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What Jesus Does When You are Taken in Sin

By Pastor Hal Mayer

Dear Friends,

Welcome to Keep the Faith Ministry. Thank you for joining me as we open God’s word and study an important subject for the end times. As the prophecies rapidly unfold, we are aware that we need Jesus more than anything else to deal with the coming challenges on God’s people. But we also need Jesus for our salvation. I hope and pray that today’s message will especially help you in your walk with Christ. It is one thing to know the doctrines and the prophecies. It is quite another thing to know Christ. The prophecies open the way for us to understand Christ, for they are about Him.

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Before we begin our message today, let us pray. Our Father in heaven, thank you for Christ who loves us with a love so powerful that it reached down from heaven and brought us salvation. We do very much need His transforming grace in our lives. We want to live for Jesus in these last days. I pray that You will guide us as we study your word again today, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Please turn with me in your Bibles to the seventh chapter of the gospel of John. Here is a story that shines brightly down through the ages, right to our own time. There are many today who need to understand this story and its personal and practical applications. I hope you will be greatly blessed by this presentation.

As Jesus ministered to the multitudes some of them did the same thing that many do today. They got into a debate. In this case the debate was over whether Jesus was the Messiah. Many believed on Him because of the miracles that he did. But in verse 26, some pointed out that Jesus worked boldly. “But, lo, he speaketh boldly, and they (the church leaders) say nothing unto him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is the very Christ?” Verse 32 says, “The Pharisees heard that the people murmured such things concerning him.” They were disturbed that Jesus threatened their little spiritual and temporal kingdom. And then the Bible says, “and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take him.” But the officers could not.

In their presence Jesus said, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.” Being in the happy presence of Jesus was like taking a long cold drink of water on a very hot, dry day after a long walk in the heat of the sun. It was so refreshing that it brought relief to many a sin-burdened soul. The Pharisees had nothing spiritual to offer the people. They were as dry as the hills of Gilboa. They would stand in the pulpit in the synagogue and go through the formalities of their religion without giving the people the living water. Jesus, on the other hand, always had something for the people that was wet with the dew of heaven, full of meaning and encouragement. The contrast was so stark that the people flocked to Christ to hear what he had to say.

Verse 38, “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” These words amazed the people because Jesus was telling them how to be a blessing to others as well as to themselves. He was offering them life, life they could impart to others.

Isaiah had predicted this when he spoke of Christ, saying, “Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people,” Isaiah 55:4. The Commander of heaven was to give water to the thirsty. “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price… “Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David,” Isaiah 55:1, 3.

How do you think the Pharisees received word about the wonderful works of Jesus? Do you think they rejoiced when the sick were made well and the demons were cast out? Do you think they were pleased when the dead were raised to life? Oh, no. They were very unhappy with His behavior. They had criticisms. They had accusations. Jesus had come to bless the world with the light of His heavenly presence. But those in charge were deeply angered by what Jesus did because it drew the people away from them. They thought they had a corner on the spiritual market and felt that Jesus intruded on it. But heaven had sent Christ to overthrow the teachings of the Pharisees and placed the confidence of the people in the word of God.

Did you notice that the verse in John 7:38 says, “as the scripture hath said?” Jesus was continually undermining the authority of men and placing the confidence of the people on the authority of the word of God. This was His mission. Do you think that this needs to be done today?

But some thought they had better get the church leaders opinions before taking a stand for or against Christ. They didn’t want to be in opposition to the leaders and it was vitally important to them that Jesus was in harmony with the leaders. Otherwise, they would not be acceptable either if they took the opinions of Jesus to themselves. They did not want to be put out of the synagogue because of an association with someone that was not approved.

Now let us come to chapter eight and begin with verse one. At the end of a long, tiring day, full of conflicts and controversy, “Jesus went to the mount of Olives.” This was often His practice. He would find a retired spot where He could pray and commune with His Father in heaven. He often went outside the city to the Mount of Olives when He was working in Jerusalem. Perhaps His retirement to the mount was partly because no friend dared to offer Him his home in Jerusalem either in kindness or out of courage and give Him a night’s lodging. His persecutors had houses of their own to go to, but not Christ. Perhaps He left the city because He did not want to be caught up in a popular tumult in the night. He knew that the rabbis were capable of stirring up the multitudes, especially in the darkness of night. He knew they were planning to take Him at night.

Friends, it is prudent to go out and away from danger to avoid peril whenever we can do it without letting go of our duty. And Christ’s example is instructive. During the day He worked openly in the temple and willingly exposed Himself to the perils of the rabbis. He was under special protection when doing His duty. But in the night, when the people were asleep and He had no other work to do for them, He retired to the country, and sheltered Himself there, as inconvenient as it may have been. And there He would pray and commune with God and seek His strength for the next day’s labors.

