Spoken Prayer: Out loud, pray for God to speak to you through your reading. Praise God for giving us His word. Ask the Spirit to help you read with faith, and to live out what you hear from God through the passage.
Sin is Real; Forgiveness is Better
by Dave Mann
This passage is one of the richest and strongest passages of the New Testament. It places next to each other a strong stance on sin and a warm embrace of forgiveness.
Before we get into that juxtaposition, let me acknowledge what some of you know already – that there is a troubling question about this passage. Does it belong in the original document of the gospel of John? Let me refer those who care about such things to John Piper’s message on the topic. https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/neither-do-i-condemn-you--3
There are many important lessons in this text. But what grabs me today is Jesus' dual message to the woman. Reread vv. 10-11. These verses come after Jesus deftly disperses the crowd that wants to stone the woman.
Jesus asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
Notice that Jesus does not excuse her sin. She was indeed guilty. Jesus was not going to sweep sin under the rug, to shrug it off, as though adultery were no big deal. Sin is real, and it destroys lives. It comprises our relationships with people and with God himself. The Son of Man came to deal with sin, not to discount it.
But notice also, that Jesus asks the woman if there is anyone left who can condemn her? She answers, “No one, sir.” But that is not true. In fact, the only person who has the authority to condemn her from the beginning is still standing right next to her – Jesus himself. He is the only one who has walked this earth with no sin of his own and therefore could legitimately condemn her. But the woman receives forgiveness, not condemnation.
This same forgiveness is offered to us. Paul writes in Romans 8:33-34 (in my own paraphrase): “Who is left standing to accuse us of sin? Who is authorized to condemn us? Only one – and he is the same One who has chosen to die for us and rise again. And where is He now? He is pleading our case before the Father. He is on our side!”
Merciful Father, thank you for not discounting my sin, but rather dealing with it by your death and resurrection. I am forever grateful for your forgiveness in Jesus’ name. Amen