August 18, Thursday

Editor’s Note: The AMI QT Devotionals from Aug. 15-21 are provided by Cami King.  Cami, a graduate of University of Pennsylvania, is about to complete her M.Div. at Gordon Conwell Seminary.  She is currently serving as a staff at Journey Community Church in Raleigh. 

Devotional Thought for Today

John 8:3-5

The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, 4 they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. 5 Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?”

18There were so many things Jesus could have said. I know what I would have said – “Where is the man with whom this woman was caught in the very act? I assume he was also there.” Or maybe, “How precisely did you catch these two in the act… I mean, really… all of you just stumbled upon them….” (I’ve always wondered exactly how this all went down.)

Nevertheless, Jesus surprises everyone, including the woman, with His response: “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her” (Mt. 8:7). I can only imagine the tension in the crowd as they waited in suspense to see who would be first. And when they all eventually dropped their stones and walked away, too aware of their own sin to condemn another for hers, I imagine the woman waited with bated breath for Jesus to do the job. But the jaw-dropping story continues. “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?”  She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more” (Mt. 8:10). The only one with the right to condemn (the only sinless one), chose instead to offer forgiveness and called her to a new way of life.

This story is painfully familiar to most of us I know, but it is just too good to pass over. This is how Jesus deals with sinners who come before Him – He forgives and offers a new life. He went the distance to condemn sin so that never again will a sinner have to stand condemned. This is a picture of the gospel in one woman’s life, and we each have similar pictures of the gospel at work in our own.

Is there sin you’re battling today? Are there crowds condemning you (real or imaginary)? Maybe you are your own loudest crowd of condemnation. May you remember the gospel today and know that one voice not in that condemning crowd is the voice of Jesus. He instead bids you come, be forgiven, and live anew.

Prayer: Gracious God, thank You for Your forgiveness in Christ. May I take hold of it today and live anew through the power of Your Spirit. In Jesus’ name.

Bible Reading for Today: Psalm 146

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Lunch Break Study 

Read the following passage through a few times, meditatively.

Psalm 51:1-4, 10-13

Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness;
According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity
And cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
And my sin is ever before me.
Against You, You only, I have sinned
And done what is evil in Your sight,
So that You are justified when You speak
And blameless when You judge.

10 
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation
And sustain me with a willing spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners will be converted to You.

Questions to Consider:

  1. On what grounds does David appeal to the grace of God?
  2. What do vv. 2-3 teach us about the importance of confession?
  3. What should believers do once their sins are forgiven? What should receiving God’s grace compel us to do? (HINT: see v. 13)

Notes:

  1. David appeals according to God’s lovingkindness (or mercy) and God’s compassion for him.
  2. David doesn’t ignore his sin or downplay it. He knows his sin well and acknowledges it. This allows him to confess it to God and receive forgiveness.
  3. Share about God with others. Anyone who has freely received something so amazing wants to share it with others. Is there anyone in your life with whom you can share of God’s love and forgiveness?

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Evening Reflection  

The only prerequisite for receiving forgiveness is confession of sin. Psalm 51 that we partially read this afternoon is David’s famous prayer of confession. Spend some time reading through Psalm 51 and praying it in your own words. Ask the Lord for a clean heart and receive the forgiveness that He freely gives.

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