Jesus saves the adulteress – and the lessons it teaches us

Some sins are more serious than others, right? What about the consequences? Who deserves to be punished and who deserves to be forgiven? Answers from a divine service by the Chief Apostle.

“So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, ‘He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first’” (John 8: 7). This was the Bible text Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider used in Lampung (Indonesia) on 18 May 2017. This is taken from the story of the woman caught in the act of adultery. By law she was to have been stoned. But Jesus saved her and told her to sin no more. “It is important that we take a good look at this story because we can recognise ourselves in this woman,” the Chief Apostle said.

“Go and sin no more!”

“All of us are sinners, every single one of us. That is why we cannot enter eternal fellowship with God. “Jesus wants to forgive us, but there is one condition: ‘Go and sin no more,’” the Chief Apostle quoted from the biblical story. “Those who are not truly willing to fight against sin will not obtain forgiveness.”

It is not enough to just follow specific rules: “Sure, we have to be baptised. And we have to keep the commandments. But these are only a first step on the path to salvation. We also have to change inwardly; we need to become like Jesus.” The Chief Apostle called on the congregation: “Let us not become New Apostolic Pharisees.”

“He who is without sin among you …”

In this story Jesus also shows: “There is no hierarchy of sins.” Some think that there are small sins and serious sins, the Chief Apostle said. This evaluation depends on the society they live in, on their history and their traditions. But every sin hinders us from entering the kingdom of God. Every sins needs to be forgiven.

Some create their own scale of gravity when it comes to defining sin. Also believing Christians run this risk. And the neighbour’s sins usually rank higher than their own. But that is not true! Every sin is serious.

“… let him throw a stone at her first.”

Even forgiven, sin remains serious because we still have to deal with the consequences. “Sin can affect our health, our position in society, and it can have consequences for our family. These consequences are not annulled by forgiveness.”

If our neighbour is suffering from the consequences of his sins, gloating over his misfortune is out of place. Here too we must show love for our neighbour.

“Neither do I condemn you”

And the final lesson this event teaches us … It is not our task to judge and punish the sinner. Only God knows the extent of his guilt and his repentance. And above all, God does not want to punish the sinner. On the contrary, He wants to save him. He wants the sinner to change.

“Our task is to forgive the sinner and allow him to experience the love of God,” the Chief Apostle said. “The more he experiences the love of God, the more he will love God and the less he will sin in future. It is not always easy, but I tell you, it is a wonderful source of joy, strength, and blessing.”

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Andreas Rother
Indonesia, Chief Apostle, Divine service