In John Chapter 8, Jesus has an encounter with some Jewish religious leaders, and a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. As these religious leaders pointed out to Jesus – the sin of adultery was punishable by death according to their laws.
If you’ve never read this historical account, it has a very interesting ending.
Jesus responded by stooping down and writing something in the dirt with his finger. These religious leaders persisted with their questions about the woman caught in adultery. Note: They weren’t interested in the woman (nor the man involved in the adultery) and they weren’t interested in their law – they were trying to find some way to trick Jesus or find fault with Him so they could accuse Him in some way before the people.
Jesus responded by telling them if any of you are without sin, go ahead and begin the process of killing her by throwing the first stone. Starting with the oldest leaders among them (interesting), they all walked away leaving the woman in the presence of Jesus.
Jesus asked the woman a couple of questions and then told her that He did not condemn her. This is amazing grace, but the thing that sometimes gets overlooked is what Jesus said after telling her He didn’t condemn her. He ended His encounter with her by telling her to go her way and SIN NO MORE.
In other words, I don’t condemn you, but you need to change your lifestyle.
For us to fully experience the grace that God has freely given, we need to do the same thing. We need to be repentant of sin (change our mind & change our direction). Don’t excuse what you’ve done or blame it on someone else; confess your sin (agree with God about it) – repent of sin (turn from it) – and make the choice (with God’s power & grace) not to live this way any more. I believe the liberty experienced in grace is best expressed in life-change.