Jesus pronounced over this adulterous woman a total pardon for her entire life of sin. His words were beautiful music to her ears producing deep relief and unbridled joy in her heart. The burden of a lifetime of sin rolled off her back. Now she was ready for the second word Jesus spoke to her: go and sin no more!
This second word was equally as powerful and liberating as the first. He had just spoken as the Judge of all humanity and had pardoned her for everything. Now as the Creator of the world, he spoke new creation life into her soul.This command was not a legalistic word. Legalism teaches you what you have to do to be acceptable to God, but it never helps you do it.
The law tells you what you have to do in order to be holy, but it does not help you to actually to become holy. Grace operates in a totally different way. God first makes you acceptable through faith in Christ and his atoning death on the cross. He first declares you righteous by faith. Then he calls you to live for him. We do not try to live a righteous life in an attempt to make ourselves acceptable to God, but we live right because we have already been accepted by God.
We do not serve by trying to observe an external code of behaviour, but by the power of the Spirit working within us. When Jesus tells you to do something, he enables you to do it. He activates the power of the new creation within you giving you the capacity to live as he calls you to live. Jesus spoke new life into this woman. He changed her heart, and from that moment on, she had a new power at work within her.
Her encounter with Jesus changed her desires, her motivation and the entire direction of her life. That is what it really means to be born again and receive new life from Jesus. The Old Covenant was a covenant of works based on law. It had nothing to do with the grace of God working in people’s hearts. God gave the law to show us it is impossible to serve or live for him through our own efforts. That’s why it says in 2 Corinthians 3:6 – “the letter kills but the Spirit gives life.” The giving of the law as recorded in Exodus 19 was glorious. God himself came down and manifested his glory on Mount Sinai. But his glory was terrifying to the people.
They felt themselves unworthy to approach God. But they promised to obey the law and declared themselves able to do it. But, a few pages later in the Bible we read of the golden calf and the dreadful sin they committed by rejecting God in favour of a graven image. The rest of the Old Testament shows the total failure of God’s people to keep God’s law and make themselves acceptable to God.
God’s attitude towards you is constant and unchanging. he has already made up his mind about you – he loves you and wants to do good to you and to bless you – not because you deserve it or ever could deserve it, but because Jesus has paid the highest price imaginable so that you could be set free.