Exodus 21:23-25 states: "But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life,
eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound,
bruise for bruise."
So, why does Jesus do as He does in John 8:7-11? The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought an adulteress to Jesus and said that the law says to stone her. They then asked what He had to say about it. "When they kept on questioning Him, He straightened up and said to them, ‘If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.’" (verse 7). Eventually, they all dropped the stones and left. "Jesus straightened up and asked her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’
‘No one, sir,’ she said.
‘Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin.’"
Jesus showed that He can forgive. He can also condemn; He didn't leave. He chose mercy. He showed that all are sinners and showed sin to be sin whatever the sin. He showed that a person's heart change is more important than trying to please God with external rules that simply reveal to us that we are sinners. He showed that we cannot please God with our petty rules but only His forgiveness.
Most people would be satisfied here, but they pull this out of context to excuse sin and dismiss judgment.
Jesus doesn't condemn NOR does He condone. He made a judgment -- telling her to leave her life of sin.
In Luke 6:29, Jesus says, "If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic." Jesus fulfills the Law of Moses outlined in Exodus. He doesn't contradict it. Jesus' purpose was the cross. Every life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound was taken by Jesus at the cross! Every stone for the adulterer was taken at the cross! Jesus was the perfect penalty bearer and sacrifice. JUSTICE flows from Him. We are to enact justice in the Spirit of Christ. He does not nullify justice or the law, but carries out perfect justice and fulfills the law. The Lord says, "Vengeance is mine" (Deuteronomy 32:35). God will judge us on the basis of our relationship with Christ.
Often, the same story of the woman caught in adultery is used to tell people not to judge. This is frequently coupled with Matthew 7:1: "Do not judge or you too will be judged." Yet, to judge is not necessarily to condemn as mentioned earlier. Further, Matthew 7:1 is in a context. Read verses 2-6. To summarize: We will be judged the same way we judge others. The implication is that we will judge, but hopefully we do so Biblically. The Bible outlines right and wrong. The Bible describes discernment. Matthew 7:5 mentions taking the plank out of your own eye (self-examination) so you can remove the speck from your brother's eye (which requires judgment). We are to judge, but not hypocritically. Matthew 7:6 uses the terms "dogs" and "pigs" in this context, referring to false prophets. Also note the following verses, which are a few of many verse showing when we are to judge:
There is a place to judge, but we must do so Biblically to the glory of Christ. To not judge is really to endorse
ungodliness. By not speaking out, we speak indeed.
Speaking of Jesus, Lloyd J. Olgivie writes, "He was concerned about judgments of condemnation. Whenever our judgment depreciates another human being, it is wrong. This happens when we write off another person for what he has said or done. We judge him as useless" (God's Best for My Life, August 20 entry).
God is a God of justice and mercy, holiness and grace, wrath and love. With the woman caught in sin, Jesus showed mercy, but made a judgment in telling her to leave her life of sin. In the judgment of the cross, Jesus offers us mercy by enduring every eye that had to be taken for another.
We are to speak the truth (judge) in love (see Ephesians 4:15) and we are to rebuke (judge) gently so as to restore (see Galatians 6:1, 2 Timothy 4:2).
God alone condemns. Remember your need and dependence instead of haughtily trying to play God and condemn others. Judge righteously but do not condemn.
The next time someone attacks truth: "Jesus says to not cast a stone so don't judge" OR "Judge ye not…", remind them that Jesus told the woman to leave her life of sin and that Matthew 7:1 appears in a context.