Today was the day, and here they were at last. She trembled from both the excitement and a touch of fear. The thrill was heightened by the fact that it was wrong, dead wrong. Why is it so much more satisfying when it’s wrong? She did not know. All she knew was that she felt more alive today than she had in a long time.
And then the door flew open, and several men barged in. Ashamed and terrified, she covered herself and turned to look at her partner. To her astonishment, he put on his clothes and moved to stand with the other men. He hadn’t wanted her after all. It was a setup, and she was going to take the blame alone! How long had he and his friends been planning this? How could she have so blind?
On this bright, sunny morning Jesus sat teaching in the temple, surrounded by an audience of eager listeners. Suddenly He was interrupted by a ruckus on the perimeter, as a band of men and one dejected woman approached the place where the Lord sat. Jesus paused and looked at them, then one of them with an air of self-righteousness said to Him, “Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the Law commanded us, that such should be stoned, but what do You say?”
What a hypocrite! That was only part of the Law. Moses in the Law stated that both of them should be stoned. But these men were not interested in justice. They didn’t care about this woman, what she had done, or whether she lived or died. They only wanted to tempt Jesus to break the Law so they could have something wherewith to accuse Him.
But Jesus did something we all should do when confronted with the enemy—He said nothing. Instead of responding to them, He stooped down and wrote in the sand. What was He writing? I’ve heard some preachers postulate that Jesus was writing the sins of the men who stood there accusing that woman. Perhaps He was writing their names.
The men grew impatient. “We ask You again, Master, what do You think should be done to this woman?”
Finally, He stood up and said, “He who is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her,” and then He went back to writing in the sand.
For a while the only sound that could be heard was the scratching in the sand. Then one by one small thuds sounded, followed by hushed footsteps as, convicted by their own consciences, the men dropped their stones and went out, from the oldest to the youngest. Even the crowd who had been listening to Jesus teach now stood back, for the Bible says that only Jesus and the woman remained. The Savior said to her, “Where are your accusers? Has no man condemned you?”
“No man, Lord.”
“Neither do I condemn you. Go, and sin no more.”
More precious words were never spoken! How light this woman must have felt as she walked away—freed from sin, freed from the condemnation of her sin, free to return to her husband, if he would have her, and start afresh. She was free to live a life pleasing to God where once she had only sought to please herself. There is no freedom in self-gratification, but there is joy unspeakable and full of glory when you yield yourself wholly to God. This woman was given a second chance, and she would live to come to know the joy that only Jesus can give.
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All sin is wrong in the sight of God. We put degrees on sin, saying, “This one isn’t so bad, but I wouldn’t be caught dead doing that.” If we are honest, we label sins in order to justify our pet sins. However, God sees all sin the same. If you are guilty of one, you are guilty of all. If you have broken one part of the law and kept all the rest, you have still broken the law. Do not miss the message here simply because you have never committed adultery. Jesus stands ready to forgive all sin, but He also says, “Go, and sin no more.”
He does not expect sinless perfection from us, for He knows that we are but dust. However, He does expect us to no longer practice sin, to no longer live in it, wallow in it, feed on it. When the Lord Jesus saves us from sin, He gives us a new nature, a nature that desires to please God.
Romans 8:1-6 There is therefore now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
God does not leave us alone to fight the daily battle against sin and fleshly desires. He knows we cannot live righteously on our own. (It’s too bad that many of us have not yet come to that realization.) This is why He gave us the Holy Spirit to work in us the things that God expects. This is not a study of the Holy Spirit, but I would like to briefly show you some of the things the Spirit does for us.
- At the moment of salvation, He comes to live inside us (Jn. 3:5-6; Rom. 8:9-11; Rom. 8:15; 1 Cor. 3:16; 2 Cor. 1:21-22).
- He empowers us to live holy (Rom. 7:6; 8:1-5; 1 Cor. 6:11; 2 Cor. 3:18; Gal. 5:16; 5:22-25).
- He guides us into all truth (Jn. 16:13; 1 Cor. 2:14).
- He guides our tongues (Matt. 10:20; Acts 2:4; 21:4; 1 Cor. 2:4).
- He guides our feet (Luke 2:27; Acts 8:29; 16:7; Rom. 8:14).
- He guides our prayers (Rom. 8:26-27; Eph. 2:18).
- He assures us that we are indeed children of God (Rom. 8:16).
My friend, are you caught up in a life of sin? Do you feel chained to wrong desires and habits? Only through Jesus can you have the power to overcome sin and live victoriously. The Christian life is not about rules and regulations—it’s about freedom! Those outside of Christ cannot understand that, but once you yield to the will of God, you will find a peace that the world cannot give, a joy that can’t be bought or sold, and a love that has no bounds. Yes, we are called to live holy, but all we need to do is rest in Christ, and He through the Holy Spirit will make us holy.
If you are bound by sin and guilt, Jesus longs to tell you the same thing He told that woman:
“Neither do I condemn you; go, and sin no more.”
Are you ready?
Next week: Woman at the Well
Photo courtesy of estall of Pixabay