After a night of prayer Christ came back to the temple. The Bible says in verse two of John chapter eight that it was early in the morning. Jesus was a diligent teacher of righteousness and would start out early. Though He taught the day before, He would teach again today. He was continually working for His Father’s kingdom, teaching and preaching in season and out of season.

Why did Jesus come to the temple? It wasn’t so much because it was a sacred place, but because that is where the people were that needed to hear what He had to say. And His words and teachings were rich with the dew of heaven after a night of prayer in the garden on the Mount of Olives. Jesus also by teaching here in the temple, would approve of solemn assemblies for worship. They don’t always have to be in the sacred places designated for the worship of God, but the point is He approves of them. The Bible says that Jesus sat down to teach as if He was going to be there a while. He intended to speak to the multitudes that would come to hear him.

Friends, it is early in the morning when you learn the richest lessons of truth from Jesus. Go and hear Him early. “O God,” says the Psalmist David, “thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.” Notice that we see God’s power and glory early in the morning before our busy day gets started. There in the dawning light of a new day, we learn of God first. We pray and listen to His voice.

And just as worshippers started coming to the temple that day, there was Jesus teaching them. Friends, if you want to experience the grace of Christ, come in the early morning while the morning stillness will help you hear the voice of God and will prepare you for the challenges of the day. The early morning is when Jesus is especially there to bless you and strengthen you. It is the time of day for refreshing your soul with the water of life from the true and living fountain. And when a days work is to be done for the Lord, you need to start early in the morning, so that your soul is ready for the temptations and aggressions of the evil one.

When Jesus entered the temple something happened that disturbed the rabbis and Pharisees. The scripture says “all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.” Can you imagine that? All the people came unto Him. Many of the people were from outside of the city and had come there to attend the Feast of Tabernacles. They hoped for one more gracious sermon from Jesus before returning to their homes. Even though He came to the temple early, they came to hear Him. They did not want to hear what the priests had to say. They could hear them anytime. But it was more than that. The priests and rabbis had nothing to give them spiritually and the people were aware that Jesus words were like water to a thirsty soul. They yearned to hear what Jesus had to say.

The Feast of Tabernacles or the Feast of Booths was a joyous time after the Day of Atonement. It was a prophetic type of the rejoicing after sin and sinners will be no more at the end of the Great Controversy with Satan. What a fitting symbol of God’s power and love in overcoming the enemy. This prophetic feast is still to be fulfilled, though all the others have no further meaning since Christ has been the anti-type of them all.

So, even though the people knew that listening to Jesus would displease the rulers, they flocked to Him anyway and listened intently as He spoke earnestly to them. This angered the rulers. They felt themselves besieged and threatened by Jesus. Yet Jesus wanted them to hear Him too. Most of those that came to hear Jesus were not wealthy or men of notoriety. Yet Jesus taught His lessons for everyone including the leading men and rulers of the people. And though they were angry at Him, they came and listened too.

This was not the first day Jesus taught in the temple. He had been there many times before. The rulers knew He would be there that morning. After all, it was the Feast of Tabernacles and the people were required to attend. But these leaders entered into a conspiracy against Him and hatched a deadly plot to get rid of Him.

They knew a woman who had serviced their secret desires in the past. And some of them knew how to find her. In spite of the joy of the Feast of Tabernacles, it was often made an occasion to sin. Some of them may have sinned with her against their own wives and against God. She was quite voluptuous and attractive. But she was very insecure and very vulnerable to male overtures. She had actually been led purposefully into sexual sin by some of them. Repeated compromise had weakened her and now she could not resist them.

Every time it happened, she felt like a filthy, evil woman. She knew it wasn’t right. She had brushed it off. But the men she saw came to expect her to yield. Her sins were many and she felt condemned in the eyes of the Pharisees, even though she had been with some of them. How could God accept such a sinner as she? How could she ever have a home with the righteous in heaven? There just seemed to be no way out of this evil cycle of sin.

Jesus yearned for her soul. He loved her, not in the way of these men, but as a heavenly friend. He longed to give her victory over her sins. She heard about Jesus forgiving sins and wondered if her sins were too great to be forgiven. After all, they were many and serious. She was afraid to come to Jesus because she would have to come privately. After all, her sins, though they were grievous, were not that well known. But coming to Him privately would appear to be inappropriate. Satan told her that she had no hope and that it was no use going to Christ. He couldn’t forgive her anyway.

Now the Pharisees agreed to use her to get to Christ. They agreed that one of them would get her to meet him and then at the right time, they would “catch” them in the act. So, one evening, she was contacted by one of her regular clients who asked her to come to a place where they had often met. She went to him knowing nothing of what was about to happen to her.

At the most vulnerable moment they were discovered. The woman saw the very ones with whom she was intimately acquainted accuse her of sexual immorality and drag her early in the morning to the temple for prosecution. The Romans let the Jews stone people for adultery. The woman was terrified. These men were about to publically expose her, in the midst of the assembly, in front of Christ, as her judge.

