Let me begin by sharing the scripture that I'm referring to (all scripture is quoted from the NASB):
John 8:1-11 1”But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2Early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach them. 3The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, 4they said to Him, ‘Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. 5Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?’ 6They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. 7But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, ‘He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.’ 8Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. 10Straightening up, Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?’ 11She said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said, ‘I do not condemn you, either Go From now on sin no more.’
The contrast we have, between the self-satisfied religious police on the one hand and the idea of a woman, who recognizes her true condition on the other, is the contrast between those who will accept or reject Christ. We see that people who have an experiential grasp of their needs are the same people who will grasp grace. People who do not understand their true condition or after a while become smug and self-satisfied and don’t understand grace are people who often won’t give it as well. We become a people who are so focused on our self-righteousness that we can no longer focus on our own condition.
So, where is the guy? Both parties are also to be condemned; the man and the woman. Look in Deuteronomy 22:22. There you will find the mosaic requirement: “If a man is found lying with a married woman, then both of them shall die; the man who lay with the woman and the woman; thus you shall purge the evil from Israel.” They basically violated the Law by not bringing him before Jesus and they also violated the Law when they set up a trap in the first place. In either case, they are so concerned with the Law that they are ready to violate it in an attempt to trap Jesus.
So, this trap was set to put Jesus on the horns of a dilemma. Here is what they are trying to do; they are pitting Jesus against Moses. So they are saying this to Jesus: "Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?" You can almost see that smug, satisfied look on their faces and “They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground." That is a very intriguing bit of text, isn’t it, the idea of writing on the ground? Jesus never wasted a motion and there was something going on there but the text chooses not to reveal it.
Instead of passing judgment on this woman we see that He turns it back on the judges. "But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, 'He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.'" Now, what He is really doing here is looking at the Law. That was the situation and here the woman’s accusers violated that very Law. Yet, they are asking Jesus if He is going to be following the Law. You see the contradiction there?
Jesus is trying to show them that they are hardly different from the woman in this regard. The case was more difficult because she knew she had a problem and they did not.
"Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone..." So, one group after another would drop their stones and quietly leave until finally they were all gone. "...and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. Straightening up, Jesus said to her, 'Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?' She said, 'No one, Lord.' And Jesus said, 'I do not condemn you, either Go From now on sin no more.'"
So, as we can clearly see, Jesus is not really minimizing the sin or contradicting the Law. For Him to forgive her is not a cheap thing at all. If we grasp the nature of Jesus’ forgiveness, it means that He would have to pay for her sins Himself in order for the Father to be satisfied. Basically, He is underwriting the cost of the human condition. Now, forgiveness is free, but it is not cheap. Someone must pay the price; the just must die for the unjust so that our relationship with God can be repaired. Otherwise, Jesus' offer of forgiveness really wouldn’t be meaningful.
Then in 2Cor. 5:21, there is this, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” The awful price of forgiveness, then, is Christ underwriting that and making it possible for us to receive it.
So, we see a clear picture of God’s provision. The Law was given to reveal our sin. Romans 3:20 reveals that, “because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.” The Law reveals the condition and drives us to grace. No one in the Law was saved by keeping the Law because no one could satisfy the requirements of the Law. Instead, the Law drove them to grace
The worst thing we can do is rationalize our foolishness and our sin and cover it up. God knows our heart and so when we come to Him we are understand that it is the Law, God’s righteous revelation of Himself, that convicts us. Conviction must always precede conversion. So it always is; a person must first become aware of their sin.
It is the self-assured, smug people, who will resist His claims and offers.
John 9:39-41 39”And Jesus said, 'For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.' 40Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things and said to Him, 'We are not blind too, are we?' 41Jesus said to them, 'If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, 'We see,' your sin remains.'" The one thing you can see with Jesus is that the more time people spend with Him the less they can ignore Him. You cannot spend much time with Him without accepting Him or rejecting Him.
Grace does not eliminate the Law, it satisfies it. Jesus, by fulfilling the Law, makes it possible for us to enjoy the grace of God.
Artwork from: http://www.morguefile.com
Artwork from: http://www.morguefile.com