The Rock of Our Salvation (John 7:53-8:11)

IMG_0017On Sunday, July 5, 2015, Pastor Joe Troutman preached the sermon, “The Rock of Our Salvation” from John 7:53-8:11.

God has mercy on whom he will have mercy. His forgiveness is not based on anything you have done, otherwise you would stand condemned.

1. The Accused—The Scribes and Pharisees bring a woman caught in the act of adultery before Jesus as he is teaching in order to test him, in the hopes that they can expose him as one who teaches the people not to obey the Law of God. The inequity of their accusation of the woman and not also the man highlights the hypocrisy and insincerity of the leaders’ motives. But it is not that the woman was falsely accused. It is clear that Jesus recognized her guilt. God’s law stands. Sin is heinous and destructive. Any sin an unbeliever commits is enough to condemn him forever. God is our Creator and has the right to command; therefore, the least sin is cosmic treason. We are as guilty as this woman of sins deserving death.

2. The Accusers—The Scribes and Pharisees’ accusation of the woman taken in adultery was not an act of jurisprudence, but a test meant to incriminate Jesus, because they knew he claimed the ability to forgive sins. Jesus writes in the sand to undermine the credibility of the accusers, rather than to convict them of their hypocrisy. Charges of Jesus being an illiterate peasant and ignorant of the Law are belied by his writing, and may be a reason for the inclusion of this account in Scripture. The accusers’ hypocrisy is exposed when Jesus prescribes that the first stone be cast only by the one not likewise guilty of actual adultery.

The civil laws of Israel’s theocratic kingdom were no longer binding now that Israel was ruled by Rome rather than directly by God. The death penalty was now enforced by Roman approval; executions of the sort sought by the Scribes and Pharisees in this passage were likely done in secret. The New Covenant people of God don’t have the power of the sword—ecclesiastical power is declarative rather than punitive.

3. The One Who Acquits—The purpose of Jesus’s first coming was to save the world, not to judge it (John 12:47). But he will return to judge the living and the dead. In his earthly ministry, Jesus had the power to forgive sins, not by merely ignoring them, but by taking them upon himself. For this reason he says to the woman to go and sin no more. God will have mercy on whom he will, and execute justice on whom he will. We can do nothing to earn God’s forgiveness; rather it is given despite what we’ve done.

As it was with the woman taken in adultery, so it is with us. As Jesus showed mercy on her, so will God show mercy on anyone who repents of sin and believes in Christ. Sin won’t go away because it’s not a big deal. Without repentance and faith, sin will condemn people to hell. Look to Jesus to see that God does not sweep sin under the rug, but Jesus had to die so that repentant believers could be saved. One who repents and believes will be forgiven and will strive to go and sin no more.

Listen to The Rock of Our Salvation” (John 7:53-8:11) at mcopc.org.

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