A heavy, late-winter snow covered the ground, one of those that are wet, accumulate quickly, and disappear nearly as quickly. My older brothers and I built snow forts and stockpiled snowballs for an all-out war. Not once did it occur to me whose side I would be on. Jerry took the high ground above the cellar. David piled a mound of snow near the sistern. I helped both make snowballs, not knowing that I would be the target of both. Because the snow was so wet, the snowballs were dense and heavy as baseballs.
I fought back but to no avail. If I ran into the backyard, Jerry pelted me in the head. If I ran into the front yard, David bombarded me, but much gentler. Eventually, I ran inside.
Childhood memories like these are precious, but I am reminded of the Bible story of the woman caught in adultery. When the Pharisees brought her to Jesus, they asked Him to sentence her to death by stoning. This incident is found in the 8th chapter of the gospel of John if you want to read it. The only thing I can think right now is how much those rocks would have hurt, given how much the snowballs hurt.
If you are familiar with this incident in the life of Jesus, then you know that Jesus rescued the woman by challenging the Pharisees. “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”
This week here at Christian Holiness Daily, we begin studying holiness and sanctification, two sides of the same coin, both of which are widely misunderstood.
Holiness is loving God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength. Sanctification is the work of the Holy Spirit that enables believers to love God in such a manner. One result of loving God so fervently is that we learn to love other people in the same way that we love God, even our enemies. We’ll discuss that as well.
One of the misconceptions about holiness is the belief that those who are sanctified are suddenly sinless, or perfect, or believe that they are miraculously without sin. This is not true. I know of no true Christian who, if challenged by Jesus to cast the first stone, would have thrown the rock. I wouldn’t have. Living the life of holiness doesn’t mean you are perfect. It means that God has filled you so full of His love that there is no room for the love of sin.
We’ll talk more about the perfect love of Christ as we travel together on this journey. For now, let’s just say that I wish I had had the wisdom of Jesus during that late winter snowball fight. Maybe I wouldn’t have gotten beaned upside the head.
Until next time, put down those rocks. None of us are without sin.