10 When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”
With the departure of the legalists, the scene now shifted to Jesus and the woman.
When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman,
Jesus looked up after writing on the ground for the second time and asked two questions of the woman.
He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours?
“Woman” was a characteristic word men used to address women they did not know. Jesus did not ask about her sin but where her accusers were.
Has no one condemned you?”
Jesus asked this question to make a point to the woman.
She said, “No one, Lord [sir].”
No one had condemned the woman. The prosecutors abandoned their case against the woman. Neither did she offer an excuse for her conduct.
And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you;
Jesus’ final verdict on the woman was that He did not condemn her. This reflects His compassion for sinners.
go and sin no more.”
Jesus did not excuse the sin of the woman. He had no compassion for sin. He charged her to turn her life around. The story does not indicate whether the woman believed on Jesus. Our Lord can mix both mercy and justice. He treated the woman with dignity, not with disdain.
Forgiveness does not provide license to sin.
Grace and forgiveness are at the heart of Christianity. Some people in our day fear giving grace toward people, and they want to impose rules to protect others against licentiousness (Ro 6:1-2). Jesus had no such fear. He understood the power of a transformed life. Jesus wanted to restore the woman to a new sense of purpose and usefulness again. He did not want her to remain broken. Jesus gave grace that could not be purchased. His grace could only be given and received.
Jesus did not say to the woman, “It is alright. Go your way. You don’t have to deal with your sin.” No, He believed that this woman could change. He offered grace to her so that she could move on and receive a new purpose for life. Jesus was interested in saving the woman rather than exploiting her for His own purposes.
Instead of judging the woman, Jesus judged the judges. Her judges did not care about saving her but only about condemning Jesus. There is nothing in Scripture that indicates we are to wallow in guilt and remorse. Paul said, “Forgetting those things which are behind.” The Bible does indicate that we are to admit sin and deal with it. There is no virtue in berating ourselves day in and day out, year after year.
Guilt can be very destructive if we do not deal with it appropriately. It does not help our spirituality to not allow God to forgive us. On the other hand, neither does it help our spirituality to take the attitude that our sins are of no significance.