Updated: Jan 15
“Yes, God does these things again and again for His people. He rescues them from the grave so they may enjoy the light of life” Job 33:29,30 NLT
You wait to hear what Jesus has to say not daring to look up. There is only silence from Him. The Pharisees insistently demand that Jesus give them an answer. They spare no words in going into the details of your affair. The man’s name whom you were with, when it happened, how long it has been going on for, how wrong it is, etc. Those who know you offer other titbits of information eagerly lapped up by those in hearing distance. The crowd grows larger. The gossip spreads. People are shocked to learn that it was you. They never expected it of you. You glance up long enough to catch the disappointment etched all over the face of one of your friends. Another glance in the opposite direction, and you see your father shaking his head in his hands wondering how his daughter could do such a thing. One final glance in yet another direction, and you see the face of a grandparent, livid with anger, pointing his finger at you and yelling, “stone her, stone her.” And the truth is that that is what you deserve. You slept with another man, destroyed his marriage and broke apart a family. As a Christian you knew better. You not only disappointed your friends, you disgraced your family, and you shamed yourself.
Jesus did not compromise justice in letting free the woman caught in adultery in the story above. If you are unfamiliar with it, take a moment to read it in the book of John, chapter 8. The act required that she be stoned to death. Jesus knew that. She knew that. Those gathered around her knew that. Her sin could not be excused, looked over, or passed by. There was only one reason why He would not condemn her. He would stand condemned in her place. She was to be free because He was to be beaten, whipped, and crucified for her. As His last breath expired from His bloodied body, the curtain in the temple, separating her from God, was torn in two. The earth shook and the rocks split as God rose up and declared over that woman, with a loud shout, “FORGIVEN”…and He declares it over you.
It doesn’t make sense, but it’s the truth. He does not treat us as our sins deserve. It costs us, it costs those we sinned against, and it costs Him. Yet He still forgives. It makes no sense.
When we do not grasp God’s forgiveness for us we can not enter into intimacy with Him. We end up living out our lives on the surface. We dance with smiles on our faces, but inwardly feel condemned by the very one we dance for. We move forward in ministry feeling like we are not worthy of such a calling. We sit in silence to hear His voice and feel accused and far from Him. Since we do not allow the blood of Jesus to pay for all our sins, we become busy on the outside trying to pay for the sin we feel still remains on the inside. We grasp whatever currency we can get our hands on in our attempts to pay for it. More often than not we run from God, the very One who longs to freely forgive and reconcile His children back to Himself.
Worship dance is birthed from a place of rest and a deep sense of being loved, forgiven, accepted and adored by God. Mary, the prostitute, knowing the forgiveness offered to her through Jesus, simply sat at His feet and did nothing…but adored Him. When she did rise to worship Him, she gave her very best. Scripture says that, she “ took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume (a year’s wages…maybe $40,000 today!); she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” (John 12: 3) Her sin of prostitution was so deep and so shameful that she had no hope of being able to buy her way to forgiveness. Jesus said His blood was payment enough and she believed Him. Believing this truth resulted in an act of worship which released a fragrance throughout the house that was both beautiful and excellent.
A heart that walks in condemnation does not believe that the Blood was enough. They reason in their mind that either their sin was too shameful, or it was committed one too many times. Somehow, we think that God only forgives based on our future success in overcoming that particular sin. However, God is not reasonable, as man is reasonable. In this world, and sadly, even in the church, when someone stumbles and falls into sin, we quickly give up on them. The more terrible the sin, the more we want it exposed and paid for. We love justice and maybe even a bit of revenge thrown in just to make sure they do not commit that sin again. We carry a secret delight in seeing it all exposed. Somehow, we who know more than anyone that we are sinners, are shocked when a sinner sins. If we are the one who fell, it is hard to believe that God loves us and forgives us when so much shame, guilt and accusation is poured upon us by the world, our family, our church, and our own sense of failure.
Most of us are familiar with that well known verse. “Come let us reason”, says the Lord, “though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18). The word “reason” is more commonly translated throughout the rest of scripture as “rebuke” or “reprove”. God’s “reasoning” is in the form of a loving rebuke. It is a picture of God drawing near, as a loving Father, to His child who is trying to convince Him that she should not be forgiven. To make His point clear, He gets down on His knees, takes her face in His hands, looks deep into her eyes and says with a loving rebuke, “You are forgiven”. The child protests, “But it was so shameful. You don’t understand the depth of what I did”. Again, the Father states more empathetically, “You are forgiven”. Yet again, the child resists. “But I keep doing what is wrong. I want to stop, but I keep failing. I try so hard, but I cannot seem to overcome it”. The Father’s voice grows even sterner, “You are forgiven”. In one last desperate attempt to convince her Father, she cried out, “Nobody else forgives me”. The Father pauses quietly for a moment to reflect on the blood of His Son shed for this precious child. She will never fully understand what it cost Him. Gathering her into His arms, He once again whispers the words deep into her spirit, “But you are forgiven by Me”. The fight leaves her, she collapses into His embrace, finally believing He truly forgives and loves her. Once again, Father and daughter are united. The Father sighs, knowing more then ever before, the cost was worth it.
That is the heart of Our Father for you His child.
He covers you, all your worship and all the ways you worship with His Blood. It is what puts you in good standing with God. He required the priest in Old Testament times that, not only the people, but nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. (Hebrews 9:21, 22) Today we are forgiven not by the blood of animals, but by God’s Son. It covers you and all your worship as you receive it by faith. His blood is the doorway through which you can enter and dance before Him in intimacy.
Your dance becomes a pleasing aroma to God when you approach Him though the blood of His Son. Your worship becomes a fragrance poured out upon His feet, whereas before it had the stench of human effort attempting to earn forgiveness. It fills the house. People sense that God is in the place. There is no longer any condemnation. No sin of the past can hold you back.
We will always fall short at certain times of our lives. Our hearts condemn us. Others shame us. We think God will never forgive us this time. We are tempted to run and hide. In all these seasons, run to him, seize Him and don’t let go until you know, you really know, that you have His forgiveness.
The truth is, His blood is payment enough, His grace is big enough and His love is enduring enough.
Knowing that, be free, be released, to run and dance before Him.