Imagine the shocked surprise of the people who were watching and listening. The rulers intended this because they wanted all the people to watch Christ fall into the trap set for His feet. His words would condemn Him one way or another, they thought. And the more public the exercise, the better.

The woman had heard about Jesus. But she thought she was too much of a sinner to be forgiven. Such a pure man would never be interested in her dilemma. But then she heard something that gave her a glimmer of hope.

Turn with me to Mark 2: 15 and 16. One of her friends told her a strange story about how Jesus even went openly and boldly into the home of Levi Matthew, a tax gatherer and ate with a whole group of them. The Pharisees mocked and scoffed Him for eating with tax collectors and sinners. “And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in [Levi Matthew’s] house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him. And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners?”

And she was a sinner, according to the priests and rabbis. Maybe there is hope. But she brushed it aside, thinking He would never give her the time of day. Yet the word on the street was that He was interested in these sinners and enjoyed their friendship. People even said that He was so kind and so friendly with everyone including the lepers, who were the sinners of sinners, maybe He could help her get out of this despicable lifestyle. Maybe there was hope after all.

But her mind must be playing tricks on her. She had gone too far, she thought; too far to be received by Jesus. The Pharisees had even made that clear to her in their own pious way. They claimed that if He ate with this kind of people, He must be one of them and did not deserve their approval. There were sins that God could not forgive, right? She asked herself.

You see, it was all about approval of the authorities. If the religious authorities were opposed to something, then it must not be right. Defensiveness and protectiveness twisted the love of God so badly that common people like her felt as if there was no real chance of reaching the standard. “I have to realize that there is no hope for me,” she said to herself. “Get a grip! Be realistic. My sins are too great for me to be saved.”

But one day another friend told her that Christ forgave sinners. But the idea that Christ was a friend of sinners was so radical that it was hard to believe. “The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners,” Matthew 11:19.

“If Jesus was a friend of sinners, maybe He would be my friend too,” she wondered. “Maybe He can help me get out of this sinful lifestyle. Maybe there is hope for this terrible destructive cycle. Maybe He can help me overcome my need for male approval and love, so that I don’t fall into sexual relations with every man that comes along.”

Jesus understood this woman. He always understands a heart that is burdened by sin and wants freedom from its slavery. He is so loving and kind that He will forgive even the worst sins and corrupt lifestyle. He wants fellowship with the worst of sinners. It is a great joy to Him to free them from Satan’s grip. It brings glory to His name. It magnifies His grace and love.

When the Pharisees brought this woman to Jesus and condemned her, they pointed out that the law of Moses required an adulterer to be stoned. She was terrified as she stood their in front of Him. These men had never said anything before. Some of them had set her up. Why are they so determined to kill her now?

The priests and rabbis had been arguing with Him the previous day. He had given them evidence of His divinity by exposing their plot to kill him, which they thought He did not know. They were breaking the law, which they professed to keep. Hypocrites! They did not like being exposed, so they reacted by saying, “”Thou hast a devil: who goeth about to kill Thee?”

They tried to insinuate that Jesus miracles and wonderful works were the result of the work of an evil spirit. But they were under the evil one, not Christ. And like a flash of light Christ revealed His divinity to them by exposing their plot.

As their anger grew, they again laid plans to arrest Him. If He remained at liberty, they feared that the people would be drawn away from them, the established leaders. They had to silence Him if they could.

And now today, they were going to try to trap Him so that He would be ensnared by His own words. As Jesus returned to the temple early in the morning after a night of prayer and refreshment with His Father in the Garden of Gethsemane, He began teaching the people. The scripture says in John 8:2 that “all the people came to him.” It was as if Jesus was a magnet. They weren’t interested in what the priests and rabbis were saying or doing. They were interested in what Jesus was saying and doing. And this was the real issue. It was a conflict between Christ and the church leaders. Their authority was under stress and they were threatened even by His presence.

Many of them had felt the conviction of the truth of His words, but had squashed the feelings and intelligent recognition of Christ as the messiah. They turned their backs, because of what it would cost them. They would lose their worldly standing and would be despised and rejected by the multitudes.

Yet, He attracted the multitudes and this made them angry and fearful. When men in power are fearful, they will go to no end to persecute those whom they fear. Think what it will be like in the last days, when the nations of the world will be fearful of God’s people. Once sufficiently demonized there will be mass hysteria about them. If the disasters and calamities that will come upon the planet are a result of those that practice true worship and they refuse to follow the beast and keep his day of worship, the people will not want them around. They will easily think that in order to purge them, they must be hunted down and killed.

Think about it. Only the angels of God will be able to protect them ultimately. And that is how many of them will survive.

Ruthlessly, the offending, terrified and crying woman was dragged to the feet of Jesus still in her nightclothes and roughly thrown in front of him.

