ring in your heart. “…I do not condemn you either… (Jn. 8:11).