Our main scripture is taken from John 8:1-11. Please let us take few minutes to go through these verses.
John 8:1 Jesus went unto the Mount of Olives.
John 8:2 and early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.
John 8:3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,
John 8:4 they said unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
John 8:5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what do you say?
John 8:6 this they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he did not hear.
John 8:7 so when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He who is without sin among you let him throw a stone at her first.
John 8:8 and again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
John 8:9 and those who 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.
John 8:10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?
John 8:11 She said, No one, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, neither do I condemn you: go, and sin no more.
From this scripture reading, many of us can relate to the story of that woman caught in the very act of adultery or any other sin. Even well meaning, born again believers miss the mark sometimes. We ask ourselves these questions will Jesus forgive me or will he condemn me. Should I hide my sins from God? Maybe it is better for me to run away from God, for He is so holy and cannot stand sin and sinful people? These are legitimate questions which require answers. What is the opinion of Jesus on this matter of sin?
1. Jesus knows the Law, for He wrote it!
The scribes and the Pharisees brought the woman who was caught in the act of adultery to Jesus. They wanted to set Jesus up, to kill Him. They knew that from the Law: Moses told them if any one teaches people to break the Law or worship according to the ways of the pagan, that person should be put to death. Thus they were setting Jesus up; if He had said let that woman go free He would be breaking the Law, for such woman should be stoned to death. They would have stoned Jesus as well for He would be charged of teaching people to break the law.
But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. Now the recent archaeological searches in Israel have shown that in the days of Jesus, the temples and the synagogues floors were made of stones. Jesus was insinuating, by writing of that stony floor of the temple, it was my finger that wrote on those two tablets of stones that I gave to Moses (Exodus 31:18). It was not Moses who gave you that Law, My finger wrote it!
2. Jesus is telling the scribes and Pharisees, they have left out or omitted Justice.
I have always wanted to know: what did Jesus write on that floor? I wish it was recorded for us. This is just a speculation but I think He might have been writing the names of all those scribes and Pharisees, and their affairs: with whom each one of them slept! Ah, I guarantee having your dirty laundry exposed like that will make you leave the scene quickly like they all did! You could see them holding their stones in their hands ready to pelt that woman to death with them. And after Jesus wrote on the floor, you could hear one of them saying to the one standing beside him: please hold my stone and stone for me, my wife has just made dinner and she does not like it when I am late for dinner; another would say to the one standing beside him, here is my stone please stone for me I need to go to the stadium today Jerusalem united is playing Jericho rangers! They all found some excuses and left the scene!
But seriously, what might have Jesus written on that floor? The foundations of the throne of God are righteousness and justice; mercy and truth go before the face of God (Psalm 89:14). Let us hear the truth of the matter! It takes two to commit adultery, since they said that she was caught in the “very act”, we suppose that the man was there with her. How is it that they only dragged the woman? Where is the dude? I think he might be one of them! They are covering up for him! If they wanted to stone the woman for adultery they must also stone the man for that’s what Moses told them in Leviticus 20:10. Why apply double standards? They have clearly omitted and perverted justice.
3. The admonishment of the Lord starts with the leadership then the people.
The people imitate the ways of the Lord just as the leaders are doing. For the leaders are their patterns, Paul will tell the people imitate me just as I imitate Christ (1Corinthians 11:1). The priests used to be the ones who taught the ways of the Lord to the people. And later in the days of Nehemiah and Ezra; scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees emerged and started to teach the people also. People are struggling with sins and they know they should not be practicing sin but they look for the blessing or approval of the leaders. Therefore if the leaders are condoning sin, and the leaders are living in the same sin; the people will continue in their sin, because they have seen it in the life of the leaders. Therefore God will tell those leaders in Hosea 4:9 like people like priest, for the people have just been imitating their leaders!
Today when some leaders are caught up in adultery they do not even repent but justify it. They say David did the same thing and was still anointed! But David repented and God disciplined him, God told him: what you have done in secret your son will do it with all your concubines on the roof of your palace that all Israel may see your disgrace (2 Samuel 16:21-22). Since these scribes and Pharisees omitted and perverted justice then the Lord will have mercy on that woman, for He said in Hosea 4:13-14 if your daughters commit harlotry and your brides commit adultery; I will not punish them for the men themselves basically do the likewise. I am a just God! I do not apply double standards! Although our main scripture reading addresses adultery, it can be applied to any other sin.
