Do you ever feel like what you have done is so bad that you could never be forgiven? Are you afraid to tell the truth for fear you will be rejected? Or, out of fear of other consequences? Do you remain in sinful addiction because you have given up hope of ever changing?
The Lord Jesus led me to read John 8 (Select vv. ESV).
But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” Vv. 1-11
When you are following the Lord Jesus Christ with your life, and you are teaching the truth, you should expect that there will be people who will oppose you and who will even try to trip you up. And, don’t be surprised if some of those people are within the church, and even from among the church leadership. So, we need to be watchful and be on our guard, and be ready to respond to such opposition in the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit. For, He will give us the words to say, if we will listen to him.
The religious leaders within the temple of God were Jesus’ strongest opponents, and they often did things to try to trip Jesus up and to show to others that he was not who he said he was or that he was in error in some way. So, their bringing this woman before Jesus had nothing really to do with following the law and maintaining righteousness. They used that woman to get at Jesus, and Jesus knew that. He had their number.
So, he bent down to write something in the ground with his finger. Many people have speculated as to what he wrote. Not one of us really knows. I have a sense that he wrote something revealing about each one who was accusing this woman, perhaps not by name, but by sin, and in a way that they recognized that he was talking about them.
This makes sense to me, because next he said, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” So, I think there was something Jesus wrote in the ground that convinced them that they were not without sin, because these Pharisees were very self-righteous, and I don’t believe Jesus’ verbal statement would have been enough to convince them to throw down their stones and leave. I believe, therefore, that what he wrote was incriminating to them, and they knew it.
Sometimes we have to be humbled, and we have to be faced with the reality of our own sins, before we put down our stones we want to throw at others because we believe they are such horrible sinners while we are not. But, the Bible says there is none righteous, no not one, not of ourselves, anyway. And, it says that all have sinned and have come up short of the glory of God. It also says that it is only by God’s grace that any of us are saved, and that this is not of ourselves, lest any of us should boast, but it is a gift of God.
I don’t have to look very far into my past to see some of the horrible things I did. And, when I think about the grace of God, and his patience with me while I wandered from my pure devotion to him, for a time, how can I not show that same grace and love to others that he showed me?
Now, grace is not an excuse for sin, nor does it ignore the sin and pretend it doesn’t exist. Jesus didn’t stop with, “neither do I condemn you.” He said, “Go and sin no more.” His forgiveness of our sins is not freedom to continue in sin. His forgiveness is so we will “go and sin no more.” This is why he died, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness,” not that we would remain in our sinful addictions, still in bondage, and still under the control of Satan. His message of grace is one of freedom from slavery to sin, not just freedom from the punishment of sin.
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” V. 12
If you want to be a Jesus follower, you can no longer walk (in lifestyle) in sin. You cannot be one who makes a practice of sin. In fact, the Bible teaches that if we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk (conduct our lives) in darkness (in sin), that we are liars. It says, too, that if we walk according to the flesh, that we will die in our sins, but if, by the Spirit, we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, then we will live. And, it says that if we make sin our practice, that we don’t have the hope of eternal life with God, but a fearful expectation of judgment. We need to take this seriously!
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Vv. 31-32
What does it mean to abide? It means to stay, to remain, and to endure. It also means to stand, to take, and to accept without objection. We have to be in the Word daily, drinking it into our minds and hearts, listening to our Savior speak, and then we must follow in obedience to what it says.
All scripture is given by inspiration of God (is God-breathed) and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the person of God might be complete, fully equipped for good works (See: 2 Tim. 3:16-17). But, not all scripture is applicable, in its strictest sense, to the church today, so we must always read the OT in light of NT teachings and our new covenant relationship with God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
I note this, because I want to point out that we, as believers in Jesus, are not under all the Old Testament laws, like stoning people for committing adultery, but we are under the law of grace. But, grace is not soft on sin. God’s grace instructs us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly (fleshly) passions (lusts), and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await Christ’s return (Tit. 2:11-14).
So, how does the truth set us free? We have to be in the Word, learning what it teaches us, and then we have to obey the truth and tell the truth and it will set us free, because obedience is what frees us from our bondage. Thus, we no longer walk in darkness, but we now walk in the Light.
Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” Vv. 34-36
If you are still holding on to sinful practices, you are not walking in freedom. If these sinful practices are what you live by, then you are still a slave to sin. And, if you are a slave to sin, then you are not alive in Christ Jesus, our Lord.
BUT, if Jesus has set you free, meaning you have died with him to sin, and you are living with him to righteousness, not necessarily in sinless perfection, but sin is no longer your master, and Jesus is truly your Lord, then you are free indeed, but not just from the punishment of sin, but from the control of sin.
Again, Jesus didn’t just tell the woman that he did not condemn her, but he told her to go and sin no more. That is true freedom! Not just forgiveness, but deliverance from our sinful addictions. Then, we are free indeed!
An Original Work / May 30, 2011
“Fill me with Your Spirit;
help me to love others;
Let me know Your power;
be an overcomer.
Show me how to follow
Jesus Christ, my Savior;
Be His faithful servant
to obey Him always.
“Lead me with Your presence;
help me know the right way;
Teach me love and kindness,
Give me grace and courage
to be Jesus’ witness,
Teaching His salvation
to a world who needs Him.”
Won’t you come and follow
Jesus Christ, your Savior?
He died so you’d be
free of control of your sin;
Free to follow His ways
in complete surrender;
Living sacrifices –
let His grace transform you.
Monday, January 15, 2018, 2:22 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for the freedom that is ours in Christ Jesus, our Lord, because you have set us free!
*This is a repost