Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome. More specifically today’s passages is found in the third chapter of this New Testament epistle. “What advantage then hath the Jew? Or what profit is there of circumcision? Much in every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God. For what if some did not believe? Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged. But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance? (I speak as a man) God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world? For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner? And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? Whose damnation is just)” (Romans 3:1-8).
“What then? Are we better than they? No in no wise: for we have before proved both jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: their feet are swift to shed blood: destruction and misery are in their ways: and the way of peace have they not known: there is no fear of God before their eyes. Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:9-20).
“But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is ecluded. By what law? Of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. Is he the God of the Jews only? Is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law” (Roman’s 3:21-31).
When you come to the third chapter of the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome you will find the apostle continuing his argument that all men were created equal by the living and eternal God. What’s more is that not only were all men created equal in the sight of the living God but all men were born into sin because of the fall in the garden of Eden. You cannot read the epistle written by the apostle Paul and not encounter and come face to face with the tremendous truth that all men have indeed sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. It is absolutely unmistakable when reading the words presented in this epistle that all men are indeed guilty of transgression, iniquity and sin in the sight of the living God. There must not be any mistake about this when you truly take the time to think about and consider it for what we find within this epistle is a powerful picture of how men and women are indeed guilty before a holy and righteous God of treason and trespass. The epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome presents us with a powerful and undeniable picture of how men and women are indeed guilty of sin and transgression and iniquity in the sight of the living God and how all men are indeed and are in fact guilty in the sight of the living God.
The more you read the words which are found within this epistle the more you can and will encounter the tremendous and incredible truth surrounding the reality that we as the saints of God—although we believe on the name of the Lord Jesus and although we have been given power to become sons of God—have indeed fallen short of the glory of the living God. In fact it is when you come to the fifth chapter of this very same epistle that you will encounter and come face to face with the tremendous and incredible truth surrounding sin entering into the world through one man and how because sin entered into the world through one man so also did death enter into the world. As if it wasn’t enough for the apostle Paul to conclude that all men were born into sin it is also true that because men were born into sin they were also born unto death. As a direct result of the sin and transgression that was committed in the garden of Eden sin and death were introduced into the world and as a direct result of that original sin and transgression each and every person who is born into this world is guilty of sin and transgression in the sight of the living God. Of course we know and understand that when one is born into the world they haven’t yet committed a sin, transgression or offense in the sight of the living God. The Pharisees declared unto the man who was born blind whom Jesus gave sight to in the gospel narrative written by the apostle John that he was altogether born in sin and had no place to teach them. What makes this truly intriguing when you take the time to think about it is that we have indeed been born into the world with a sinful nature and with a flesh that will seek to bend itself and bow before the agenda of the serpent, however, we aren’t yet guilty of offense and iniquity before the living God. Eventually, however, there comes a point in time when we commit our first offense against and in the sight of the living God—and not only commit our first offense in the sight of the living God but continue to commit offense in His sight and presence.
I sit here today thinking about the words which are found here and I can’t help but be reminded of the words which are found in the ninth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative of John concerning original sin. What’s more is I can’t help but think about the words which are found in the third chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis and how Adam and Eve sinned and transgressed against the commandment of the living God by eating of the fruit of the tree of the garden. What’s more is I am reminded of the words which are found in the fifth chapter of this same epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome. It is with this being said I invite you to consider the following words which are contained within these passages of Scripture beginning to read with and from the third chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis and the first verse:
“Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: curse is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coasts of skins, and clothed them. And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever; Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubim’s, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life” (Genesis 3:1-24).
Having read the words which are found in the third chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the following words which are found in the tenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative which was written by the apostle John. It is within this particular passage we find a powerful picture of men and women who are indeed born blind, born into blindness and walk in that blindness until Jesus comes and gives unto them their sight having opened their eyes. I am absolutely convinced that within this particular passage we see more than simply a picture of a man who was born blind and walked in that blindness for much of his life before Jesus gave unto him his sight. Within this passage—not only do we find the disciples asking Jesus who had sinned that this man was born blind but we also find the Pharisees speaking and declaring unto this man who had been given sight concerning his being born into sin. It was the disciples who spoke unto Jesus concerning the concept of original sin—and not only of original sin but also asking the question of who had sinned that this man would have been born blind. This is something we must needs recognize and understand when reading this particular passage of Scripture for I firmly believe that the words we find here bring us face to face with the absolutely incredible truth surrounding original sin and our being born into sin in this world and walking in that sin until we are ransomed and redeemed by and through the power of the eternal and only begotten Son through the free gift of justification which is by faith alone. Consider if you will the following words which are found in this passage of Scripture beginning to read with and from the first verse:
“And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents; but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, and said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing” (John 9:1-7).