4. God does not condemn us but convicts us.
Jesus told them “he who is without sin among you let him cast the first stone at her”. He stooped down once more and wrote again on the ground. I still do know what He wrote but it was so powerful that it convicted all of them. They wanted to use the law against that poor woman and Jesus unleashed the full wrath of the Law against them. For even if they were not physically guilty of adultery or fornication; Jesus told them that adultery and fornication have been already committed when a man looks at a woman to lust after her in his heart (Matthew 5:28). And even if they were not guilty of sexual sin, they were at least guilty of another kind of sin: showing partiality, wanting to stone the woman and not the man, by this they committed sin and were convicted by the law as transgressors (James 2:9). And furthermore all mankind are born in sin because of the sin of Adam; it is only when a person is born again that the sin of Adam is blotted out. Those people were not born again believers so they were still in their sins.
The account of John tells us they were convicted by their conscience. Our conscience will either excuse us or accuse us (Romans 2:15). It accuses or convicts us that what we did is wrong, or it excuses us if we have done nothing wrong. God does not condemn anybody he convicts the person. The individual has to make his own choice once convicted: either to repent or to go his own way.
Condemnation is the utterance of a sentence of strong disapproval against what someone did, therefore sentencing him to punishment. After all the people had left the woman was left alone standing in the midst with Jesus. Sin is personal, we must come to the place in our life when everybody is gone and we are standing before the master Jesus. No one is forcing us or coercing us into confessing our sins. For Jesus has the power to forgive our sins no matter how big we think they are (Matthew 9:6). If we confess our sins Jesus is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
Conviction is to be proved or found guilty of a crime charged, by our conscience or God our Judge. But the sentence to punishment has not yet been issued. The bible tells us in (Romans 3:23) “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”. The Spirit of the Lord through the hand of Paul is convicting the entire world of their sin, not condemning. For Jesus said when the Spirit of God has come, He will convict the world of sin because they do not know Jesus (John 16:8-9). Jesus wants to take away our sins for He is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29, John 1:36). The scribes and the Pharisees being convicted decided to walk away from the Lamb of God who could help them with their sin issue. If one repents toward God and believes in Christ he will be saved (Acts 20:21). But if one acts like those Pharisees and scribes though they had been convicted, walked away from Christ, did not repent toward God nor put their faith in Christ then they condemned themselves (Mark 16:16).And People who do not come to Jesus will be cast into hell fire that is the punishment. It is not Jesus or God the Father or the Holy Spirit who sentenced them to that hell fire. But they sent themselves there by rejecting the provision for sin that was made for them when Jesus died on the cross. For God the Father so loved the entire world that He gave his only begotten son Jesus to die on the cross that whoever believes in Jesus should not, though being convicted of sin, perish in hell fire which is the punishment when a person is condemned of sin; but have eternal life (John 3:16).
The woman stood alone before Christ, though she was convicted of her sin of adultery she was not condemned. The lamb which was slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8) received the punishment for her sin when He died on the cross. Why should anyone want to be condemned or sentenced to punishment, when Jesus had been sentenced to punishment for all our sins at Calvary?
Let us not hide our sins from Jesus and the Father, they know we have sinned. Even in the life of born again believers, sin is there sometimes. For John was writing to believers in the letter of 1 John; sin in the life of a born again believer affects the communion or intimacy or fellowship he has with the Father, the Son and the Spirit. God knows we have sinned, He is omniscient (all knowing); He wants us to take ownership of our mistakes. That is why John will tell the believers in 1John 1, he wants them to have the same fellowship that the apostles are having with the Godhead. Sin has been affecting their fellowship with the Godhead, but if they confess their sins, God is faithful and just to forgive them and cleanse them of all unrighteousness. Sin interrupts fellowship with the Godhead. Adam and Even partook of the fruit of the forbidden tree in Genesis 3, their first reaction was to hide from God, but God was looking for them in to cool of the night to come and fellowship with them; they hid themselves from God. They were convicted of sin and their conscience was convicting them. God knew they had sinned, but He wanted them to take their responsibilities and ownership of their mistakes. Eve blamed the serpent; Adam blamed God and the wife God gave him.
