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July 11, 2018, 8:12 AM

Go, and sin no more.



Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

“Go, and sin no more.” (John 8:11)

The Pharisees caught a wretched woman in the act of sin and with callous indifference to her suffering and the things that had led her to such a state, dragged her into the blinding light of day. They sought to exploit her as a snare with which to trap Jesus into a declaration they could use against Him. “Teacher,” they said, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery . . . Moses commanded us in the Law to stone such a woman. Now what do you say?” If Jesus told them to release her, they could accuse Him of being a heretic. If He said for them to stone her, he would be in conflict with the Romans - who did not allow the Jews to carry out death sentences.

In a strangely arresting scene, Jesus did not respond but stooped down and began writing in the dust of the ground. When the accusations had finally ended, they stood triumphantly waiting for His response. Jesus slowly stood up, however, and looking them straight in the eye said: “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Once more, bending down, He began writing on the ground. What was He writing? It has been suggested that He was spelling out in the dust some of the sins which the accusers had been guilty of committing. We don’t know.

In any case, the Pharisees slipped away, “beginning with the older ones first.” Why was this last phrase inserted? Do we mellow with age? Perhaps, or maybe it reflects the fact that as we grow older we have more to remember… or, at least more that we should recall before casting a stone. Regardless, soon the accusers were all gone. Christ and the woman were now alone. Soiled imperfection confronted perfect holiness. The scene is tense with painful interest. We wonder what the Lord will say. Then He speaks: “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go, and sin no more.”

In this compelling story of redemption, Jesus turned with words of judgment toward the Pharisees – the pretenders of innocence, and with mercy toward the woman who was exposed and fully aware of her sin. It clearly reveals the mercy of our Lord, but it also indicates that He expects people to live rightly. Wrong deeds mean wrong relationships with God. A weak, sentimental Christianity which blurs the distinctions between right and wrong is not sufficient. While we are forgiven through God’s grace, and not through our own merit, we are also expected to “go, and sin no more.” Forgiveness must result in a new quality of life.

Yet the question, “Who among you is without sin?” remains. When Jesus asked this question of the Pharisees, none could qualify, so there was no one to throw a stone. There is a universality about sin, “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God,” wrote the Apostle Paul. The challenge, therefore, in this passage is two-fold: (1) Go, leave your life of sin; and (2) Pause and reflect on the intimate details of your own spiritual journey before casting a stone at another.

Let us join in prayer: Gracious Heavenly Father, I thank you that I can stand before you neither above or below any person. Help me to take that privilege and give it to every other person. Amen.

You are Loved!

Pastor Jason Stevens


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