“The neighbours therefore, and they which before had seen him that he was blind, said, Is not this he that sat and begged? Some said, This is he: other said, He is like him: but he said, I am he. Therefore said they unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said, a man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, God to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight. Then said they unto him, Where is he? He said, I know not” (John 9:8-12).
“They brought to the Pharisees him that aforetime was blind. And it was the sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes. Then again the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. He said unto them, He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see. Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, how can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them. They say unto the blind man again, What sayest thou of him, that he hath opened thine eyes? HE said, He is a prophet. But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind, and received his sight, until they called the parents of him that had received his sight. And they asked them, saying, Is this your son, who ye say was born blind? How then doth. He now see? His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: but by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself. These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. Therefore said his parents, He is of age; ask him. Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner. He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see. Then said they to him again, What did he to thee? How opened he thine eyes? He answered them, I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? Will ye also be his disciples? Then they revolved him, and said, Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses’ disciples. We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is. The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes. Now we know that God heareth not sinners: But if any man be w worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth. Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. If this. Man were not of God he could do nothing. They answered and said unto him, Thou was alter her born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out. Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? He answered and said, who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him” (John 9:13-38).
“And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also? Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth” (John 9:39-41).
Within this passage of Scripture we find a man who was born blind and how Jesus and His disciples would pass by this man as they departed from the Temple. It would be while passing by this man the disciples of Jesus would ask Him who had sinned—this man or his parents—that he was born blind. Of course the question which the disciples themselves asked Jesus was in and of itself incredibly off basis because it would have been utterly impossible for this man to have sinned during the process of conception and being formed within his mother’s womb. It was completely and utterly impossible for this man to have been guilty of sinning in the sight and presence of the living God within and from his mother’s womb. With this being said, however, it must needs be understood that even though it is completely and utterly impossible to sin within our mother’s womb it is indeed possible for us to be conceived in sin and to be born with the sinful nature. Please note that when I speak of being conceived into sin I am speaking of the tremendous reality of our being born with the sinful nature which is at odds and enmity with the eternal and living God. Although it is impossible for any person who has been conceived within the womb of their mother to be guilty of sin, iniquity and transgression from the womb it is indeed possible that as people grow older they can begin to commit such offenses and trespasses against the person of the living God. What’s more is there are even those who would teach and speak of what is and has been called “the age of accountability” which is indeed an age where men believe that one can begin to be held responsible for the actions they committed against the living God.
With this being said I can’t help but think about the first time I committed a sin and offense against and in the sight of the living God. Of course I do not believe that it is possible to remember that first time you committed an offense against the eternal and living God we know and are aware of when the first offense and transgression was committed against the living God. It is and it was because of that sin and offense in the sight of the living God that we are all born unto death, are born into sin and are born with a sinful nature. There is absolutely no denying this and how absolutely true it is for within this passage of Scripture we find the disciples asking Jesus who had sinned—this man or his parents—that he was born blind. Moreover you will find the Pharisees declaring and speaking unto this man declaring unto him that he was altogether born into sin and would dare presume to teach them. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for there is something truly captivating about the words and language found in this passage of Scripture concerning original sin and man being born into sin. WE dare not and must not ignore the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for the words which we find here call and draw our attention to the absolutely wonderful and powerful reality that we—even as those who believe upon the name of the Lord Jesus and those who walk with and follow Him—are indeed guilty of committing sin, trespass, offense and iniquity agains the person of the living God. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it calls and draws our attention to the incredible reality of how we as men and women who were born into this world were not only born with a sinful nature but were conceived in iniquity and conceived in sin. Having said this—before I present you with the words which are found in the fifth chapter of the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome—I would like to call and draw your attention to the words which are found in the fifty-first chapter of the Old Testament book of the Psalms. Consider if you will the following words which were written by David king of Israel beginning with the first verse which were written after he had sinned against the LORD by committing adultery with Bathsheba:
“To the chief musician, A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bath-Sheba. Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving kindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. Behold, I was shaken in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom” (Psalm 51:1-6).
“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, o God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness. O LORD, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy precise. For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise” (Psalm 51:7-17).
“Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: Build thou the walls of Jerusalem. Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offerings and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar” (Psalm 51:18-19).
It is in the fifth verse of this particular psalm David declares that he was sharpen in iniquity and would go on to declare that in sin did his mother conceive him. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for it helps draw our attention to the tremendous truth and reality that we have indeed been born in sin and have in fact been born in iniquity. There is absolutely none among us who has not and was not conceived in sin nor has there ever been any man who has not committed a sin and offense in the sight of and against the living God. In fact this is precisely what we find in the eighth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John for within this chapter we find a woman who was caught in the act of adultery. It would be this woman who was caught in the act of adultery whom the Pharisees brought unto Jesus in the Temple. It would be this woman who was caught in the act of adultery that Jesus was asked what should and what ought to be done unto her. The Pharisees declared unto Him that the Law of Moses demands and declares that such a woman ought to be stoned to death and then asked Jesus what He thought about the woman. Of course we know and understand the narrative that is found within this passage of Scripture and how within it we are brought face to face with Jesus stooping down and beginning to write in the ground as though he did not hear and had not heard them. When the Pharisees would press Jesus again concerning Jesus and what He would say concerning this woman Jesus would rise from the place where he had stooped down and would make a statement that to this day strikes at the very heart of hypocrisy—and not only at the heart of hypocrisy but also of legalism and religion. The statement which Jesus declared unto these Pharisees and unto those who had perhaps sided with them was simply “He that is without sin, cast the first stone.” Immediately after making this statement Jesus would stoop back down to the ground and continue writing in the dirt. The apostle John writes how one by one—beginning with the eldest and continuing to the youngest—those who stood to accuse, judge and condemn this woman departed leaving her alone with Jesus.
I am absolutely convinced there is a great need to recognize and pay close attention to the words which are found in this particular passage of Scripture for part of standing in the seat of judgment against someone else is believing the lie and the deception that we are somehow innocent of sin, transgression and iniquity in the sight of the living God. What’s more is attempting to place ourselves in the place of judgment against another is one of the purest forms of legalism, hypocrisy and religion which must be rooted out, exposed and destroyed from within our hearts and lives. The Pharisees thought they were in a position to condemn, accuse and even judge this woman—even though she was not only guilty of what they were accusing her of but also guilty according to what was written in the Law of Moses. This woman was indeed guilty of what she was being accused of and she was indeed guilty of sinning and transgressing against the Law of Moses. What’s more is that that not only was this woman guilty according to the Law of Moses but she also stood condemned and judged by that very same law. The Law of Moses did indeed demand that such a one be stoned to death and the Pharisees brought this woman to Jesus seeking to see and understand if he would align Himself with the Law of Moses and declare that this woman ought to be stoned to death. Of course we know that Jesus chose not to side with nor align Himself with the Law but chose to align Himself with grace, with forgiveness and with redemption as He would choose not to condemn this woman. Oh with this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the first, third and eighth chapters of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John beginning with the first verse of the first chapter:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not” (John 1:1-5).
“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true. Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, b it of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. And of his fullness have all we received, grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:6-18).
“There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; the same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goether: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye received not our witness. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God” (John 3:1-21).
“Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. And the scribes and the Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee? She said, NO man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more” (John 8:1-11).
There is a great need for us to recognize and pay close attention to the words which are found here within these passages for in the first chapter of this gospel we find the apostle John declaring how the Law came by and through Moses but grace and truth came by Jesus the Christ. In the third chapter of this gospel we find Jesus emphatically declaring how God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believed on Him should not perish but have everlasting life. Moreover Jesus would follow this with an emphatic declaration that God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved. This is put on full display in the Temple when this woman who was caught in the act of adultery was brought unto the person and presence of Jesus. As Jesus sat in the Temple and taught those who had come unto Him the scribes and Pharisees—the religious leaders—brought unto Him one who was caught in the act of adultery. Not only was this woman caught in the act of adultery but she was also caught in the very act, brought unto Jesus from the very act and from the very place and brought unto the Temple. The scribes and the Pharisees declared unto Jesus that the Law demanded that such a woman be stoned to death because of her iniquity and transgression. What I so love about the words within this passage is that after hearing the words they spoke about Moses demanding in the law that this woman be stoned and being asked what He thought and said Jesus would stoop down and with his finger write in the ground as though he did not hear them. The apostle John goes on to write how when the scribes and Pharisees continue to press Jesus concerning this matter He would finally stand Himself up and declare that those who were without sin would—and perhaps should—cast the first stone at her.