But my friends, isn’t that the place where we should be, at the feet of Jesus? When we sin, we must repent. The only escape from eternal consequences is to go to the feet of Jesus. Satan is the accuser, but if we are at the feet of Jesus, we’ll be safe from his accusations. It is at the feet of Jesus that we receive forgiveness and healing from the very sins that Satan has led us to commit and then turned around and accused us. It is at the feet of Jesus that we gain our defense against the adversary. It is at the feet of Jesus that we can find true self-worth and a clear understanding of His love and the cost of His sacrifice.

“Master,” they said with a certain sneer, “this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act,” John 8:4. Notice that they call Him “Master” when the day before they called Him a deceiver. Jesus recognized their hypocrisy. And friends, if you are in Christ, He will show you what you need to know when you are about to be trapped in some adversary’s net.

In order to dispel any suggestion that this was a rumor, they made it clear that there is no doubt that she is guilty of a crime against heaven and against the church laws. She was caught in the act. Yet, it was her accusers who had led her into sin in the first place. But friends, isn’t it in mercy that God often exposes us so that we will not continue in it and be hardened against Him? Our sins are set before us, not for condemnation, but for conviction so that we can turn and repent.

“Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?” And the implications were serious. “You, who pretends to be a teacher come from God and do away with the Law of Moses, replacing it with a new one. Who do you think you are?” They were tempting Him so that they could have occasion to accuse Him, (vs. 6). They had misinterpreted the Law of Moses and the Love of God. Now as if with triumphal victory, they posed a question sure to take this Christ into conflict with Himself, or in conflict with the Romans. Either way, they would be able to discredit Him and get rid of Him. They fully expected that He would acquit her. And by this, they would discredit Him in the eyes of the people by saying that He came to destroy the law and the prophets. And as a friend of sinners, He was consequently in favor of sin. And if He would let the sin go unpunished, they would represent Him as a patron of sin. He would not be respected by the people if He would countenance sin and yet be a prophet who should be strict and pure.

With great interest, the people who had been listening to Jesus wondered what He would say. All voices silenced and all ears were tuned to how He would respond to this question. Would He say the right thing, or would He say the wrong thing. It was clear to them that Christ was in a dilemma – between a rock and a hard place, so to speak. If He answered that she should not be stoned, they would have been able to accuse Him of being disloyal to the Law of Moses and the church. If He said that she should be stoned, they could accuse Him to the Romans and they would take Him off their hands.

“Many among Christ’s hearers who were dwellers at Jerusalem, and who were not ignorant of the plots of the rulers against Him, felt themselves drawn to Him by an irresistible power. The conviction pressed upon them that He was the Son of God. But Satan was ready to suggest doubt; and for this the way was prepared by their own erroneous ideas of the Messiah and His coming,” Desire of Ages, page 457. These people were aware that Christ was dealing with men who had no regard for human life. They were only concerned about their own power and some of them secretly hoped that Christ would overcome their plot.

Jesus looked with pity on the scene. Here was a trembling woman, shamed by the very men who led her into sin. Here were the hardened faces of the Jewish dignitaries, devoid of sympathy and love. Jesus knew their wicked hearts and He clearly understood their scheme and that it was aimed at Him. They were not seeking justice for the woman. They were trying to find a way to undermine His heavenly teachings and His powerful influence. They were very angry and could not be reasoned with. They were so devoid of human pity that they would not accept mercy, nor would they accept justice. They were after Christ. They wanted Him dead and they could hardly conceal their rage. But an unseen power put a limit on their rage, saying to them, “thus far shalt thou go and no farther.”

Jesus also knew the heart of the woman standing in disgrace and shaking in fear before Him and He longed to give her peace and forgiveness of her sins. He knew that she hungered for peace and victory, but felt that she could not ever get it. She was in the vortex of the deadly controversy between Christ and the church leaders. And her life hung in the balance. What would Jesus say? What would He do?

Jesus did not answer the question directly. He stooped down and began writing in the dust of the ground with His finger, “as if he heard them not,” (vs. 6). Through her tear-filled eyes, the woman tried to see what He was doing as He traced His finger in the dirt and sand. Did she see the word “adultery” there? “Was He writing about her?”

These wicked men thought they had caught Jesus and that He was avoiding them because He could not answer the question. But their curiosity got the best of them too. They couldn’t help but crane their necks to see what He was doing. But they did not understand the nature of His actions. They pressed Him to respond to their question. “What do you say, Master.” They had put their own reputation on the line in bringing this adulteress to Jesus for judgment. It was Him against them. And they put enormous pressure on Him to give them a quick answer, hopefully without thinking of the consequences, and they would get him. But Jesus continued writing in the sand. They should have assumed that Christ’s delay in answering them was a warning to their intentions.

