"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." John 8:7-8
The Bible says, "For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not." No one is able to point the finger and declare guilt but God only. God has commanded us to make judgments (J. 7:24) and to use discernment and to deal with sin; however, this must always be done out of a spirit of restoration and vindication of God's holiness, never in a spirit of condemnation and hatred (Matt. 7). These men were not intending to uphold God's holiness, neither were they truly interested in putting away evil from Israel. They had one motive, to condemn Christ. Nehemiah was a man that dealt very harshly with sin, yet he had no oppressive thoughts toward his fellowmen. He was entirely submitted to God's righteousness and he himself recognized that he too was a sinner. His judgments of sin in the lives of others were based upon a desire to honor God and uphold His righteous standard.
Christ's answer to the self-righteous heart is always the same. A self-righteous and arrogant heart is an abomination to God. Consider what Isaiah 65:5 has to say concerning those who think themselves holier than others; God says of these individuals "...These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day." As campfire smoke that chokes the lungs and burns the eyes so is the self-righteous to the heart of God.
"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." John 8:9
Not even the intensely religious Pharisee could argue with the power of such conviction as this. This mysterious moral goad known only as the conscience was too strong for these men to argue against. They knew that, despite all their religious trappings, at some point they had all offended God. Mankind fights this very principle up to this very day. We all know that we have in some way or another offended God but most of us are unwilling to completely humble ourselves and admit it. These men walked away from the very One Who could have solved their moral dilemma for them. Had they fell down at His feet and cried, "God have mercy upon me, a sinner," Jesus would have forgiven their sin even under such despicable circumstances. He came "to seek and to save that which was lost." However, though convicted by conscience, they simply walked away, and did not (at least at this point) choose the fear of the Lord.
"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 8:10-11
Many have come to this passage in an attempt to use it for proof that God overlooks sin. Such rendering of this passage not only misses the point of what God is saying here but it also does injustice to a host of other Bible passages. In grace, Christ came to this earth out of a desire to be the Sacrifice for mankind. Without His grace, no one could be redeemed. God is here showing both His grace and His holiness. He says, "Neither do I condemn thee...." To the humble sinner, God offers forgiveness and restoration. Jesus then says, "...go, and sin no more." In the original Greek text, Jesus literally said, "Go, and stop sinning." He was demanding a change of heart and attitude toward sin. He did not simply dismiss her actions and give license for her to continue on in her old ways. True conversion demands, yea, fosters a changed life (II Co. 5:17). We are not told that this woman was redeemed, but she certainly had a grand opportunity.
Every one of us is an adulterer and an adulteress. We have all had a spiritual affair with someone or something other than God. God does not want us to be as these self-righteous religious hypocrites who sought to oppose the righteousness of Christ. None of us can stand on our own righteousness. He wants us to acknowledge our wickedness and turn to Him in faith. If we do so, we will find the love of God to be full and free. This love offers forgiveness and a changed life that will no longer allow room for self and its wicked desires. Let us flee to the Holy One of Israel for forgiveness and cleansing, then let us go on and sin no more.