…Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. John 8: 1-4
Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say? John 8:5
This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. John 8:6-9
“The woman had stood before Jesus, cowering with fear. His words, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone,” had come to her as a death sentence. She dared not lift her eyes to the Saviour’s face, but silently awaited her doom. In astonishment she saw her accusers depart speechless and confounded…” Desire of Ages p. 462
Reflecting on this paragraph in the classic work on the life of Jesus, Desire of the Ages, I have come to understand that too often we see his actions as condemning us when really he is acting to redeem us!
Was she guilty? Yes.
Was Jesus holy? Yes.
Was Jesus in his right to condemn her? Yes.
Jesus chooses mercy. Jesus chooses redemption. Jesus chooses Forgiveness. Yet, she could not see what He was in the act of doing, while He was doing it!
It is a worthy endeavor to stop and consider why this is. Why do we only see gloom and doom when Jesus only offers love, mercy, and a chance at full and complete redemption?
The conclusion I keep coming back to is Sin (the condition) closes off to us what God is really up too. Sin produces an unfair, tainted, skewed picture of God. She saw His words as declaring damnation. But they declared salvation!
How is it for you? Is it getting hard to see the goodness of God? – He may be in the act of restoring you too.
Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” John 8: 10-11
Listen, if you learn anything from this blog, learn this…When Jesus declares you righteous no one can stand to accuse you!
Neither do I condemn you
Go and sin no more.
Don’t get it out of order.
Neither do I condemn you
Go and sin no more.
For years in the church I thought that if I could not sin any more God would not condemn me — this is Backwards! I was trying to win his love by good behavior. The problem is good behavior, without being inspired by His love, is in fact in short supply!
I would work hard not to sin so I could be forgiven… then I would fall and give up… defeated by my own sin.
Thank God for John 8 and the lessons I learned from it. I must first understand God’s grace (“neither do I condemn you”) then I can have God’s victory (“Go and Sin no more”).
THIS IS THE GOSPEL ORDER – GRACE Produces SUSTAINING FAITH!
Alexander Whyte, the great Scottish preacher and famous New Testament professor, once stood up in his pulpit in Edinburgh and said: I have discovered the most wicked man in Edinburgh … ” Then he paused, while the congregation eagerly awaited the name; whereupon the preacher continued—”that person is Alexander Whyte.”
Stop trying to hide your sin and rather deal with it. Deal with it by keeping the Gospel order, accepting God’s love and letting him change you by His love. The problem with hiding your sin in a dark room is quite simply you don’t know when the Pharisees, and Scribes, will break into your room mid-sin and drag you out on the temple steps before God Himself. God knows everything about you and still desires to save you.
So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man (person/human) that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
(Romans 7:21-24 ESV)
But today we must stop and remember: Jesus is writing you love letters in the sand… and what really matter is if you are you reading them? Follow the Gospel order to Jesus!
Roman’s 8:1 reminds us There is no Condemnation for those who are “in Christ.”
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.
(Romans 8:1-2 ESV)
*This edition of my Blog is lovingly dedicated to Pastor John Gibson who suffered from depression and allowed the “stones” around him to cast him into actions of despair. Rest in Peace and may God still in his endless grace find you in His resurrection. May in that day Jesus present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the Father.