"He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her" (Jno. 8:7). This is a verse of Scripture that is often used entirely out of context by many brethren and friends to excuse sin. Their contention is that since none are without sin, no one may point out the sins of another. This, of course, is absurd. The Lord does not refer to one who was absolutely sinless in every respect. That requirement would have made it impossible for anyone to be punished under the old law for Eccl. 7:20 clearly states, "For there is not a just man upon the earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not" What , then, did the Lord mean here in Jno. 8:7?

The Scribes and the Pharisees had brought a woman to the Lord who "was taken in adultery, in the very act" Jno. 8:4. Where was the man involved in this matter? The Scribes and Pharisees invoked Lev. 20:10; Deut. 22:22 and stated "that such should be stoned, but what sayest thou" (vs. 5)? They overlooked the fact that the law required that both the man and the woman, taken in adultery, were to be stoned.

Were they truly concerned abut the Law of Moses being followed in this case? No! They were concerned about putting the Lord on the horns of a dilemma, trying to catch Him in something with which to charge Him (vs. 6). If He said that stoning would be too harsh a punishment for her, or to turn her loose, He would have been in violation of the Law of Moses. If He, on the other hand, had said to stone her, he would have been in violation of the Roman Law. Either statement would have furnished the Pharisees a pretext for accusations.

However the Lord did not play into their hands on this matter. He upheld and vindicated the law, but He imposed upon them a condition which they had overlooked. That is, the one who executed the law must be free from the same sin, lest by stoning the woman he condemn himself as worthy of like death. They knew that he knew their lives and that they were as guilty as the woman they had brought before Him. Remember, that He had previously called them "a wicked and adulterous generation" (Matt. 16: 4). These Scribes and Pharisees forgot, too, the demand of Moses as found in (Deut. 17:5-7) that the witnesses (accusers) should cast the first stone. The Lord's answer to them apparently hit like a lightning bolt. There can be no doubt that His words impressed upon them the truth that freedom from the outward act did not imply inward purity of sinlessness. Covered with shame, they left one by one. Leaving no witnesses present.

Given this, the only conclusion possible is that the Lord meant that the ones who cast the stones must be innocent of the sin for which they wished the woman to be stoned.

Brethren, don't misapply this verse of Scripture. The question is not: "Who is without sin?" the Bible makes that clear -- "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23). The question is: "Who has humbled himself in the sight of God and repented of his sins?"

By Jimmy B. Hill in Gospel Power, Vol. 16, No. 45, Nov. 8, 2009.

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