Eventually He stood up, looked the conniving rabbis in the eyes, and said “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” The woman flinched and whimpered, thinking that a stone would go flying and hit her at any moment. After all, these rabbis represented themselves as righteous and everybody else as sinners. But no stones came. The Pharisees were thinking about what Jesus said. They knew in their own hearts that they were utterly sinful. By giving the one without sin permission to stone her first, He had actually prevented any of them from doing so. These men were filthy. Their conniving had led her into sin in the first place. Here is a statement from Desire of Ages, page 461. “These would-be guardians of justice had themselves led their victim into sin, that they might lay a snare for Jesus.” Their aims were to kill Jesus. And they would kill a woman caught in adultery if necessary to get at Him. They had already demonstrated their hatred toward Christ. How could any of them claim that he was without sin?

Only Jesus was without sin. He was the only one in that crowd that would have been free to cast the first stone. But what did He do? He loved the woman so much; He wanted to save her from her sin so much, that there was no way that He was going to pick up a stone.

Yes, the woman deserved the death penalty for her sin. She was like poison to the nation. Sensuality was a great sin because it is so deceptive and addictive. If women like her were permitted to go unpunished, there would be no deterrent to all manner of evil and wickedness that would descend upon the nation. She deserved to die. She deserved the just penalty of the law. She deserved to be removed from the nation. She knew it. The Rabbis and Pharisees knew it and Jesus knew it.

Yet, not one stone was cast at her. Not even a small one. No one moved even to pick up a stone when Jesus said those words, “He that is without sin, let him cast the first stone.”

Just put yourself in her place. Think about your sin, my friends. Do you deserve to die? Yet, Jesus does not lift up a stone of accusation against you. He loves you with an everlasting love and longs to reconcile with you. He knows that if He, the Saviour of mankind, were to accuse you, you would turn from Him in anger and disgust. He knows that He must appeal to your heart with forgiveness, not justice.

We all understand justice. We all know the result of our evil behavior. Punishment and death is the only end. Yet, Jesus stoops down to lift you up and restore your manhood or your womanhood. He longs to remove your filthy garments of self-righteousness and replace it with His robe of purity and holiness. Oh, that it was as easy to see this as it is to see the justice.

But Jesus took your punishment for you. He suffered on the cross for you. He fulfilled the demands of justice on your behalf. He took all your sins on His own heart. He can now legitimately offer you freely of His grace, which is designed to free you from the shackles of sin. Yes, the amazing thing is that His grace is free. It will change your life and give you forgiveness (which is justification) and free you from the power of sin, so that you sin no more (which is sanctification). It is truly wonderful to have peace with God and be restored to His favor as His child. If you accept it, you are free.

The terrified woman had long before wished that she could come to Jesus and learn of Him. Now here she was in the worst of circumstances and Jesus had just pronounced the death sentence – so she thought. But Jesus was actually in the process of freeing her from her sins. He acknowledged the law and its justice and righteousness. But another end would be for her than its demands. Christ was going to forgive her and let her go free. Jesus was going to change her life by His power.

John 8:8 says, “And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.” The straining to see what Jesus was doing intensified. These wily church leaders began to realize that Jesus WAS answering their question by His writing in the sand. They were full of sin and uncleanness. Jesus made that plain to them in Matthew 23:27 and 28. Listen to it. “Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye are like unto whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.” Have you noticed that the ones who are most zealous to defend the law are often the very ones who indulge themselves?

But, it was not pleasant to see one’s own secret sins exposed before the whole community. Remember that there were a lot of the common people watching as intently as themselves. One by one they realized that He knew their individual and particular sins with the most painfully accurate and starkest reality. He was writing them in the sand, from the oldest first to the youngest. Their faces went white in shock. “How did He know?” they must have thought. The Holy Spirit added the weight of guilt upon each of them as they read His words in the dust concerning their own wickedness and deeds of darkness.

Listen to what John 8:9 says. “And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.”

Their consciences were smitten. Conscience is God’s deputy in the soul. And one word from Him will set it to work. Even the most conceited and arrogant cannot escape the condemnation of conscience. So, they left one by one as if to sneak away without being noticed. They quietly pulled out of the debate. Jesus had turned the conviction of the prisoner on the prosecutors. With the net that they spread for Christ, they caught their own feet. They came to accuse Him, but they ended up accusing themselves. Though Christ agreed that she should be prosecuted, He appeals to their consciences that they are not fit to be her prosecutors. They were executing her by their tongues, would they be willing with their hands to execute her, when they were guilty of perhaps even worse sins. You see, these men had presumed to judge her, when they were every wit as guilty of sins as black as hers – namely hatred and the execution of the Son of God. They should never accuse others when they are guilty of similar sins. After all, who, at one time or another in their lives isn’t guilty of some form of fornication. Jesus said, in Matthew 5:28, that to even look upon a women in lust was breaking the seventh-commandment.

One by one these evil conniving men saw their own sins written in the street below their feet. One by one, they found excuses to depart quickly. “Oh, my wife needs me to pick up something at the grocery store. I’ll see you fellows later.” “I have an appointment I’ve got to get to…” “Oh dear, I’ll be late for my child’s bar mitzvah if I don’t go now.” One by one, they quietly departed, not wishing to make a scene and drawing attention to themselves.

