Summary: Repentance needs to lead to future avoidance if we are to live for Christ.
Have you ever wondered why there are so many tales of failure in God’s Word ... so many indications of how people have failed in life? This suggests two things to me, among many others. One is that the Bible has these kinds of stories in it because God wrote it. If people had written this in their own inspiration, a lot of things would have been glossed over or explained away. But God is honest and true. He knows the truth and tells the truth.
The other reason I believe these stories are in the Word of God is because He is a God of grace, and these stories remind us of our sinfulness and of God’s grace ... how He loves us, forgives us, and cares for us.
Would you look for that as we read John 8:1-11? READ
This presentation perfectly corresponds with all the Biblical presentations of the character of God. Too often, we are prone to picture God as some resident policeman, some cosmic killjoy who likes to rap our knuckles when we seem to be having a good time. Many times, we picture God as some pouting sovereign who is angry because we didn’t keep His rules. If the life of Christ tells us anything, it tells us that the Lord is not very interested in useless rules. But He very much loves people, and He knows how much sin hurts people.
You wonder about the hurts of this story. What about the woman’s husband?
What about the wife of the man she was caught with?
I’m sure, Jesus was angry because the man wasn’t brought in with her. After all, they were caught in this act together. God hates sin, but He loves people. He cares so very much about people, and He knows that sin always hurts people.
Our Reactions to Sin
We have here a picture of reaction to sin. I think when this woman was first confronted her reaction was like everyone of us when we’re caught
red-handed. What do you do when you’re undeniably, unavoidably, unmistakably, unable to explain why you’re caught in the act of sin? I think her first reaction was to say, "What right has anyone got to judge me? What right does society have to say about two consenting adults doing whatever they want to do?"
I think, first of all, she was angry, and that anger then gave way to fear.
Isn’t that how it happens? The anger soon fades away, fear is there, and we’re afraid. "What’s going to happen to my family? What are the people going to think? What’s going to happen to me?" Sin always has its consequences, and when we face that, we begin to be afraid. "What’s going to happen when I stand before God with this record?"
Then comes shame. Shame always arrives late, but it stays longer. I’m sure the shame was there, too. We see a picture of how God’s character is consistent in loving the sinner and hating the sin, never giving up on that. Our reaction is much like that. First, anger ... then fear ... then shame.
His Reaction to Sin
We see the consistent way that Jesus always deals with sin. He says to the woman, "Where are the people who accused you?" She said, "They’re not here."
He said, "I don’t condemn you either."
That’s an interesting statement, isn’t it? He said, "I don’t condemn you. Go and sin no more." There’s the salt and the grace in everything Jesus did. There’s the grace that says, "I do not condemn you," and there’s the salt that says, "Go and sin no more because it’s going to hurt you every time you do it. It’s going to tear your life up every time you’re caught up in this." Your sin will always backfire. Your kicks will kick back. Sin is going to hurt. That’s why God doesn’t like it.
He said, "Neither do I condemn you." Remember John 3:16, QUOTE.
But do you know what John 3:17-18 says?
Jesus didn’t come to condemn anybody. He came to save people who were already condemned because of their own sins. He said, "Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already ..." It was already the condition. He said, "I don’t condemn you, lady. I came to save you.
I care about you." That’s His reaction every time to sin. That’s what it’s really always about.
Have you ever wondered how she did after this? What happens after you say, "I’m sorry"? Did she sin again? Could she live a life of purity after this? Was this some kind of recurring sin that was a part of her life, a thing she had to bear as it kept being repeated over and over again?