No Condemnation, Just Forgiveness

One of the most remarkable exchanges in the Bible is from a controversial passage.  It is debated because it is missing from some of the earliest manuscripts of the Gospel of John.  I’m glad those who compiled our Bibles included it because it’s so beautiful.

John 8:1 But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

It’s perfectly consistent with the rest of Scripture and for that reason, I find it encouraging.  God doesn’t desire to punish people.  He wants for us to turn from our sins and to pursue righteous living.

So it is consistent that Jesus doesn’t look for excuses to condemn people, to point out their failings, and dwell on their wrongs.  The teachers of the law and the Pharisees, the hyper-religious sorts rushed to judgment.  They looked for ways to point out problems with other people’s lives.

Jesus was different.  Even when confronted with someone whose failings were plain, Jesus’ response was to offer no condemnation, just forgiveness and an admonition to leave sins behind.


no condemnation

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on July 3, 2013

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