What we find within this passage of Scripture is all those who heard the words which Jesus had spoken unto them—and perhaps even seeing what He was writing in the ground—were convicted by their own conscience. Not only were they convicted by their own conscience but they went out one by one beginning at the eldest even unto the last. Eventually Jesus was left alone and the woman standing in the midst of those who were perhaps still present in the Temple. John writes that when Jesus had lifted Himself he saw none but the woman and said unto the woman asking, “Woman, where are those thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee?” That which makes this passage all the more captivating when you take the time to think about it is when you consider the fact that when Jesus asked this woman where her accusers were and if there was any one to condemn her she would respond by declaring unto him that there was no man who remained to condemn her. Not only had Jesus delivered this woman from those who would condemn and judge her, not only had He delivered her from the stones which were in their hands, but Jesus also delivered her from the judgment and condemnation of the Law of Moses. Jesus could have aligned Himself with the Law and demanded that this woman be stoned to death according to the Law, however, what He chose to do so instead was administer grace toward, unto and for this woman. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how absolutely incredible it truly is when Jesus delivered this woman from her accusers—from those who stood to condemn, judge and cast stones at her. What’s more is that not only do we find Jesus delivering this woman from those who would condemn her but He also deliberately and intentionally chose not to condemn her. Jesus declared unto this woman that He did not condemn her and then instructed her to go and sin no more.
I absolutely love the words which are found within this passage of Scripture for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth that we are all born into sin and we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of the living God. The very fact that the scribes and Pharisees were convicted in their conscience lets you know that even those who were perceived as being “righteous” and “religious” and “holy” were indeed guilty of sin in the sight and presence of the living God. Those who thought they were more righteous than everyone else and those who thought they were more holy than anyone else were each convicted in their conscience and would depart from the Temple choosing not to stone this woman who was caught in the act of adultery. These scribes and Pharisees stood in the seat of judgment and sought to judge this woman—and judge her according to the Law of Moses—and yet they would each one by one be convicted in their own conscience. We would be incredibly wise to recognize and understand the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for it demonstrates and reveals that even those who are and those who would be considered to be the most righteous and holy among us have sinned and transgressed against the commandment of the living God. You would think that if the scribes and Pharisees could cast a stone at this woman Jesus would have let them do so. Jesus offered them a free path to be the executioners of the Law of Moses and offered them a free path to cast a stone of judgment and condemnation against this woman and yet we find each and every one of them dropping the stones they held in their hands and departing from the Temple one by one.
Stop and consider for a moment that not even the scribes and the Pharisees were qualified to cast a stone at this woman who was caught in the act of adultery—that one who was caught in the very act. If you read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture you will find that not even those who were considered to be righteous and holy in their own eyes—and perhaps even in the eyes of others—were able to cast a stone at and against this woman. You would think that the scribes and Pharisees—those who taught and upheld the Law of Moses—would themselves be able to cast a stone at this woman according to what was permitted in the Law of Moses and yet Jesus would end up delivering this woman from those who stood to accuse her. Not only would Jesus deliver this woman from those who stood to accuse her but He also delivered her from those who stood to condemn and judge her. OH we must needs pay close attention to this and how absolutely incredible it truly is for it brings us face to face with the absolutely wonderful truth that even religious folk have sinned and fallen short of the glory of the living God. I don’t care how religious you think you are—you have still sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. I don’t care how holy you think you are for you have still sinned and fallen short of the glory of the living God. I don’t care what pedigree you think you possess in and of yourself for you have indeed sinned and fallen short of the glory of the living God. You might think about yourself as being more righteous and holy than others and are somehow in a position to judge others and yet the truth of the matter is that you yourself are no better than anyone else. You yourself have sinned, you yourself have trespasses, you yourself have transgressed, you yourself have committed idolatry and have fallen short of the glory of the living God. There is none righteous no not one for all have sinned, all have fallen short of the glory of the living God and all are in need of the blood which Jesus shed and poured out upon the cross of Calvary—and not only the blood which was shed at Calvary but the blood which was shed when He was scourged in the Praetorium when the Roman soldiers beat him with whips that were laced with chips of bone and shards of glass and stone.