Listen to this statement of the inconsistency of the Jewish rabbis in their behavior from Desire of Ages, page 461. “With all their professions of reverence for the law, these rabbis, in bringing the charge against the woman, were disregarding its provisions. It was the husband’s duty to take action against her, and the guilty parties were to be punished equally. The action of the accusers was wholly unauthorized. Jesus, however, met them on their own ground. The law specified that in punishment by stoning, the witnesses in the case should be the first to cast a stone.”

Those who wish, or presume, or are obliged to accuse others should look first upon themselves and be harder on sin in themselves than in others. That is vitally important if ever we are going to discern the true wickedness of sin. We must be tender and kind to the ones who have committed sins. Keep in mind; the snuffers of the tabernacle were made of pure gold. If you wish to snuff out sin, make sure you are also of a similar character. If you are guilty of sin, then you cannot accuse others. You can pray for them. You can admonish them. But you cannot accuse them.

Christ came to our world to bring sinners to repentance. “For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them,” Luke 9:56. Christ determined to bring all His listeners that day to repentance, the woman by His mercy, the priest by revealing that He knew all their sins and the common people through witnessing the whole glorious scene. The scene had first looked bad for the woman and for Christ, but in the end, it was turned to show that Christ was the victor and the woman set free. How much more did Christ want to set these rabbis free! But they would not. They sought to ensnare Him, but He sought to convince and convert them.

Eventually, when no one was left to accuse her, “Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?”

Notice that Jesus lifted up Himself. When Jesus is lifted up all accusations and allegations are gone. No one is left but the sinner and Jesus. Once Jesus has pointed out the guilt of the evil one, who accuses His children, the wicked one must flee. These leaders were representatives of Satan. They were inspired by his ideals. They reflected his image in their hatred of Christ. They had yielded to temptation to resent the influence and power of Christ and now they wanted to kill Him.

Jesus accomplished a number of things by this action. He had not set aside the law of Moses, which was utterly important to these legalistic rabbis. He had not infringed on the Roman power, so they could not accuse Him of that. And He had exposed their guilt to each accusative soul. “They trembled lest the hidden iniquity of their lives should be laid open to the multitude; and one by one, with bowed heads and downcast eyes, they stole away, leaving their victim with the pitying Saviour.” That’s Desire of Ages, page 461. The last thing they wanted was their sins exposed by Christ to the multitude. That would totally discredit their claim to righteousness, and it would cause the people to despise them and disregard their counsels. Jesus had written their sins in the dust of the pathway where busy feet would quickly wipe them out. He was merciful to the rabbis too. Isn’t that incredible? Not everyone could read those words. They were not cut into the cobblestones. They were not blazoned upon billboards and signs. No, they were where they would quickly disappear.

Jesus is not anxious to expose anyone. He is not willing that any should be discouraged by their sinful lives. Yet, He does expose our sins to ourselves so that we can see ourselves as we are and repent and be converted. He must explain the gravity of our own selfish and wicked hearts in order for us to run to Him for forgiveness, cleansing and righteousness.

Jesus could have condemned the sinful woman. His spotless purity would have shown in marked contrast to her filthy life. Yet, He drew her to Himself. He did not spurn her, or turn from her, or leave her there on the street without assurance of His saving love. He forgave her for all her many and grievous sins.

Through her tears, and as her terror of being stoned to death subsided, she said, “No man Lord,” Verse 11.

It is those whose cause is brought to Jesus and who stands before Him condemned; it is those whose lives have been lived in full awareness of their sinfulness and wretchedness, that are most ready to receive His forgiveness. Those who have grown up in the church and have never left it, have the hardest time to understand their immorality and wretchedness. When Jesus separates the sheep from the goats in the parable, He is speaking of church people who think they are saved when they are not. The clamors of the law are silenced by the blood of Jesus applied to your record of sin. We are then left standing alone with Jesus. Now we have only Jesus to deal with because with Him all judgment is committed. My friends, let the gospel of Christ rule you. Let its power free you from the power of sin. Secure yourself with Christ.

No one condemns the one whom Jesus forgives, my friends. Think about it. Jesus is the refuge of penitents. The devil’s demands are reproved and rebuked. The enemy is no longer the master of the forgiven soul. Jesus replaces the enemy’s malice with His love and kindness. He restores the soul from the damage that has been done by the evil one. He recovers the lost by His saving grace.

My friends, do you want the grace of Jesus in exchange for your sins? What peace and relief it brings. What a huge blessing to know that Christ cares for you personally and individually as if you were the only person on the earth. He loves you and will send all of heaven to rescue the worst sinner on the planet. He loves to save you from your sins. He longs to forgive you. That is His nature. He longs for you to overcome the enemy in your life. That too is His nature. He longs to restore you as His child and He wants to give you a home in His kingdom.