As born again believers we are already children of God, we are in of the household of God; we are heirs and joint heirs with Jesus (Romans 8:17). Because we are children, all that the Father has is already ours (Luke 15:31). The Father basically tells us that if He did not spare His only begotten son Jesus to die on the cross for us, so that we can become His children and His heirs; how can we possibly doubt the fact that He promised to give us freely all things (Romans 8:32)? Now that Jesus has died; the testament or the will of God for us is now in force both the Old and the New Testament (Hebrews 9:16-17). And all the promises of God in Christ Jesus that are contained in the testament are yes and amen (2 Corinthians 1:20).
If it is so, how come we are not enjoying what is in the will of our Father? One of the reasons is sin, not the only reason, but one of them. Born again believers who practice sin, wonder why is it that the word of God is not working for them? The Hebrew root word for sin has the meaning of “missing the mark hence not sharing in the prize or reward”. It is like a parent who has children in the house, if he knows that one child has a weakness in the area of finance, he is always stealing money. Though the father loves that child, when he travels he will not commit the financial resources of the household to that child who has been stealing from him! That child is not mature in the area of money. So we see, though the father told him all is yours, the father does not give him the money. The promise or the prize or reward could have been the son’s if he were mature.
Paul knowing the Jewish and Greek/Roman culture will tell the church in Galatia (Galatians 4); though they are heirs, all things are theirs but as long as they are still children meaning not mature, they will still be under guardians and stewards. The guardians and stewards will be administrating the inheritance of orphans until they are mature. In the Roman law the person was placed under that guardian or steward until he was 25 years old, then he could receive his full inheritance. In the Jewish law that orphan must be 13 years old and one day for a male or 12 years old and one day for a female. But if there is no sign of maturity it was protracted or delayed until he or she was 20 or even 35 years old.
Jesus was our kin who died and left us a will, and if one does not mature the inheritance though it is rightfully his as heir, will not be entrusted to him by the heavenly Father until He sees some sign of maturity. Paul will tell us that the law is that tutor or guardian who was telling us not to sin; but if one is still practicing sin that believer still needs the guardian which is the law (1 Timothy 1:9-11). Why would any born again believer want to be under a tutor hence delaying the promises of God in his life?
Jesus said to the Woman neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more. Jesus will never tell us that our sin is too big that he cannot forgive us! If we come to Him with our sins He will by no means cast us out (John 6:37). He is telling us now that we repented toward God and put our faith toward Jesus, our sins are forgiven and we should go and sin no more. We do not have to feel condemned anymore about our past life, for now that we are in Christ there is no condemnation because we walk in the spirit (Romans 8:1).
5. The power to go and to sin no more
Jesus did not say to the woman “go and sin the more”, but “go and sin no more”. Jesus cannot ask us to do something that is impossible. If He told us to go and sin no more, He meant it! Once upon a time we were all in that prison of sin, not the verb sin but the noun. We all had sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23); because of the disobedience of our father Adam, we all fell with him and became sinners (Romans 5:19). We could not help ourselves but sin; because sin was in us, or we had a sinful nature. There was no power in us to rule over sin or sinful nature, for we all became sinners.
We were in that prison of sin even slaves of sin (Romans 6:6). Just like a slave or a prisoner has no power inside him to be set free; so we tried with our will power to stop sinning but we were not capable. Someone needed to ransom us; someone needed to make a prison exchange. Therefore Jesus who is our second Adam when He obeyed God by being crucified on that cross ransomed us; even though we were sentenced to death for the wage of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Jesus was sentenced to death on our behalf so that we can come out of that prison of sin, or sinful nature.
When an individual realises he has been in that prison of sin or sinful nature for so long and wants to be set free. He repents of his sins and sinful nature towards God and places his faith in the finished work of Jesus on the cross. That Jesus actually was sentenced to death for him too. He declares publicly that Jesus is now his Lord, and believes in his heart that God raised Him from the dead; then he will be set free from that sinful nature and saved (Romans 10:9-10). Immediately the prison exchange happens the individual is transferred from the kingdom of darkness and its powers over one’s life to the kingdom of light where Jesus is the King of Kings (Colossian 1:13). One used to be in that prison of sin but now is in the prison of righteousness not by his own merits but that righteousness has been imputed to him (Romans 4:6).
Now that sin is no longer our condition but righteousness, Jesus expects us to go and sin no more. But one can ask himself this question: where will one get the power to sin no more? Do you remember we have to believe that God raised Jesus from the dead? Yes, the power to rule or have dominion over sin is in the resurrection of Jesus. When Jesus died we died with Him to sin, our old sinful nature was crucified with him; and when He rose from the grave we rose with Him to this new man to whom God has imputed righteousness (Romans 6:6). Once we are born again the spirit of the Lord who raised Jesus from the dead comes and dwells in us to quicken our mortal body, to empower us to live the same life that Jesus lived on earth (Romans 8:11). We do not have to sin anymore for we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus now.
