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Is It Possible to Change Ourselves?

So what did He do? He looked at them and started writing in the sand. What was He doing? I don’t think He was playing tic-tac-toe. I think He wrote something significant. And when He was finished writing in the sand, He stood up and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” (verse 7) Then He stooped down and started writing again.

We don’t know exactly what Jesus wrote, but I think He probably wrote the names of the religious leaders next to the commandments. Yeah, Caleb, I know what is up with you…Hey, Joshua, I know where you have been…Eliezer, I know all about you, buddy. And then they left, from the oldest to the youngest. And why did they leave in that order? I think it’s because the older guys had more sins they had committed. They got busted. Instead of condemning the woman, Jesus condemned the self-righteous condemners.

Then Jesus said to her, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”

“No, Lord,” she said.

And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” (verses 10-11)

Some might say, “How could Jesus pardon her? She was caught in the act. She wasn’t even a believer.” But I think she was. Why? Because she believed. I am not sure exactly when she believed, but probably right before she said, “No, Lord.” How long does it take to believe in God? Only an instant.

Jesus said four things to her that were very important.

Her sins had been forgiven. He said, “Neither do I [condemn you]. Go and sin no more.” God can forgive you of all of your sins. And not only will He forgive them, but He will forget them. They will be behind you. The Bible says it will be as if they are buried in the depths of the sea (see Micah 7:19).

She did not have to fear the judgment day. There is a day of judgment coming when everyone will stand before God – the rich and the poor, the famous and the unknown. And the question in that final day will not be whether you lived a good life or were a nice person or whether you recycled. The question will be: What did you do with Jesus Christ?

She had new power to face her problems. “Go and sin no more,” Jesus told her. God will give you the power to be the person He wants you to be.

I never wanted to be a religious person. I never wanted to be someone who went to church. But when Jesus started changing me, I said to God, “I don’t even know how to pray. But I will say this: if You are real, then You will have to make Yourself real to me.” And He started changing me. He will start changing you, too. You will see.  

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Greg Laurie (@greglaurie) is the senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship, an author of more than 70 books, and an evangelist leading Harvest America, a live nationwide event streamed to thousands of host locations. Read more at Harvest.org.