Go and Sin No More

Message: John 8 is both fascinating and maddening to read. When Jesus went to the temple complex to teach and they brought the woman caught in adultery the intent was to corner Jesus by using the law which called for the woman to be stoned to death. Jesus in all of his wisdom did not deny the law, but what he did do was set straight the application of it. The law was created by God and it was given and applied by Moses, who was obedient to God. Jesus was confirming the truth of the law, but also exposing them for their sin and lack of obedience. They were not qualified to call for this woman’s punishment by the law because they were in sin and disobedience. Jesus however, had every right to and he made a giant statement by refusing to do so. He eliminated the entire crowd of accusers with one challenge that only he could fulfill, and when they had all gone he told her “neither do I condemn you.” This was foreshadowing of the great pardoning of sin that was about to come to us all through him. We can all be rightfully charged for our sin, but Jesus paid the punishment of death on our behalf. Jesus ended this on one important note. He told the woman to go and “sin no more”. This is a critical part of the story that we very seldom hear people talk about. We love hearing Jesus say “He who has no sin cast the first stone” and we love hearing Jesus say “neither do I condemn you” but we have a harder time celebrating “go and sin no more.” This wasn’t an implication that she would live a prefect life, but he was charging her to stop living a life of sin and disobedience.

Command: God expects me to live my life committed to him in obedience.

Promise: God doesn’t condemn me and he already paid the penalty for my sin!

Warning: If I willfully continue living life on my terms I can also expect to be held accountable.

Application: This story goes several directions depending on which place I am standing on. When I am in place of the accusers I can expect Jesus to remind me that I have no grounds to accuse anyone else because I am not free from guilt. When I stand in place of the woman I can expect Jesus to tell me that he doesn’t condemn me and to “go and sin no more”. When we truly understand the freedom we have when Jesus releases us from punishment, we are less prone to shake our fists at others. For me the huge take away is that I need to pursue a life of obedience to him. This is not perfection because nobody expect Jesus could accomplish this, but living a life that doesn’t excuse sin and doesn’t willingly walk in it.

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