“As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd. ‘Teacher,’ they said to Jesus, ‘this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?’ They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, ‘All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!’ Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, ‘Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?’ ‘No, Lord,’ she said. And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I. Go and sin no more.'” – John 8:3-11 (NLT)
There are many cultural beliefs and lifestyles that head in a directly opposite direction than the way that is revealed to us through the scriptures. How can we unwaveringly hold to biblical principles and at the same time express the grace of God to our culture?
One of the best ways to have the mind of Christ is to study the life of Christ. Jesus was in a situation once where there were those who wanted to prove their unwavering hold to the scriptural teachings on adultery, so they found a woman who was living an adulterous lifestyle and brought her to Jesus. Jesus’ response showed clearly that he held to the principles of scripture, not only under the category of adultery but also under the categories of the sinfulness of all humanity and that forgiveness for sin is available. About human sinfulness Jesus said, “… let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone.” About forgiveness for sin Jesus declared, “Neither do I (condemn you).” About adultery Jesus said, “Go and sin no more.”
We can’t unwaveringly hold to part of the Bible, ignore other parts of it, and show the world what biblical Christianity looks like. One of the amazing attributes of God is that at all times He is 100% righteous, gracious, just, merciful, and holy. He doesn’t stop being one to be the other. As we encounter and engage with the parts of our culture that embrace a lifestyle that is not biblical, we need to do it like Jesus did – loving holiness, loving people, and helping others to see that there is forgiveness and a better way to live available that God has provided.
Talk to God about this today. Are there sinful parts of our culture where your expression makes it seem that you hate both the sin and the sinner? Does your expression make our culture think that God really doesn’t care about issues that the Bible clearly says are sin? Ask God to help you be strong in embracing all that scripture declares to be true, and at the same time strong in expressing love and forgiveness to even the worst of sinners.