I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and I am brought face to face with the fact that even if you should somehow think you are holier and more righteous than others and are somehow qualified and positioned to cast stones at another person you are sorely deceived and grossly mistaken. Not even the scribes and the Pharisees were able to cast a stone at this woman—even though Jesus gave them a free path and free reign to do so. Jesus Himself deliberately and intentionally opened the scribes and the Pharisees up to casting a stone at this woman, however, there was one condition. The only condition for casting a stone at this woman was to be one who was without sin and one who had never sinned or trespassed against the commandment of the living God. Oh even as I’m writing the words found in this passage of Scripture I can’t help but think about what it would be like if a minister placed a single stone in the front of the church near what many refer to as “the altar.” Not only would this minister place a stone at the front of the church but they would then issue an invitation to those who were without sin and those who had not sinned could come forward and pick up the stone. Of course they would not pick up the stone to hurl it at someone but by picking up the stone they were symbolically declaring that they were somehow qualified and positioned to be in a place of judgment. Imagine what would happen if such an action was present within many of our churches and if ministers would invite men and women to “come and take the stone” or to “come and take the stones.” Imagine what would and could happen if men and woman were given an invitation to come forward in our churches and pick up the stone thus signifying that they were somehow qualified and positioned to cast the stone at another.
If there is one thing I love about the words which are found in this passage of Scripture it’s that the one condition for casting the stone at this woman was simple—be without sin. Jesus made it very simple for although this woman was guilty of adultery and although this woman was guilty according to the Law of Moses only those who were without sin could cast the stone at and against her. Pause for a moment and consider how absolutely incredible this truly is when you take the time to think about it for Jesus only placed one condition on being able to cast a stone at this woman and that was being without sin. Although this woman was indeed guilty of sin and although this woman was guilty of adultery according to the Law of Moses Jesus would only allow those who were without sin to cast the stone at her. Jesus would not allow anyone who was without sin to cast a single stone at her and opened it up for those who were present to examine themselves and discern whether or not they were qualified to cast a stone at her. The simple fact that not even the scribes or Pharisees could cast a stone at this woman suggests that even scribes and Pharisees—even religious leaders and religious folk—are indeed guilty of sin and transgression in the sight of the living God. Stop for a moment and consider that those who were perhaps considered to be the most qualified to cast a stone at this woman and cast judgment against and upon her were those who were forced to depart from the Temple one by one. Those who were presents on this particular occasion would indeed depart from the Temple one by one being convicted in their own conscience. Oh stop and consider what this would and could have looked and sounded like as stones would fall to the ground and as the scribes and the Pharisees would indeed depart from the Temple.
I absolutely love the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for what we find within it is the tremendous truth that not even the scribes and the Pharisees were able to cast a stone at this woman. Despite the fact they were able to accuse this woman in the Temple and in the presence of Jesus and despite the fact they were able to demand that justice be executed against her according to the Law of Moses they were unable to cast a stone at her. The underlying reason why they were unable to cast a stone at her is because they were proven and found to be with sin. The only way they could cast a stone at this woman was to be innocent and free from sin for that was the stipulation Jesus placed upon them. He that is without sin among you let him first cast a stone at her were the words which Jesus proclaimed and declared unto them. Oh there is a tremendous truth that is found within the words which the Lord Jesus declared unto these scribes and Pharisees—and perhaps not only unto the scribes and the Pharisees but also to others who were standing by who thought they could somehow cast a stone at this woman. Jesus did indeed and did in fact call and declare unto those who were present that those who were without sin were permitted to cast the first stone at her. How absolutely wonderful and powerful that even religious folk were and could be convicted in their own conscience in the midst of the Temple and in the presence of the Lord Jesus. Even those who were perceived as being holy and holier than others were convicted in their own conscience and were forced to drop their stones and depart from the Temple. This particular event within the public ministry of Jesus would indeed prove that there was none who were without sin and as such there were none who were able to cast a stone at this woman. OH it is with this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the fifth chapter of the New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome as well as the words which the apostle John wrote in the first epistle unto the saints which were at Ephesus:
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his loved toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement” (Romans 5:1-11).
“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offense, so also is the free gift. For if through the offense of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offenses unto justification. For if by one man’s offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5:12-21).
And here are the words which are found in the first epistle written by the apostle John beginning with the fifth verse of the first chapter:
“This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.l If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar and his word is not in us” (1 John 1:5-10).
