“ Early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?” They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.”
-John 8: 2-11
As I listened to the song of the week, it reminded me of this beautiful passage. I don’t know about you, but I am a very visual person, and every time I read this passage I try to picture how the whole scene played out. I can only imagine the horror and the shame that this woman must have felt. Can you imagine being brought out in front of the Messiah, caught in the act of sin?? The Pharisees didn’t care about this woman or her feelings, instead they were more focused on trapping Jesus so they could find something to accuse him of. As sinners, I’m sure we can all empathize with this poor woman. Like many of us, this woman thought she would never get caught and remained in sin because it was easy. I can picture the look of horror on her face as the Pharisees barged into her room, and can only imagine the thoughts that were going through her head as they dragged her to the center of the court. Not only did she have thoughts of guilt and shame, but she probably also thought that today would be the last day of her life.
In front of hundreds of people, probably naked, and definitely ashamed, this woman stood before her Savior. She stood before the very Man who held her life in His hands. Instead of condemning her and allowing her to be stoned, we see a picture of grace. He graciously forgave her of her sins and carried her sins to the cross so that she would not have to die. In the end we see that Jesus commands her to, “sin no more”. He is gracious but with that act of kindness comes a sense of responsibility. The woman was forgiven but was stop living in sin. She was to turn from her old ways and run to Jesus; clinging to His every word and sinning no more.
As humans we are prone to fall and it is impossible for us to live perfect lives. Sin is crouching at our door, just as it was for the woman above. The question is, will we give in to the temptation that is calling out our name or will we resist? Will we resist, because the very Man who bore the weight of ALL our sins calls us to “[g]o. From now on [and] sin no more”? It is easy to say we will resist, but I encourage each of us to examine our own lives and see if we will really flee from temptation. 1 John 1: 9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Confessing our sins to God and being real with Him will lead us to a path of restoration and righteousness. Just like Christ knew what the woman above was doing, even before she was brought out into the crowd, He knows the sins we are committing in our own lives. He knows the thoughts we have and He wants us to turn to Him. He longs for us to acknowledge His grace and sin no more.
I encourage you to re-read that passage above, but when you do, insert your own name into the story. Insert your own sin and see how Jesus Christ has forgiven you. He does not call us to change and then come to Him, rather, He calls us to come to Him so that we can change! Jesus forgave the woman’s sins and then told her to sin no more. Friends, He has conquered sin and death, and because of this we must live for Him. As a human I know that I am prone to fall, but I trust in a God who understands my weaknesses and calls me to be upright and holy because through Him all things are possible. Through Him I can conquer sin as well.
“Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”
-Romans 6: 12-14