“When we surrender, repent, and believe, the Holy Spirit fills us, cleanses us, and changes us from the inside out.”
Is any one of us without sin? In most churches there are two types of people. The first feels condemned. They wear their sinfulness for all to see and shame seems to follow them. They imagine that people would scoot over two seats if they knew who they truly were.
And then there’s the second type. They feel pretty good. They compare themselves to others and are happy with how they measure up. But the Bible clearly teaches that there is no sliding scale with God. None of us can compare with the holy perfection of God.
One day, a group of religious leaders pushed a frightened woman in front of Jesus. “Teacher,” they said, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery” (John 8:4). They wanted to stone the woman to punish her for her sin. Even more, they wanted to trap Jesus. Imagine their surprise when Jesus replied, “Let any of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her” (v. 7).
Only Jesus was without sin. Only He had the right to condemn. But with love and forgiveness that surpassed anyone’s understanding, Jesus said to the woman, “Go now and leave your life of sin.” Notice that Jesus did not say: That’s okay. Your sin is not a big deal. Every one of us, from the adulterous woman to the religious leaders, need the grace of God. Without His grace we’re condemned.
John 3:17 says, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” Because of the grace of God, sinners get a second chance. God’s grace drives us to repentance. His grace gives us a future that’s different. When we surrender, repent, and believe, the Holy Spirit fills us, cleanses us, and changes us from the inside out. We are sinners, saved by grace, following after Jesus.
The Bible doesn’t tell us anything more about this woman, but I believe that she was forever changed by this powerful encounter with Jesus. I imagine her gathering her grandchildren close and telling her story. She’d say, “You know. When I was young, I messed up. But then I encountered Jesus. When I looked in His eyes, I saw grace and mercy. I saw love. I was changed, and I’ve never been the same. I’m a follower.”