There is a story in the Bible referred to as: “The woman caught in adultery.” I would like the rename it: “The woman caught having sex outside marriage.” We don’t know what kind of “adultery” it was. This could simply have been a case of sex before marriage. She could have been a married woman with a man who is not her husband. She could have been divorced. She could have been a widow. She could have been a prostitute. It is even possible she was a victim of rape. All we can really gather is that she was somehow got caught having sex with a man she was not married to.
This woman is dragged before Jesus and the witnesses say: “In the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?”
The New-NIV records Jesus answer as: “Let any of you who is without sin, be the first to throw a stone at her.” In other words: “If you’re so perfect, you should be the one to kill her!”
One by one, every single person leaves. Why? Because they all know, they are just as bad as she is.
The law said she had to be killed. It didn’t say this was optional. Jesus is perfect. He has every right to kill this woman for her “sin.” Instead, he looks into her eyes and he says: “Neither do I condemn you.” In other words: “I won’t hold you to the law. Instead, let me fulfil the law and the consequences for you. I love you too much to let you die – watch me go and die for you!”
Next Jesus says: “Go and sin no more,” or “Go and leave your life of sin.” Too many Christians think this is the point of the entire story. The point of the story is: “Neither do I condemn you.”
Nonetheless, let’s take a look at this verse about not continuing in sin. Jesus said this after he had already forgiven her, without her ever saying that she was sorry. Jesus is not looking for repentance, he forgives unconditionally. And when we understand that we are forgiven and we are free of the law and that Jesus 100% does not condemn us, then he, in effect, says: you don’t belong to sin and sin doesn’t belong to you.
He is saying: “You belong to me now. I have made you new. I have forgiven you. You do not have to live in sin and you are no longer a slave to sin, so go and your sins will be no more. You’ll stop wanting to do them. You’ll stop living like that because forgiveness has freed you.”
He is not saying: “Stop sinning or else.” He is saying: “I know you’ll stop sinning.” It’s not him putting pressure on this woman by saying: “I know you’ll stop sinning because you owe me.” It’s more like this: “After the cross I can no longer see your sin because I made you a new creation. You will be free and rid of sin because I WILL MAKE YOU FREE!”
Jesus is showing this woman that sin is forgiven and she no longer has to die or feel guilty or even change. He forgave without her having to change. In fact he changed her. This whole event would have changed her life in a positive way.
The fact that this woman’s sin was sex, only makes the story more riveting because the Western world condemns sexual sin more than any other kind of sin (in my experience and opinion) even though all people commit sexual sin. Jesus proved that all people commit sexual sin when he said: “Anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Unless a person died before puberty, I doubt there is a soul on earth that hasn’t commit adultery! Why the Western church chooses to labour against this “sin” so passionately but does not take the plank out of its own eye, is beyond me!
Jesus said: “Neither do I condemn you. Go and be free from sin!”