1 John 4:18 – There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment & punishment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.
Everyone who came to Jesus with a need left with an upgrade. He gave each of them something amazing. To the blind He gave sight. To the lame He gave strength. To the leper He gave new skin. To the sick He gave health. To the murderer He gave a pardon. To the hungry He gave food. To the demon possessed he gave peace and liberty. To the dead He even gave life. And to the sinner He gave righteousness. He always added to, and I’m challenging you to see this as the discipline of the Lord.
The Lord disciplines those who He love. Did He love the woman caught in adultery? Doesn’t perfect love cast out fear? Doesn’t fear come from punishment? Did He punish the woman caught in adultery? No! He disciplined her. He loved her. He set her free from the punishment required by the law because He loved her. She knew the law required her death. Yet, she was actually already dead in her trespasses and sin. Jesus gave her life! He set a captive free. In His love, He disciplined her – He gave her life. He told her of her value. He said, “Go, and sin no more.”
Did she? Did she “go and sin no more?” The only way to guarantee that outcome was to abide by the law. By putting her to death was the only way one could be sure she would sin no more. But the Bible says that it is for freedom’s sake that He set us free. Jesus pardoned her in anticipation of the cross He was about to suffer. The law required a punishment – a price to be paid. Jesus took that punishment upon Himself – beaten beyond recognition so that she and Barabbas could be pardoned. The discipline of God always adds something to us.
Sin is the absence of righteousness. Conversely righteousness is not merely the abstinence from sin. When righteousness comes into a person’s life – sin must go. They cannot occupy the same space at the same time. This is essential to our salvation in the new covenant. God did not and does not excuse our sin. He forgives it. He releases us from the punishment that our sin deserves, because Jesus has volunteered to receive that punishment on our behalf. Therefore, no sin ever goes unpunished.
Let’s look at it this way:
Old Covenant – Sin is bad and requires a punishment or payment. You pay the penalty by forfeiting something good, while at the same time retaining your unrighteous/sinful nature. Your sacrifice gets you a pardon only. A temporary pardon at that.
New Covenant – Sin still requires a punishment. Jesus paid for or took the punishment unjustly which gave Him power over sin and death. And He gives us in return much more than a pardon – He gives us the gift of righteousness. When righteousness comes into a man – his nature is changed and sin has to go. All the old (the sinful nature) is passed away – it’s dead – and behold everything (your nature, will, thoughts, desires, emotions – everything) is made new by our receiving and becoming partakers of the divine or righteous nature of God.
Under the old covenant you receive a pardon by forfeiting something good. But in the new covenant, you receive something good – the righteousness that Christ forfeited (yet still retained because he was unjustly punished) to you. You in turn forfeit your sin and the punishment it requires. It’s the good news. It’s the great exchange. It’s better than we first thought, and the more we grow and come to understand, the better yet we discover it really is!