No Condemnation From God
A woman is caught in adultery. She is dragged to Jesus so Jesus could pass judgment on her. We know this was to trap Him, because they did not recognize Jesus authority. Jesus knew this also. Jesus did not answer there question, but instead He stooped down started scribbling on the dirt with His finger. The mob anxious for an answer demanded Jesus for an answer. Jesus silently looked up and told them, "He who is without Sin, cast the first stone." Slowly every single one of them men accusing the woman caught in adultery left the scene. Christ then looked at the woman and asked her, "Woman, where are those 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). Christ did not condemn her. Let's be clear, Christ did not excuse what she did, otherwise He would not said to her, "…go and Sin no more." Christ gave her grace.
We see a similar attitude and behavior from God to Adam and Eve. After they ate the fruit they realized they were naked. They sowed some fig leaves together. So, when they heard God walking through the garden, they ran and hid. (Probably thinking God was coming to kill them.) God called Adam and asked him, "Where are you?" Let's read the rest form the text,
Ge3:10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
Ge3:11 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?
Let us take another look at God's answer. He asked Adam, "Who told you?" In other words, "I did not tell you. It did not come from me." God then asked Adam, "What did you do?" God did not tell Adam, "You bad boy, do you not know how to follow simple orders?" God simply explain to them what would the consequences of their actions, and gave them a promise of a Savior. God gave them grace.
Saul's encounter with Christ was similar. We recall from Acts 9 Saul was on his way to Damascus. Let us read the account from the text,
Acts9:3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:
Acts9:4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
Acts9:5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
Acts9:6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.
Although Christ asked the question, "Why persecutest thou me?" there is no accusation or condemnation. Christ did not dwell in the past. Christ told Saul about future plans to use him to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles. Let us read from the Scripture. Christ said to Saul,
Acts 26: 16 But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;
Acts 26: 17 Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee,
Acts 26: 18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
Again this does not mean that Christ just excused Saul's past. Saul lived in darkness, and Christ wanted to show Saul his erring ways and what Saul could become if let Jesus do the healing Saul needed. The Holy Spirit always convicts to lift up. The Devil convicts to discourage. Satan is "the accuser of our brethren … which accused them before our God day and night" (Revelation 12: 10). Although, the Holy Sprit's job is to "… reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment" (John 16:8), you could say He does it by guiding us "into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you" (John 16: 13 – 14). So, "…where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord" (2 Corinthians 3:17-18). Saul was given grace, and later the Holy Spirit (Acts 9: 17). The same is given to us, but, as Paul, we must accept and receive it.