“Cast the first stone”

StonesHow many of you remember the account of Jesus and the woman caught in adultery?  Before you continue reading, consider this scene for a minute.

If you don’t recall, or have never heard the story, allow me to hit the hi-lights:

  • The religious leaders, trying to trap Jesus, present a woman caught in adultery to the crowd and to Jesus while Jesus is teaching
  • They tell them that the Law of Moses requires that she be stoned
  • Jesus addresses those that were taking up stones and basically says, “sure, go ahead, but whoever among you is WITHOUT sin, let him be the one to cast the first stone”
  • The stones fall out of their hands, and they leave with no one left to stone her

That is so cool!

But if we stop there we miss the bigger picture.

Yes, Jesus says, “Where are they? Is there no one left to condemn you? Neither do I condemn you…”

Jesus showered her with GRACE! Just as the song says, “Amazing GRACE how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.”

However, what is the dot-dot-dot…what is the last thing that Jesus said to the woman?

Jesus says, “…now go and sin no more.”

If we do not follow up grace with truth we run the risk of cheapening the grace for the hearer. If all this woman heard was, “neither do I condemn you”, she may have kept doing what she had been doing, after all, “Jesus said He didn’t condemn me.” In addition to that, the religious leaders weren’t even able to say they were without sin. You can see how we run the risk of adopting the, “everyone sins” mind set.

Yes, everyone does sin; however, that statement is usually said from the vantage point of someone that has no desire to repent of their own sin. When we face God on Judgment Day having not repented of our sin our defense isn’t going to be, “but everyone sins”.

Jesus calls us to repentance. In addition, Paul makes it clear that we are not to cheapen grace by continuing in sin:

Romans 6:1-7 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin.

You can see how it is always grace PLUS truth.

Lastly, you can picture the scene as you read John 8. Jesus turned to the religious leaders to deflect their feeble attempt to trap Him; then He turns back to the crowd that was listening to Him teach before the interruption and the first thing He says is:

John 8:12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

 

We are called to repent, trust in Him, follow Him, and abide in Him. This is not a simple profession of faith and then keep living for the lusts of this world; that is what has been commonly called “Easy Believe-ism” that leaves the deceived condemned.

1John 3:7-8 Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. 8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.

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