And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”
There are so many lessons to be gleaned from this passage, a truly powerful example of grace and truth that Jesus has provided us. In this verse is Jesus’ reply to a woman, accused of adultery, that has been brought before Him by the scribes and Pharisees. In that day, those found guilty, according to the Law of Moses, would be stoned to death (there was no mention of the man in this story), but this would mean going against the authority of Roman Law, under whom they were governed. It was in essence a catch-22 situation that these men were trying to place our Lord in. In response to the men, Jesus first continued writing on the ground as though He didn’t hear them (can you imagine the look on their faces!). Then as though answering on His own terms when He felt so inclined Jesus said, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first” John 8:7 NKJV and proceeded again to write on the ground. Now I don’t know about you, but I’m sure at this point if a third party was observing this, they would’ve been completely floored. Here are the “religious” leaders being spiritually convicted by the King of Kings. The men, one by one, began leaving the scene until Jesus was alone with the woman and He raised up and said, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” To which she replied, “”No one, Lord.” John 8:10-11 NKJV
Now think about what just happened here. These men were attempting to trap Jesus between the religious code of the Mosaic Law and the political rule of the Roman Empire. Jesus’ declaration to the woman was multi-faceted. He neither upheld the Law of Moses nor went against the law of Caesar. His response showed that there was now a new choice, one not under the law, but under the grace and truth of Jesus Christ. As the Apostle Paul reaffirms in Romans 6:14 NKJV, “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” The power in Jesus’ response cannot be understated, “Neither do I condemn you.” What beauty we as sinners can find when we fall before Jesus, burdened by sin, “casting all [y]our care upon Him, for He cares for us [you].” I Peter 5:7 NKJV To know that Jesus takes our sin and offers back grace in return, if we only receive Him as our Savior.
But there’s a second part to Jesus’ response, one of equal importance. He offered grace, but followed with the truth of His command, “Go and sin no more.” So too is this the case for us as sinners when we have received grace through our faith in Jesus, we are charged to sin no more. Just as we discussed in the post A License to Sin, our new birth in Christ requires us to abandon sin. As we accept the free gift of grace, we must give up the old sinful flesh.
Too often we are quick to make the argument that once we are saved there’s nothing more to be done. This is true for our salvation, the work was done on the cross by Jesus and through that work we are justified. Romans 3:24 Just like when we were newborns physically we needed nourishment for growth, so too is this the case when we’re born again spiritually. We gain nourishment from the Word of God and grow out of our old self.
So with our focus on grace, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast” Ephesians 2:8-9 we must be careful no to forget to live the truth, “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!” Romans 6:15
Prayer: Do you long for Jesus’ words of grace? Bow before the cross and ask repentance for your sins, believe in Him and accept Him as Lord and Savior of your life. If you’ve already accepted Christ as Savior, but are not living in truth, what’s holding you back? Turn it over to the God and pray that He renews you in Him.
Additional Study: James 2:26 John 14:15 James 4:17