And with all the heavenly love that He had, He kindly “said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee…”

Please take note of what Jesus says. If there is one person that understands the human soul and its propensity to sin, it is Jesus. Humans love to sin. We are caught in the clutches of the enemy and we cannot help but sin, unless we have the love of Jesus in our hearts. Jesus understands. He doesn’t excuse sin. He doesn’t lessen the gravity of sin. But, He says, “neither do I condemn thee.” I don’t condemn you for sinning? I have come to save you from the enemy. I have come to restore you in the image of God.

We understand that we are guilty of sin. Jesus knows that we know this. We naturally think that Jesus will not forgive us if our sins are gross enough. He wants us to understand that all we need to do is come to Jesus confess our sins and seek His forgiveness and He will freely and abundantly pardon.

Jesus acknowledges that the woman had sinned and that she is condemned to death for those sins. But He is sympathetic to her plight. He knows that she cannot overcome them herself. She needs His power in her life.

Yet, being guilty for the sin is not the emphasis of Jesus’ message to her. The main point He is trying to get through to her is His love and forgiveness. Without it she would be lost. But with it she has everything including eternal life. Jesus is kind to her. He gives her hope.

Jesus also gives her a little counsel. “Go and sin no more,” He adds. With every command, Jesus provides the power to fulfill it. We are hopelessly unable to fulfill His will, yet we must. Therefore, the only solution is that Jesus gives us His grace to overcome. It is grace from start to finish. Powerful grace. Essential grace. Grace is God’s way of picking you up, dusting you off and putting you on the path of life. It is grace that empowers the human agent to live for Jesus. When Jesus says, “go and sin no more,” He is talking about living by grace. We are not just forgiven by grace. We are to live by grace. Grace isn’t merely an act of legal justification, an act by which we are forgiven. No. It is the very act of grace to give you a life of victory. Without it you cannot live righteously. Christ offers it to us and reaches down and restores us to His likeness, so that we can live His character in our lives. Isn’t that wonderful news?! Praise the Lord for the righteousness of Christ. Our efforts are worthless, yet we must fulfill His will with our efforts. But in reality, it is only cooperation with Christ that transforms the life by grace. You cannot overcome sin. That is impossible. It is only possible to overcome by the grace of Christ.

Christ will not condemn those who have sinned, but who repent and determine in their hearts to go and sin no more. He will not take advantage of us because of our former rebellion and wickedness. He will cast it into the depths of the sea and forget about it. It is the devil that keeps bringing it up before us to condemn us and make us feel as though we cannot be reconciled to God. Therefore, Christ’s love and grace toward us in the remission of sins through His blood should be the prevailing argument with us to go and sin no more. Romans 6:1,2 says, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” If Christ has forgiven and restored you, why give the devil any reason to accuse you again.

Paul says in Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life that I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

When Christ forgives and cleanses us, He gives us a new heart. When we have a new heart, we no longer desire to sin. That leads us away from Satan’s temptations. Notice that Christ lives in the victorious Christian. We are no longer to live for ourselves. We are no longer unto ourselves, but unto Christ. We live by His faith, not our own. It is His grace that restores, by implanting His faith in our lives.

Jesus calls on the prosecutors. “Where are thine accusers,” He says. “Hath no man condemned thee?” Christ knew where they were, but He asked this question that He might put them to shame those who did not want His righteous judgment. He also wanted to encourage her to resolve to live by His judgment. Paul says it this way in Romans 8:33, “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.”

This wretched woman is now one of God’s elect. Isn’t that wonderful? He has turned her slavery to sin into freedom and righteousness. She is forgiven and at peace. Now she forgives her accusers. “No man, Lord,” she says. She does not point the finger at them in accusation. She does not triumph over their misfortune. She cannot because she has been forgiven much. She only loves Christ. And so must we. We must love Jesus more than our own skin. We must love Jesus more than our own reputation. We must love Jesus more than our vindication.

The woman is so grateful for Jesus sparing her life and not condemning her, that her heart was melted. She threw herself at Jesus’ feet, sobbing out her grateful love and with bitter tears confessing her sins. She was free and the relief was so great that she determined that she would never fall into that sin again. Her love was so full that she took His feet in her hands and thanked Him over and over for what He had done for her.

Listen to this powerful statement from Desire of Ages, page 462. “This was to her the beginning of a new life, a life of purity and peace, devoted to the service of God. In the uplifting of this fallen soul, Jesus performed a greater miracle than in healing the most grievous physical disease; He cured the spiritual malady which is unto death everlasting. This penitent woman became one of His most steadfast followers. With self-sacrificing love and devotion she repaid His forgiving mercy.”

