January 21, 2007

OK, I have to ask this question. I understand God’s Law is supreme, and that He ordained it for reasons both within and beyond our human comprehension. But where does grace fall into all of this?

Grace is “favor, acceptance”. The mention of grace is in Genesis 6:8 where “Noah found grace in the sight of the Lord.” By definition grace comes from G-d at His discretion. Namely because G-d can see the heart of man and it is His prerogative to number the days a man (or woman) lives on the face of the earth before being judged by Him.

What if someone was sexually abused, or coerced into something sexually perverse as a young child, which created a pattern of perpetration later in life?

Any abuse a person may endure is no excuse for the abdication of personal responsibility. A most extreme example is the slaughter of millions of Jews during the Holocaust. Following the logic you offer leads us to purport that because they suffered so much they should have the inclination and predisposition to consequently persecute, intern and slaughter anyone who might stand in their way. A more sedate example is your own life as you shared with us. (I know you so there’s a little more freedom to speculate.) Your family was plagued by divorce, alcoholism and drugs. How do you explain your own life which is free from any of those things? God’s strength and your own willingness to submit your life to Him are the two main thoughts that spring to mind.

What if there was a sexual addiction this person could not control, but wanted so badly to be cleansed of it?

My perspective is not a popular opinion, but this is my blog and I’m allowed the freedom to express my opinion. J I don’t believe sexual addiction is uncontrollable. I don’t believe food addiction is uncontrollable. In order to say that I would have to say there may be areas in our lives in which G-d has given us the freedom to no longer possess free will. All one must do to control destructive sexual deviance is remove themselves from the situation. All one must do to control food addiction is to remove themselves from the proximity to food. How one finds the victim or the Twinkie involves a long series of simple choices and premeditated steps.

Then, through help of a counselor, friend, or mentor, confessed what he/she had done, turned from his/her sin, and tried to live righteously before God? Is death still the only answer?

While I firmly believe in the accountability of others, I don’t see how a change in behavior eliminates the punishment for the crime. Remember this line of thinking about the death penalty for sexual sin and immorality is being based on the Torah. According to the Torah, death is the penalty for the sexual assault of the innocent. I believe that confession and repentance (turning and walking away) of the sin are necessary for the condition and state of a persons soul before they stand before G-d. They may live “righteously” all the days of their life. Whether that be days or years.

Once the crime has been committed there is a price to pay. A consequence is required of the person who perpetrated the crime.

Again, where does God’s grace fall into this?

G-d’s grace, G-d’s unmerited favor is found when the sinner confesses, repents and is forgiven. The eternal slate is wiped clean, if you will. The temporal cost is still required.

I recall that when the woman was caught in adultery, the first thing Jesus did was to protect her from others who only wanted to punish her according to “The Law.”

He was able to protect her because of the Law which so clearly states the “rules for accusation”.

But Jesus didn’t do that. I think he shocked everyone when he said, “Go, and sin no more.” Yes, he rebuked her and judged her actions, but he also had room for grace. Jesus didn’t just focus on the flesh and wrong-doings (which is where The Law falls short), but I believe he saw something in this woman’s heart that everyone else missed.

First of all, a person couldn’t be condemned to death without the testimony of 2 or 3 witnesses. And those witnesses must be the first to throw the stones. (I imagine that made people think twice about accusing anyone falsely.) When the accusers left her alone with Yeshua she was already free to go. At least physically. That’s the Law. He then took care of her spiritually and emotionally. That’s grace.

What I found after further study is that adultery is an offense against G-d (Genesis 20:6 and Genesis 38:8-9) and not even the spouse is allowed, according to the Law, to forgive the offense. Only G-d is able to make that decision. In essence, what Yeshua was doing when He forgave the woman was affirming that He was exactly who He said He was.

In study of the Word it is imperative to understand in no way did Yeshua abdicate, eliminate and in any invalidate the Law. He came to “fulfill the law and the prophets” Matthew 5:17. This is shown by the complete lack of evidence to support His crucifixion. He was blameless not because of the thoughts and intents of His heart, though they were indeed perfect. He was blameless also in His sinless life. He lived and breathed the Law not as a judgment of his flesh and wrong-doings but as the parameters which defined His life and by that example the lives of all those who seek to serve Him are only enriched by careful and submitted study of that Law.

Having two kids of my own, I’d want the $%&#@ who violated my children to burn in hell. But do you think every person who violates another person (or child) should always be put do death? Is there ever a point where we try to understand what could’ve lead to such darkness in that person’s life, and then try to help them?

On a strictly biblical viewpoint, any person who sexually assaults another person and is found guilty is to be put to death. That’s the ideal. Imagine the complete and utter beauty of a society which believed and followed those principles. Imagine the deterrent factor! Sadly, we live in a world which has never kept that standard. Yet. J

The point of understanding is to see that we are all sinners, saved by G-d’s goodness and unmerited favor. I don’t believe that digging deeply into sin is the answer to finding hope. There is only one fountain of hope. Our help is most helpful when we direct them toward the One who could truly change them.

I think it’s easy for us to put ourselves in the place that’s only meant for the “One True Judge.” I’m not so convinced that ALL of life is only black and white. If it were, would any of us be here right now?

I agree with you, Jason, life is not all black and white. There are many shades of grey. I call it compromise. And there are simply no human beings who live lives without those very shades of grey. That’s why we need the external parameters of G-d’s word to define our lives and our existence