A Change from Law to Grace (continued)
Proceeding further into chapter 8, we find that, with this which we have mentioned standing at its threshold, it contains an emphasis upon the fact that Christ is the Light, that man by nature is in darkness, that darkness means bondage, and that liberty comes through knowledge of, and obedience to the truth. Christ is here set forth as the revelation of God, and as such He is the Truth; therefore the knowledge of Him, and obedience to Him, is the way of liberty and of light.
Christ Writes on the Ground. God Writes in the Dust
Various interpretations have been given to Christ's act of stooping down and writing on the ground. Some have thought that He was writing the sins of the Jews. Others have been content with the simple explanation, that He was merely showing contempt for the accusers of this woman in their contemptible conduct; or, at best, indifference to their attempt to catch Him.
May it not be there is something deeper and richer than this in His conduct? His actions were always so full of meaning, and seeing that He was the perfect embodiment of the gospel, may we not expect to be led by this act - seeing that it was so deliberate and repeated - to some larger eternal reality? God has written His mind in dust more than once in this world's history. Indeed, this has been His deliberate and chosen way. In Adam He wrote an expression of Himself. In Moses the finger of God wrote Divine thoughts on tables of stone. There were objective expressions of the mind of God; that is, they were something outside of and apart from God Himself. In His full and final expression He, in grace, stoops right down to men to associate Himself with them, and in humanity gives an expression of Himself for their salvation first, before judgment. This stooping down is revealed in the letter to the Philippians, chapter two. From God-equality to man-likeness, and deeper yet He has stooped to deliver from the curse of the Law and the death of sin. He has written in the dust of this earth, for all - this woman taken in sin, and all others - that "There is ... no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus ... the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made ... free from the law of sin and of death" (Romans 8:1, 2). "God ... hath... spoken unto us in his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things..." Hebrews 1:1).
What an inscription! What dust! What grace and truth! "... He that hath seen me hath seen the Father" (John 14:9).
He could well afford to seem indifferent to the Law and its exponents, to have no interest in their case (as some have interpreted His act) when He well knew that with Himself had come, securing on the one hand a perfect satisfying of God in man representatively, the Law fulfilled and its regime ended, and on the other hand a dispensation of grace; a transition from the outward to the inward, from the transient to the permanent, from the earthly type to the heavenly reality. It is all in the deepest meaning of Sonship.
Chapter 9. following is really a part of this one thing, and while it introduces several extra factors, it becomes a grand object lesson of the truth enunciated in chapter 8. We shall, therefore, pass immediately into the next chapter.
(continued with # 37 - "Spiritual Enlightenment")