It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand this for when we come to the third chapter of the New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome we find him declaring that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. The apostle Paul begins and opens the chapter by asking what advantage the Jew has or what profit is there of circumcision. He then goes on to declare that it was unto them the oracles of God were committed. This would be followed by the apostle Paul asking if some of them did not believe if if their unbelief mad the faith of God without effect. The apostle Paul then goes on to write and speak of being justified in one’s saying and might overcome when one is judged. Immediately following this the apostles Paul asks if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God then what shall we say—is God unrighteous who takes vengeance? One of the underlying premises found within this epistle is whether or not because we are justified freely by grace through faith we have license and excuse to continue in sin and transgression in the sight of the living God. There were those who believed that because they were justified freely by the gift of God which comes through faith they had excuse and license to continue to sin. What’s more is that if you continue reading the words which are found in the third chapter you will find the apostle Paul declaring that both jews and Gentiles were all under sin and then goes on to quote the words of David concerning the unrighteousness of men and being guilty in the sight and presence of the living God. You will find the apostle Paul emphatically stating “As it is written” and then proceeding to use the words which the psalmist David wrote to describe the wickedness which is present in the culture, the society and generation. This is something we must needs recognize and understand for in the first and opening chapter of this epistle the apostle Paul begins to conclude men and women as being guilty of sin, transgression and wickedness.
What we must needs recognize and understand is that concluding all men under sin the apostle Paul then goes on to describe how by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified in the sight of the living God for it is by and through the law the knowledge of sin is manifested. The apostle Paul goes on to write how the righteousness of God without the law is manifested being witnessed by both the law and the prophets—even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe. The apostle Paul emphatically and clearly declares that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God and that there is no difference between Jew and Gentile. A Jew is just as easily guilty of sinning and coming short of the glory of God as a Gentile is guilty of sinning and coming short of the glory of the living God. This is what is so powerful about the ability to be justified freely by the grace of God through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus whom God set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood. The whole premise upon which the apostle Paul writes these words is that man is indeed justified without and apart from the law and that it is through the law that we are indeed made aware of sin. In fact this is what the apostle Paul would write in the seventh chapter of this epistle when he would speak of the fact that he would not know sin were it not for the law for the law worked in him death. What’s more is that it is in the fifth chapter where the apostle Paul emphatically declares that sin and death were at work in the earth from the time of Adam until the time of Moses when the Law was indeed given. When the law of Moses was given it was given as a schoolmaster until the fullness of time when we could be brought unto Christ as well as an unattainable standard which we could not even think to uphold and obey in and of our own selves and our own strength. This is precisely what we find in the seventh chapter of this epistle when the apostle Paul writes of the conflict and struggle within himself between the flesh and the Spirit—and not only between the flesh and the Spirit but also between his blush and obedience to the Law. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the seventh chapter of this epistle beginning with the first and opening verse:
“Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? For the woman which hath an husband is bound bhy the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter” (Romans 7:1-6).
“What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: For had I not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revisited, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful” (Romans 7:7-13).
“For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (That is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find them a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin” (Romans 7:14-25).
As I bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the incredible truth that we are indeed guilty of committing sin, offense and trespass against the living and eternal God. There is absolutely no one among us who is without sin and the apostle John wrote that if we declare that we no sin and have not sinned we deceive and lie to ourselves and the truth is not in us. What we must needs recognize is that it is because we have sinned and come short of the glory of the living God that we are in need of being justified by the free gift of God through faith in His name and faith in His blood. There is a great need for us as the people of God to recognize and understand that we have indeed and have in fact been called to be such who believe on the name of the Lord Jesus and confess with our mouth that He is Lord. We must needs believe with our heart that the living God raised Him from the dead on the third day and those who call upon the name of the Lord knowing that all who do shall be saved. The apostle Paul concluded all men under sin and not only this but also concluded that all men have indeed sinned and come short of the glory of the living God. We must needs recognize and pay attention to this for it is because we have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God that we come face to face with the truth that we cannot find salvation or justification through the Law nor through works—regardless of how good we might think and perceive our works to be. The apostle Paul declared that just as sin and death entered into the world through one man so also would life and righteousness enter by one man—the man who is the second Adam Jesus the Christ. There is a great need for us to cast ourselves upon the mercy and grace of the living and eternal God knowing that if any man is in Christ he/she is a new creation as old things are passed away and all things are become new. The question we must needs ask ourselves is whether or not we are willing to yield ourselves to the work, the person, the presence and the power of the Spirit within our lives and whether or not we are going to be those who give ourselves unto righteousness and holiness and obedience within this life.