6. How does one practically have dominion over sin?
Even well meaning born again Christians still struggle with sin, they have the Holy Spirit, spend time in prayer and reading the scriptures; but they still struggle with sin. They might not be practicing sin but it is in their mind and are thinking about it.
1Corinthians 6:9 Do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate (homosexual), nor abusers of themselves with mankind (sodomites),
1Coorinthians 6:10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
When Paul wrote this letter to the believers in Corinth, this used to be their lifestyle before they came to Christ, and at this point in their Christian walk, they where still struggling with some sins and especially sexual sins. God is not afraid of our sins. And Paul will tell them that if people, who are practicing those sins which he listed above, do not repent, which is to turn around and forsake their old ways and not just merely say they are sorry; they will not enter the kingdom of God. Let us define some of the sins mentioned in detail before giving practical ways to rule over them. The original text is in Greek. The word translated here fornication is the Greek word “pornos”.
Who is a “pornos”? Is some one who disposes of his or her body as merchandise and sells it wherever he or she travels. That person can be a slave hence has no free will or does it willingly. Thus the word “pornos” will denote: fornicators, debauchees, libertines, prostitutes, hookers, and lap dancers. It is also to indulge oneself in unlawful lust, can be likened to pornography today for it was derived from that Greek word “pornos”.
The other things mentioned are easy to understand. The ABC of how to avoid sexual sin is to flee (1 Corinthians 6:18). Joseph took off, leaving behind him his mantle; when the wife of Potiphar, his master wanted to lie with him (Genesis 39). Even if one has to jump from the first story of a building and break a leg; flee! If one is struggling with pornography either through magazines or DVD or internet. The first thing to do is to avoid those shelves in one’s news agent where the x-rated magazines are displayed. One must put an internet protection, to prevent him from accessing x-rated websites.
One must be accountable to someone. People when they struggle in one area of their life they try to hide it. The bible tells us to expose the works of darkness and have no form of intimacy or communion with them (Ephesians 5:11). The problem has been this: sometimes when we shared our struggles with people they judge us and tell our secret to everybody; there has been a problem of confidentiality in the church. The bible says that we should confess our sins or trespasses to one another and pray for one another that we should be healed of those addictions or sins which are plaguing our lives (James 5:16). Satan knows the power of confessing of sins to one another it breaks its power over us because that sin is no longer a secret for we have exposed it. One can apply it to other issues or addictions, like smoking, using drugs, drinking, stealing, embezzling etc. One needs to find a mature born again believer to whom he can entrust the sins that have become strongholds in his life.
The third thing is to agree with the finished work of Jesus on the cross. One must believe that when Jesus said on the cross “it is finished” that in fact all our problems found their solutions on that cross 2000 years ago. One must confess or profess what the will of God, which is found is the bible, says about him. Once a person is born again, not only he believes that Jesus died for him but also the fact that God raised him from the dead. And the same Holy Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead is now in him to empower him to live a victorious life, a life free of any addiction, a life free of all sexual immorality, a life of dominion over sin.
Many people think that confession is merely saying “I am sorry!” One of the meanings of the word “confess” in Greek is “homologeo”: saying the same word. As born again believers we say the same words that is in the will or testament our Father left us. Since Father said whom the Son makes free is free indeed (John 8:36). Therefore we claim our freedom from any addiction, since it is in our will or testament. Whatever problem or struggle one is facing, one needs to find what the Father said in the will, and say the same thing. For the words that Father spoke to us and were recorded in His will are spirit and life (John 6:63). Meaning: the words contained in His will have the power to give life to any dead situation in our life, to free us and to empower us.
Find scriptures in the will or testament of your Heavenly Father which address your problem and start confessing them or saying the same thing Father said concerning your situation.
Finally dear brethren, just like that woman, of our main scripture reading, stood alone before Jesus with her sin, when others being convicted walked away from the only person who could help them, Jesus. We must come to Jesus and tell him where we have missed the mark. Jesus can handle our sins, and empower us to sin no more, restore our fellowship with the Godhead. If one has never given his life to Christ it is time to do so, and invite Jesus into his life.
May God bless you and keep you in Jesus’ name.