November 5, 2018 - On Casting The First Stone

Updated: Mar 9, 2019

Clifford Goldstein is an author and leading figure in the Seventh-day Adventist denomination. He’s a former editor of Liberty Magazine and the Adventist Adult Sabbath School quarterly.

One of the most powerful stories in the Gospels is of the woman caught in adultery, “in the very act” (John 8:4), in fact. When the religious leaders, trying to entrap Jesus, brought her to Him, He confronted them in a way that they didn’t expect. Thus, with the words “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first” (John 8:7) ringing in their ears, one by one they walked away.

Notice Jesus’ words to them about being “without sin.” Obviously, none of these men could cast the first stone because none were without sin. Only Jesus Himself could cast the stone…only Jesus could condemn her, because only Jesus among humanity was, indeed, without sin. And, yet, that’s not what He came to do, to cast stones. Instead, “God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:17).

We see this truth, about Jesus coming to save and not condemn, played out in real-time with the woman caught in adultery, to whom Jesus said, after the men left without condemning her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more” (John 8:11).

Here is the gospel, plain and simple for us; our guilt, our sin, is assumed. And yet, by clinging in faith to Jesus, who came to save us, and not condemn us, we can live with assurance that, indeed, our sins are forgiven.

And then, out of thankfulness for that forgiveness, we will, heeding His words, seek to “go and sin no more.”