John 8: 6-8
Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.’ Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
2 Corinthians 5: 17-21
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Have you completed your Christmas shopping yet? When it comes to giving and receiving gifts, there is a certain etiquette that we may choose to practice or ignore. One article I read recently gave the following four gift-giving rules:
Get a gift, give a gift: gift exchanges must be reciprocal.
Even-Steven: gift exchanges must be of equal value.
Once begun, never undone: gift exchanges, once established, must not change.
Come one, come all: gift exchanges must extend to every member of a relationship category.
While we can choose to ignore gift etiquette, it could lead to that embarrassing moment when unwrap a fantastic, expensive gift from Aunt Joan and all we have bought her is a cheap scented candle.
As the rules above state, gift exchanges generally should be reciprocal and of equal value. However, let’s think for a moment about the exchange God offers us all in the gift of His Son:
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor 5: 21)
Jesus, who had never sinned in His entire existence, took upon Himself all of my sin, guilt, punishment, filth and shame. On the cross, He absorbed my every wrongdoing into His perfect humanity.
Another exchange also took place. All of Jesus’ perfection, holiness, purity and obedience was transferred onto me. So, when I stand before God, I am clothed and covered in the righteousness of Jesus.
I give Him my mess; He gives me His mercy. What an exchange!
That’s exactly what the woman caught in adultery in John 8 experienced. Covered in sin, guilt and shame, she lay in the dirt waiting to be punished for her wrongdoing. One word from Jesus and the stones from her accusers would beat her body. Jesus however gets down into the dirt with her. The spotless one stooped into her mess with His mercy. In return, she was made clean. She was liberated to live a new life.
We can never adequately give God anything in return for all His goodness and grace towards us. However, we can offer our hearts in worship, our hands in service, our lives in surrender.