You who is without sin…

If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.

– Jesus, in John 8:7

We all know this story.  The adulterous woman brought before Jesus by the religious peeps who said by law she should be stoned for her crime.  And Jesus’ response to them after a moment of scribbling in the sand was that whichever one of them was without sin could be the first to pummel her with a stone.  And of course none of them were, so basically they all left and then Jesus told the woman to go and stop sinning.  The End.

But is that exactly what happened?  The responses I’ve gotten from a few of my posts lately, most recently including “he who is without sin should cast the first stone,” made me start thinking, okay maybe I’m wrong.  Maybe we as brothers and sisters in Christ aren’t supposed to call each other out in our sins.  We just give grace, grace, grace and more grace but never speak out against sin because in essence we are all sinners and have no right to judge another.  But it stayed unsettled enough in me that I felt led to go back and really read this part in the Bible.

And here’s what happened.  Yes, the teachers and the Pharisees brought this aduterous woman before Jesus, exposing her sin to Him.  But this is what verse 6 says:

They were using this question as a trap,

in order to have a basis for accusing Him.

It wasn’t really about her at all.  She was just the scapegoat of the moment to serve another purpose for them.  They didn’t really care about her.  They didn’t want to help her.  They didn’t want to see her set free from her sin.  They wanted to condem her.  And by doing so, they would condem Him.  See, their hearts were all wrong on so many levels.  And Jesus knew that.  And He made it clear to them that He knew by what He said. 

If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.

These were the Pharisees and teachers of the law.  They knew then that once a year an offering was made to cover the sins of the people…and they knew that included their sins too.  And they knew they had no argument with Jesus’ response.  But, I don’t think His response changed their hearts.  I mean, these were the same guys who kept on and on until they had Jesus on a cross at Golgotha right?  All they did was walk away and plot their plans for another day. 

They could have cared less about the woman and the state of her heart.  She was just a means to an end.

And once all the teachers and Pharisees has gone, Jesus stood and said to the woman

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.

That word condem in Greek is katakrino meaning to judge against, i.e. sentence — condemn, damn.  Gosh, if anybody had the right to judge against and sentence her ~ to condem her ~ right there and then, it was Jesus.  But He didn’t.

He did however tell her to go and leave her life of sin

He didn’t come to condem us…to damn us for all eternity.  He came to set us free.

Jesus is our second chance.  And third chance.  And fourth chance.  Because of His sacrifice, we are not condemed because of our sin.  We will all stand in judgement before the Father one day, but our sentence has been satisfied.  The price has been paid.

So does that mean then that we don’t have to try to be like Jesus?  We can just live however we want?  I mean we are all just a bunch of dirtbags, right?

Wrong.

Because of the blood of Jesus shed on the cross, we are children adopted into the family of the Creator of the Universe.  We are all part of a royal priesthood.  We are a fellowship of believers who love each other, hold each other up, walk through life together and keep each other accountable to our calling.  Matthew 18:15 (NASB) says this (and this is Jesus speaking here):

If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private;

if he listens to you, you have won your brother.

But right before this, Jesus was just talking about the lost sheep and how the shepherd with the one lost sheep would leave the other 99 to go after that one and how it wasn’t the will of the Father to have even one of His little ones to perish.  And immediately after that, He starts telling about how if a brother sins, to confront him in private about his sin and if he listens to you, you’ve won him.  One translation I read said basically, if you confront another in their sin and they listen, you’ve won that believer back.

I don’t know why getting this point clearly across has become so important to me.  I feel like I’m shouting from a soapbox.  You probably feel that way too I’ll bet.  What can I say?  I’m as stubborn as a mule sometimes.  But I just can’t stress enough how important it has been in my life to have an accountability partner that I trust with my darkest secrets, who will be real with me, who will confront me with the hard stuff even when it doesn’t feel good.  (Love you so much Mandi!)  My walk with Christ is better, closer, more real because of her.

If God had not meant for us to be involved in each other’s lives, He would have scattered His children all over the four corners of the universe.  There would be no fellowship of believers.  There would be no body of Christ.  We would just be islands unto ourselves.  But He didn’t do that.

He bound us together by the blood of His son.  He intertwined our lives together with a scarlet thread.

And as hard as we fight to take back what the devil has stolen…I would sure hope that would include a brother or sister who is wandering away from the Shepherd. 

 

 

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4 thoughts on “You who is without sin…

  1. It’s like you’re reading my mind. That verse you used is such an answer to hours and hours and hours of prayer, and it’s so obvious–I feel like I just had a should’ve-had-a-V8 moment. It’s crazy just how good all your posts are. You may think you’re just shouting from a soapbox, but even then, there are still people–people like me–who are in the woodwork OF that soapbox, listening intently for little tidbits of truth you might speak. And eventually, we’ll start coming out of the woodwork, and we’ll have you to thank for it. Thanks for being a voice of truth, J.

  2. Wow! You are on the money here!
    But…you know I have a but-no I don’t really, but…
    Actually as I said you are right, we are supposed to go out and teach all nations.
    When we care enough to let people know about Him, we are loving those people enough to show them the WAY. When we love them enough to want them to get away from their sins, and we let them know we are trying to help them because we love them, we are surely doing right.
    I guess the problem with lots of people is they/we aren’t ready or they get defensive, or they just don’t want to face up to it. No one wants to hear the bad stuff about themselves so they/we get defensive, so is it better left unsaid? Absolutely not! Would we let someone walk out in front of a car and not try to stop them? No!! Then why would we let them die in sin and die without the chance of forgiveness? I wonder about myself and others too. Why aren’t we all doing more? Do we think we have forever? M

    • And you are right about the defensive part. But Mary Kathryn made a comment a couple of posts ago that was a good point…that your ability to speak truth into someone’s life is really based on your relationship with that person. And like I said, many times when someone is calling me out on something and I get all defensive it’s because deep down I know that person probably has a bit of a point and I just don’t want to hear it. None of us like to be confronted with the yucky parts of ourselves. I know I don’t! Ha!! But I also know that I want to continue to be more and more like Jesus and I need people in my life that will not just tell me what I want to hear, but what I need to hear.

      As to why we all aren’t doing more, I think that’s because we somehow aren’t awake to what’s going on? We’ve lost our eternal kingdom focus.

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