Death Sentence

She wasn’t the first and I’m certain not the last but, to Jesus, she was the reason He’d left Heaven with the adoration of an innumerable host of angels, to come to this earth, live the life of a servant, and to die in her place. To the crowd that surrounded Him, she was just a spectacle of worthless humanity, a woman whose life of sin had earned her the title of adulteress and the law declared she must die.

The reality is each one of us has been in her place. While our acts or sins may not be the same, we still stand arrayed “before the judgment seat of Christ,” condemned to a sentence of death.

As the scribes and Pharisees did to the woman so long ago, Satan does to each of us today. He stands as the “accuser of the brethren,” holding out your sins and mine for the entire universe to see, displaying all our secrets—yes those things we wish to keep hidden from view—in their most exaggerated light and we have no excuse. Like the woman, we bow our heads in shame waiting for the sentence of death and to feel the pain from “the first stone.”

But Jesus does not argue with Satan, for he is a conquered foe. Instead, He says “the LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?” And then He turns to you and says, “Take away the filthy garments from him. …Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.” (Zech. 3:2-4) The love that He so lavishly showered upon the woman caught in the snare of Satan, He desires to pour upon each one of us today.

Are you beginning to sense the freedom you have been given? Jesus proclaims for everyone to hear, “neither do I condemn thee….” (John 8:11) The burden of sin, with all its guilt and shame, has forever been removed and “as ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him.” (Colossians 2:6) You are free! “Sin shall not have dominion over you.” (Romans 6:14) Jesus has pardoned you from the sentence of death charged against you and now He desires to have you share your newfound freedom with others.

Today you can be the hands and feet of Jesus, lifting up others caught in the depths of sin and despair—whose hearts are longing for one simple word of comfort and cheer. Words that will set them free to a new life in Him. They to need to hear the Savior speaking through you and I can tell you from experience, by His grace, they will choose to “go and sin no more,” for they have found the Source of life and happiness in the One who gave His life to pay the death penalty for them.

—Pastor Steve Nelson