There are two popular views of God:
1) God is an angry old man who wants to judge you and give you smallpox as punishment for your sins.
2) God is a loving dude who just wants you to be happy and live your life the way you want!
Jesus presents something different, something better.
In John 8:10-11 he demonstrates his perfect balance. A woman had just been accused of adultery. When Christ calls for someone without sin to cast the first stone, no one steps forward.
Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you? Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
We see a God who shows incredible mercy, but at the same time he calls us to leave our life of sin.
Our culture has become confused about this. Identifying someone else’s sin has become “hateful.” People who do not condemn sin are labelled as lacking conviction.
Jesus however, calls for balance. He is not hateful, nor does he lack conviction.
I love Tim Keller’s definition of the gospel, “The gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.”
Jesus does not overlook our sin. He encountered many people who were clearly sinners. He does not excuse our sin, but rather he identifies it, meets us in it, and redeems us from it. He looks directly at our sin and chooses to love us because of his great love. Through his very own blood he purchased us from slavery to sin. Because of his sacrifice, he will not condemn us when we choose to follow him. He will, however, call us to leave our life of sin. Why? Because he knows our sin will never bring life.
It didn’t matter if Jesus was speaking to the sexually immoral, the swindlers, the greedy, or the profane. His message was the same, and it is the same today for you and me: This life of sin you are living will not satisfy, in fact, it will hurt you. Repent from your sins, believe the good news, and come to me. I will not condemn you, I will forgive you and wash you and make you righteous.
Nobody else in history has offered such balance.
So don’t try to hide or justify your own sin. Don’t trust in your own self-righteousness, and don’t fear running to Christ. Instead, embrace the unique balance that only Jesus offers and encourage others to do the same.