When the Pharisees, in unconscionable cruelty towards the woman, and in inexcusable arrogance towards Jesus, brought the woman taken in adultery, they considered it a slam-dunk conviction of her or him. If Jesus pardoned her, he neglected Moses. If he condemned her, his reputation as a merciful teacher shattered into bits John 8:1-11.
When he out-thought them by writing their own sins in the dirt, they left one by one, oldest to youngest. Then…appreciate his personal pastoral nature…he refused to condemn her. That comported with a reminder Cominius offered Coriolanus when he determined to exact vengeance on the Romans. “…how royal t’was to pardon When it was less expected.”
In John 8, however, Jesus faced a woman whose only sorrow may have been getting caught in the sex act. He didn’t ask if she had repented. Or if she wanted to make a new start in life. He simply said he didn’t condemn her—forgiveness in another form surging through the words. For he then added that she shouldn’t continue in that sin.
The woman’s condition, leading to the Master’s gracious refusal to judge her, establishes a spiritual principle. The very fact that God doesn’t immediately damn us if we sin should inspire a new life in us. His forgiveness offers a chance to renew our perspectives. Though we still often use it as an excuse to sin again and repeat the cycle of repentance, forgiveness and renewal. Why won’t we instead put into action the Spirit-given energy that expresses Christ’s resurrection power instead of repeatedly exercising his Calvary forgiveness?
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New Apologetics book: Their Own Best Defense, Volume 2, Part 1
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