Let’s look at the story of the adulterous woman told in John 8. When asked about whether this adulterous woman should be stoned, Jesus said in verse 7 that the one who had never sinned should be the one to cast the first stone. Rather than stand in judgment against the sin of others, Jesus told the people to look at themselves and their own guilt before God.
The same message applies to us today. Those of us who call ourselves Christian must stop crying out at the sins of others and turn our gaze upon ourselves.
We must be the example of pure and holy living, not standing in judgment, but sharing the gospel and love of God so that others may be set free from sin.
No one is without sin, not one, (Romans 3:23) and in the eyes of God sin is sin, whether it is murder or sexual immorality or lying.
Most Christians know the story of the adulterous woman, and that no one, including Jesus, condemned her for her sin. But we Christians often fail to apply the rest of the message Jesus gave this woman: “Go and sin no more.”
If Jesus told her not to sin anymore, that means it was possible for her to do just that. My mind reels at that thought. I’m human, after all. But that is an excuse we use to escape our responsibility, as well as a weapon of Satan. If we’re convinced we can’t lead a sinless life, we’ll make little or no effort to do so.
The adulterous woman chose to live in sin. She knew full well what she was doing was wrong. And I believe that’s what Jesus is talking about when he said sin no more. He wants us to choose righteous living, to resist sin and live a pure and holy life.
Leviticus 11:44 NKJV tells us “For I am the LORD who brings you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.”
The believer is called to live a holy life. We can do that only with the power of the Holy Spirit active in our lives. We do not live under the law (the Ten Commandments), but under grace (made pure by accepting the free gift of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross). This grace doesn’t mean we can accept God’s gift of salvation and then willingly continue to live a life of sin (see Romans 6).
In the coming days, as we draw nearer to Christ’s return, let us examine our own lives. Does sin abide in us? We may think our heart is pure because we love our spouse and don’t lust after others. Or we don’t lie or cheat or murder. But there is sin that is not so obvious such as worry and doubt, or trusting in money instead of in God.
Yes, I’m human and I sin. When faced with temptation I make the conscious decision to cry out to God for help in resisting, or I choose to give in. When I sin, I repent and ask forgiveness.
Daily I must choose to live a holy life. Within my human nature, I do not possess the power to do so, but through the power of the Holy Spirit residing within me, I can.
When Jesus returns, He is returning for a pure church, a glorious church without spot or wrinkle (Ephesians 5:27). Yes, we are saved by grace, not by works. Allow that grace to have its way within you, conforming you to the image Christ.
“Jesus replied, ‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40 NLT)
Allow God to do a work in your heart. Seek Him today, for today is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2 NLT). Pray and ask Him to reveal any sin in your life. Then repent, and as David cried out in Psalm 51:10, ask God to create in you a clean heart and to renew a steadfast spirit within you.
(For a more in-depth look at sin and grace, read Romans 6.)