John 8:3-11 (KJV)
What are our thoughts when we read this verse, words from the Lord Jesus Christ, Himself. Is this a suggestion for Godly living? Perhaps it’s a thought, which in reality is impossible because we are still warring with our old nature and prone to fall when faced with temptation. After all the Apostle Paul tells us he, the mighty giant of New Testament faith, struggled with conflicts in his own desires. Maybe it’s only situational, for surely the sin, the sin of immoral choice, is something anyone could avoid (John 8:10-11).
Or is it? Doesn’t scripture warn us to beware, for he who prides himself on standing, may suddenly find he has fallen (1 Corinthians 10:12)? How often do we continue to sin, excusing ourselves on the grounds that we are only human and God will surely understand? The question then arises – would God ask something of us that is impossible?
I was thinking of some of the excuses we use when faced with the difficult truths of scripture. We are faced with the reality of God’s holiness time and again. So far from what we find within ourselves, does He truly mean “Be holy as I am holy?” Peter makes frequent use of this word (1 Peter 1:15-16, 2:5 & 9). He makes it an “ought” in his second epistle, in answer to the question “What sort of people ought you to be?” He tells his readers, including you and me “You ought to live holy and Godly lives” (3:11).
Paul solves the problem of holiness for us. In many of his letters, to the Romans, to the Corinthians, and the Ephesians he illustrates by using the root of the tree being holy, therefore so are the branches; he refers to Timothy’s calling to a holy life and so forth. Writing to the Hebrews, he confirmed what he said earlier about holiness….he gives us hope. When Christ came into the world, it was with the express purpose of doing His Father’s will. “And by that will we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all!” (Hebrews 10:10).
The goal of a holy people (“holy nation” 1 Peter 2:9) is to “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy” (Hebrews 12:14). Now if I find I have failed to be holy, if temptation has overpowered me, I have recourse to the Father’s forgiveness, but without true repentance it’s useless to ask for it. True repentance expresses the attitude, intention, determination not to do it again. Whatever it takes, I am to flee the devil. I cannot continue to live in circumstances that bring this same temptation before me without placing some safeguards against it. Certainly blaming God for the way He made me will never hold water in the face of His holiness. If God’s word says it is wrong, then I have to examine what it tells me to do to protect myself. If a child has a murderous temper, the parents are obliged to curb it, to teach the little one to control that urge.
Do we think with shame and embarrassment how often we have failed by repeating the same sin?
When something is difficult is that an excuse for not trying?
Doesn’t this command “Go and sin no more” place the responsibility on us? Does God extend extra mercy and grace to help us?
by Marilyn Daniels (MarilynDaniels.net)