in John's Gospel -- Part 12
By: A.J. Higgins, M.D.
In our last article we considered the activity of
conscience in the dramatic incident in the outer Temple.
The incident also teaches another important
lesson. It revealed menís concepts as well. There in
that outer courtyard was the great confluence of all the
representative philosophies concerning sin. Consider
the woman first of all. Only prejudice singled her out
over the man. She is nevertheless before us. In
her we see the guilt of sin. She had gone in for
her sin with little thought of the consequences.
Shortsighted and selfish, the only thought was the
moment of satisfaction and pleasure. Now sin has brought
with it the shame and inevitable punishment. But
she is not alone here. Moses is introduced to the
company. His presence is not literal but representative
in the law. His attitude to sin is governmental.
God had pronounced that sin brings death. The law
could reveal sin and punish sin, but never remove it.
"The Law could
reveal sin and require punishment, but never remove
who shamelessly paraded
the woman before others are here. Their attitude
towards sin is evident. Callously and unfeelingly
they have displayed this woman with little thought about
her feelings. Sin to them is not a cause for
concern, it is only a tool for advancement; it is a
game; an opportunity to display the incongruity of
absolutes and to remove from Christ His authority.
But what was Christís attitude to sin? He stood
morally apart in incarnate purity. As the woman is
brought before Him and the crowd her crime proudly
announced, He stoops down to write in the ground. Many
have been the conjectures through the ages as to what He
wrote. Suffice it to say that there was in Him moral
sensitivity that was repulsed by the open callous
exposure of sin. Open humiliation was never the tactic
of the Christ. Twice the accusers had to prod Him to say
something. Only upon their insistence did He turn the
tables by telling those who were not guilty of the same
sin to lead in the stoning. Of all the assembled throng
there that day, Christ alone knew the true meaning of
sin. He knew it, not by personal experience, but by
the true meaning of sin. He does not excuse sinÖHe
virtue of His own moral
impeccability that saw it as the antithesis of all that
God is. He does not however excuse sin. He
does something completely consistent with Deity. He
forgives sin. The woman was left alone in His
presence. All her accusers had retreated. The only
morally fit Judge was before her. The Lordís
words to her reveal His attitude toward sin and His
thoughts towards the sinner. "Go and sin no
more." Her deed was sin. Her life was
no longer to be characterized by it. There is no
overlooking or minimizing of her sin. "Neither do I
condemn thee". There is full forgiveness for
her sin. His attitude is summarized in that unique
characteristically New Testament word: grace.
Heaven will be peopled by a company who upon earth have
come into the good of Godís thoughts about sin (Rom.
3:23; 7:13), but also into the good of His thoughts
about themselves. A company of people who like the woman
of our chapter have found themselves exposed in all the
vileness of their sin before the holy eye of God, but
who have found in the finished work of Christ upon
Calvary the great remedy for sin. "In Whom we have
redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sin,
according to the riches of His grace." (Eph. 1:7).
"In Whom we
have...the forgiveness of sin..."
grand news of the New Testament is that men destined for
eternal banishment from Godís presence can have the
absolute assurance here upon earth of the forgiveness of
sins and their eternal destiny. Allow the words of
the aged apostle John to put an end to doubt in this
matter. "I write unto you dear children because
your sins have been forgiven you for His Nameís
sake." (I John 2:12). "These things have
I written unto you that believe on the Name of the Son
of God that ye may know that ye have eternal life."
(I John 5:13)