Again, listen to this amazing description of Jesus’ work of salvation from Desire of Ages, page 462. “In His act of pardoning this woman and encouraging her to live a better life, the character of Jesus shines forth in the beauty of perfect righteousness. While He does not palliate sin, nor lessen the sense of guilt, He seeks not to condemn, but to save. The world had for this erring woman only contempt and scorn; but Jesus speaks words of comfort and hope. The Sinless One pities the weakness of the sinner, and reaches to her a helping hand. While the hypocritical Pharisees denounce, Jesus bids her, ‘Go, and sin no more.’”

Then there is some counsel to us. “It is not Christ’s follower that, with averted eyes, turns from the erring, leaving them unhindered to pursue their downward course. Those who are forward in accusing others, and zealous in bringing them to justice, are often in their own lives more guilty than they. Men hate the sinner, while they love the sin. Christ hates the sin, but loves the sinner. This will be the spirit of all who follow Him. Christian love is slow to censure, quick to discern penitence, ready to forgive, to encourage, to set the wanderer in the path of holiness, and to stay his feet therein.”

Friends, can you imagine how it is in heaven when a soul is restored to God? It is hard to imagine the heavenly choir singing the praises of Christ. But it’s true. True salvation is so wonderful, so encompassing, so relieving, that when it happens all of heaven hears about it and rejoices over the one sinner that repents.

Listen to this from Signs of the Times, April 3, 1884. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him.” In view of the glorious inheritance which may be his, “what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” He may be poor; yet He possesses in himself a wealth and dignity that the world could never bestow. The soul redeemed and cleansed from sin, with all its noble powers dedicated to the service of God, is of surpassing worth; and there is joy in Heaven, in the presence of God and holy angels, over one sinner that repents, –a joy that is expressed in songs of holy triumph.”

Songs of holy triumph? Yes, that’s right, you can have heaven singing over you. Repent and be converted and Christ Himself will sing with joy. And so will the Father. Here it is from Zephaniah 3:17. “The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.”

It is the love of God toward him that converts the sinner. He reaches all the way down to us through Christ and touches our hearts with the very thing that we need to be melted. That’s what Jesus did for that woman.

Do you remember that Jesus was at the Feast of Tabernacles when He forgave and freed the woman of her sins? The Feast of Tabernacles was a fitting prophetic symbol of the final freedom from sin when the earth is cleansed from its defilement by fire and is restored and re-created again in its pristine and original beauty. What a day that will be! Can you imagine what it will be like?

Try to imagine this heavenly scene described in the book Selected Messages, Volume 1, and pages 306-307. It is about the final proclamation that sin is vanquished. “There is the throne, and around it the rainbow of promise. There are seraphim and cherubim. The angels circle round Him, but Christ waves them back. He enters into the presence of His Father. He points to His triumph in this antitype of Himself–the wave sheaf–those raised with Him, the representatives of the captive dead who shall come forth from their graves when the trump shall sound. He approaches the Father, and if there is joy in heaven over one sinner that repents, if the Father rejoices over one with singing, let the imagination take in this scene. Christ says: Father, it is finished. I have done Thy will, O My God. I have completed the work of redemption. If Thy justice is satisfied, ‘I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am’ (John 17:24). And the voice of God is heard; justice is satisfied; Satan is vanquished. ‘Mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other’ (Psalm 85:10). The arms of the Father encircle the Son, and His voice is heard, saying, ‘Let all the angels of God worship him’” (Hebrews 1:6). {1SM 306.4}

Look what it next says in John 8:12. “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

If you have Christ, you have His light in you. You follow Him in the light, and you no longer walk in darkness, or with the deeds of darkness.

Listen carefully to this statement from John 3:19. “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”

The only condemnation that comes to men is because their deeds are evil and of darkness. They are under the control of the evil one, who does His in darkness. Have you ever noticed how much wickedness is done in darkness? Nightclubs operate at night, in the darkness. Prostitutes work after dark. We speak of the “night life” of the city, which is after the sun goes down. Thieves like the dark because it gives them cover for the evil deeds. Even many of those evil things done in the daytime are still done carefully so that they will not be seen.

Friends, do you want the freeing, forgiving love of Jesus in your life? Then surrender to Him. Let Him place you in His care. Come before Him as you are, weak, sinful and repentant. He will not turn His back on you. He will forgive you. That is a certainty. His blood will cover you and you will be free to live a life that is no longer subject to sin. Today, there are many that teach that you cannot overcome your sins. But friends, in these last days, Jesus promises to find those who will give their all to Him and live righteously in this wicked generation. He wants to show the power of His mercy in your life. He wants to demonstrate that power by giving you victory over your sins. “You are my witnesses,” He says. Let Him have your sinful life, so He can replace it with His sinless life.

God bless you as you find in Christ your salvation. Let us pray. Our Father in heaven, thank You for Jesus who gave Himself that we might be free of sin. Thank You for loving us so much that You would empty heaven to save us. May we respond to Your love by inviting You into our hearts that we may live according to your righteousness in the grace of Christ we pray, Amen.