“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”
The account of the woman caught in adultery demonstrates something very important. What enables someone to have the power to overcome sin? The threat of the law obviously didn’t stop the woman from committing adultery. But receiving Jesus’ acceptance—knowing that even though she deserved to be stoned to death, He did not condemn her—that gave her the power to “go and sin no more.”
But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
1 Corinthians 1:30, KJV
Notice that Jesus saved the woman righteously. He didn’t say, “Don’t stone her. Show mercy to her.” What He said was, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” And on their own accord, the Pharisees and religious mob all left.
The woman caught in the act of adultery was brought before Him by the scribes and Pharisees, the religious mafia of His day. They tried to trap Him by posing a question that was difficult to answer: “Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” (John 8:5).
They thought that they had succeeded in trapping Jesus because if He told them to stone her, then they would accuse Him of not demonstrating the forgiveness and grace that He had been preaching about. If He were to say that they should not stone her, then they would accuse Him of breaking the law of Moses and bring a charge against Him. Now, adultery is a sin, and Jesus had every right to say, “Stone her!” But knowing that He would soon hang on the cross and pay for the woman’s sin in His own body, Jesus was able to uphold the perfect standard of the law, love the sinner and silence her accusers. And He did all three in style with just one sentence—“He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first” (Jn 8:7). Demonstrating His infinite wisdom and grace, Jesus simply challenged the person who was perfect before the law to cast the first stone.
The people in the crowd who wanted to condemn the woman could not. But Jesus, the only one in the crowd who truly had the power to condemn her, would not. He then asked her, “Woman…Has no one condemned you?” (John 8:10).
Notice also that Jesus did not ask the woman, “Why did you sin?” No, what He asked was, “Has no one condemned you?” It seems as if Jesus was more preoccupied with the condemnation of the sin than the sin itself. He made sure that she walked away not feeling the condemnation and shame. Let’s not reverse God’s order. When God says something comes first, it must come first. God says “no condemnation” comes first, and then you can “go and sin no more.”
Christian religion has it in reverse. We say, “Go and sin no more first, then we won’t condemn you.” What we need to understand is that when there is no condemnation, people are empowered to live victorious lives, lives that glorify Jesus. Grace produces an effortless empowerment through the revelation of no condemnation. It is unmerited and completely undeserved. But we can receive it—this gift of no condemnation—because Jesus paid for it at the cross.
Truth be told, none of us could have cast the first stone. We have all sinned and fallen short. In Christ, we are all on equal ground. If a brother or sister gets tangled in sin, our place is not to judge them, but to restore them by pointing them to the forgiveness and gift of no condemnation that are found in Jesus.
The only person who is without sin and who could have exercised judicial punishment on the woman was Jesus, and He did not. Jesus was in the flesh to represent what was in God’s heart. It wasn’t judgment. His heart is unveiled in His grace and His forgiveness. I like to say it this way when describing what happened as the Pharisees waited to stone the woman: The Pharisees would if they could, but they could not. Jesus could if He would, but He would not.
From this and other accounts of Jesus in the Gospels, we see how in everything He does, our Savior is altogether lovely. He is never early, never late. He is always at the right place at the right time. He is always in perfect peace and there is no sense of hurry about Him. When it was time to be tender, He was infinitely gentle, gracious and forgiving—we see this from His response to the woman caught in adultery (John 8:10–11). When it was time to overturn the tables of the money changers, He did it with passion. He was never frazzled by the Pharisees’ attempts to trip Him up and was always flowing with divine wisdom. He is steel and velvet, meekness and majesty, perfect manhood and deity. This is Jesus and you are in Him! Begin to see yourself in Christ, who is always flowing with divine wisdom, always in control of the situation, and the same wisdom that flows in Him will flow in and through you.
Today, you have the gift of no condemnation because the Son of God was condemned for all your sins (see Romans 8:1). Today, God cannot condemn you when you sin because He is faithful and just to what His Son has done.
So if the devil tries to convince you that God is angry with you when you blow it, just say, “God does not condemn me today because He has already condemned Jesus at the cross 2,000 years ago!”
Unfortunately, we still hear people saying, “Go and sin no more first, then I won’t condemn you.” Maybe you have been saying this to yourself too. But God says, “I don’t condemn you. Go and sin no more.” He gives you the gift of no condemnation, so that you have the strength to go and sin no more!
That’s our Jesus!
The Bible can provide us with truth, but it can also be difficult to decipher! Whether you’re looking for some biblical direction, stumped on scriptural questions, or just want to confirm that you’re already on the right track, continue following us for more biblical interpretations.
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