Theme: “No Condemnation” Comes First
“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”
The story of the woman caught in adultery in John 8:1–12 demonstrates something very important. What enables someone to have the power to overcome sin? The threat of the law obviously didn’t stop the woman from committing adultery. But receiving Jesus’ acceptance—knowing that even though she deserved to be stoned to death, He did not condemn her—that gave her the power to “go and sin no more.”
Notice that Jesus saved the woman righteously. He didn’t say, “Don’t stone her. Show mercy to her.” What He said was, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” And on their own accord, the Pharisees and religious mob all left. Notice also that Jesus did not ask the woman, “Why did you sin?” No, what He asked was, “Has no one condemned you?”
It seems as if Jesus was more preoccupied with the condemnation of the sin than the sin itself. He made sure that she walked away not feeling the condemnation and shame. Let’s not reverse God’s order. When God says something comes first, it must come first. God says “no condemnation” comes first, and then you can “go and sin no more.”
Christian religion has it in reverse. We say, “Go and sin no more first, then we won’t condemn you.” What we need to understand is that when there is no condemnation, people are empowered to live victorious lives, lives that glorify Jesus. Grace produces an effortless empowerment through the revelation of no condemnation. It is unmerited and completely undeserved. But we can receive it—this gift of no condemnation—because Jesus paid for it at the cross.
Truth be told, none of us could have cast the first stone. We have all sinned and fallen short. In Christ, we are all on equal ground. If a brother or sister gets tangled in sin, our place is not to judge them, but to restore them by pointing them to the forgiveness and gift of no condemnation that are found in Jesus.
The only person who is without sin and who could have exercised judicial punishment on the woman was Jesus, and He did not. Jesus was in the flesh to represent what was in God’s heart. It wasn’t judgment. His heart is unveiled in His grace and His forgiveness. I like to say it this way when describing what happened as the Pharisees waited to stone the woman: The Pharisees would if they could, but they could not. Jesus could if He would, but He would not. That’s our Jesus!
This devotional is adapted from the book 100 Days of Right Believing—Daily Readings from The Power of Right Believing.
Credit for today’s daily Grace Devotional by Joseph Prince: Josephprince.org