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Stone Casters and Stone Catchers

“Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” (2 Cor.3:5-6)

The letter of the law demands swift judgment, void of mercy. In reading the Levitical laws, we see such things as the stoning to death for violations of such sins as adultery, idol worship, disobedience to parents, breaking of the Sabbath, and the list goes on and on. This is what is referred to as the letter of the law, and for those who are under the laws of Moses they are obligated to keep all the laws, which includes the carrying out the punishment.

Many will argue and say that there is a difference between the law of Moses and the law of God, and that we are no more obligated to follow the laws of Moses, but are required to keep the ten commandments. A close study in reading Leviticus and Deuteronomy makes it clear that all of the laws are from God and there is no distinction between the laws of Moses and the Ten Commandments. To many, this is the difference between the New Testament and the Old Testament, which is to miss the entire understanding of how both testaments fit together so beautifully.

Have you ever wondered how it is that God could demand the stoning to death for sins, yet give the commandment “Thou shalt not kill”? Does this sound like a contradiction?

Since God is pure and holy, holiness demands judgment for sin, and this He has done. Anyone who had broken any of the laws will die, and justice will be carried out. However, God is also a God of mercy, and those He has shown mercy to will be pardoned for their sins. Mercy and grace is in Jesus. So a more appropriate understanding of the Old and New Testament is the Old Testament reveals the justice of God, and the New Testament reveals the mercy and grace of God. God will also keep his promise of both the Old and the New Testament, which are, the one leads to death and the other leads to life.

A perfect illustration can be found in John 8: 3-11, where the Pharisees brought the woman caught in adultery before Jesus to be judged. Now the Pharisees were not aware of the fact they were bringing the woman before the great “I Am”, who delivered the commandments to Moses. The Pharisees were right, according to the letter of the law; they were justified in stoning the woman to death. However, they were guilty of the same laws which demanded the death of the adulteress and could not pass judgment without being guilty of the same judgment. Perfect judgment can come only from a pure and holy God, and all of mankind has already been found guilty by the law. The woman was already found guilty and will pay the penalty for her sins, death. Sin leads to death but eternal life comes through Jesus.

The Pharisees demanded death which was what God had already demanded of her, now Jesus offered her life in exchange for His, and He stood between those who wished to throw stones and He Himself was the One who caught the stones on her behalf. This is how Jesus could say to her, “Go and sin no more”, because in Him, she was sinless.

In this illustration, we see who God is, the God of perfect Judgment, mercy and grace in the person of Jesus.