Thursday, February 23, 2017

“Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.”

Sometimes we can become so focused on the first half of this statement of Jesus, that we forget the second.  Jesus did not condemn the woman who was caught in adultery.  She had been caught red handed, dragged into the public arena, shamed before the crowds, and set before Jesus for judgement.  When the Pharisees pointed out that the Law of Moses condemned her to death, asking Jesus what He thought should be done with her, they figured they had Jesus trapped for sure!  If he condemned her, the people would likely turn against him, and He would be in trouble with the Romans who had forbidden the Jews to practice capital punishment, but had he not condemned her they could accuse Him of contradicting the Law of Moses.  This was a “no win scenario” for Jesus…or so they thought.

Jesus, writing on the ground, ignored them at first; but, when they persisted to ask Him, He rose up and said that the one among them who was without sin should cast the first stone, thereby neither condemning nor excusing her, and proceeded to go back to His writing upon the ground.  Now, we do not know for sure what Jesus was writing, but we are told that the Pharisees became convicted of their sins and left “beginning with the oldest.”  It seems likely that this conviction over their sins was in response to whatever it was that Jesus was writing.  Was it the law?  Was it their names with particular sins scribbled alongside?  Who is to say?  We don’t really know.  What we do know is that not one of them condemned her. 

After they had left, Jesus looked up, and seeing them gone asked the woman if none had condemned her.  She replied, “no one sir.”  Jesus replied, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and sin no more.”    We should be reminded by this statement of John 3:17 which declares that “…God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him” (ISV).  What an amazing blessing it is that God does not deal with us according to our sins, but that He stands ready to forgive if only we will trust in Him! 

It is imperative however, that we also acknowledge the second part of the Lord’s statement.  He has forgiven this woman for her sin; yes, He has forgiven her, but by no means is this grace to be interpreted as a license to sin.  The forgiveness that God offers may be free to us, but it came at a very high price for Him.  It cost Him the life of His beloved Son, the only begotten of the Father.  Jesus bled, and died, to secure our salvation, and in the light of that our attitude toward sin should never be cavalier.   As believers, we are called to “walk worthy” of the calling of God in our lives.  Here are a few examples:

“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with long suffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”  Ephesians 4:1-3

“For this reason we…do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, bully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and long suffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.  He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” 
Colossians 1:9-14.

“You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe; as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you , as a father does his own children, that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.”  I Thessalonians 2:10-12. 

If it is our desire to “walk worthy” of the calling that God has placed upon our lives through faith in Jesus Christ, then clearly our goal should be to “go and sin no more.”  Now, even as believers, we are prone to sin, and to expect that we will never fail is unrealistic of us to be sure.  Thank God that He promises to forgive us for our sins and cleanse us from unrighteousness when we confess them to Him, but it should be the desire of our heart to walk free from sin, or, more as Paul says it in II Timothy 2:22 we should, “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”  This should be our goal, remembering always that the Lord has not given us the liberty to sin, but that He has given us liberty from sin.  So let’s thank Him today for His mercy and grace, and then purpose in our hearts to live a life that is pleasing to Him, endeavoring to walk free from sin, and follow faithfully the one who has gone before us, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

For an audio teaching John 8:1-11 click on the link below to visit the web site of Calvary Chapel Southwest Metro, in Burleson, Tx.  

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