Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | March 9, 2014

Sin and Grace, by David Bower

“Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

We have here in John 8:8 our Lord’s response when “3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery.” The familiar story is given in John 8:1-11

I have long been intrigued by the statement that follows in verse 9, “9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.” What does “the older ones first” say to you dear reader? Could it be that age and experience deepens our awareness of our own personal sin? Could it be that our memories of past failures increases along with our age?

Our precious Redeemer knew we would have to live with failure and continually turn to Him for forgiveness and restoration. Life and experience makes this so crystal clear and deepens our gratitude for the marvelous provisions that have been made as an expression of God’s grace to each of us.

My work as a missionary for Global Media Outreach has brought this problem of personal sin so forcefully to mind as I answer letters from all over the world from brothers and sisters in Christ who are weary of personal sin and long to be delivered once and for all.

I wish I could give them a faith formula that would deliver them from the problem of personal sin but that is not possible; there is no way to accomplish that as long as we are in our mortal bodies. While we have been given a way to control and suppress personal sin, there is no way to eliminate it.

What Does the Bible Say About Personal Sin?

Let us approach this chronologically and first consider the origin of human personal sin. Personal sin entered the world when Adam disobeyed a direct command of God. When Adam deliberately disobeyed God he died spiritually on the spot and the rest of the human race died with him. You and I and every human being who was yet to be born, excluding the Lord Jesus Christ, died in Adam in the Garden of Eden at that moment.

All of us, with a human father, since then have been born spiritually dead and only those who have been born again by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ have become spiritually alive. Humanity today is divided into two distinct groups, those who have a living body, soul, and spirit, the Christian, and those who have only a living body and soul, the unbeliever.

The turning point came at the time Christ was crucified; it is also pointed out in Scripture that our old sin nature was crucified with Christ at the time we received Christ as Savior that we might be free to serve and honor God with our lives. By God’s grace, the power of our sin nature is suppressed when we live in the power of the Holy Spirit who came into us, never to leave, at the moment we received Christ as Savior.

The Daily Battle with Personal Sin

There is a clear and present danger though involving personal sin; when we sin the power of the Holy Spirit is quenched and the power of the sin nature is released in our lives. For purposes of clarity it is important to understand what is included in the category of personal sin that can quench the power of the Holy Spirit. The answer to that is very scary, I’m sorry to say, and is described in Romans 14:23b where it is written, “everything that does not come from faith is sin.”

Let’s stop for a moment and let the enormity of that verse sink in. Everything that does not come from faith is sin; every fear, every doubt, every disobedient thought, anger, lust all is sin and quenches the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. God knew we would have that problem and provided a solution for His children.

God’s Answer to the Problem of Personal Sin

In 1 John 1:8-10 we find God’s solution to the problem of personal sin. “8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.”

God’s answer to personal sin is the 9th verse, “9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” A professor of Greek at Dallas Theological Seminary pointed out the basic meaning of the word confess as used in this verse; it simply means to list or acknowledge the sin. It does not mean to do some sort of penance to earn forgiveness, but simply to see the sin from God’s perspective, a lack of faith. Forgiveness of personal sin, just like salvation, is a matter of faith alone; we do not deserve it nor can we earn it, it is a gift from God.

One other point on verse 9 and that is the impact of purification from all unrighteousness; when we confess our known sins, God, in His matchless grace, purifies us from all unrighteousness as well, all of our unknown sins. This permits the restoration of the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives and gives us the opportunity to live Spirit led lives.

The Good News for the Child of God!

There is good news in all of this; there are wonderful blessings God wants His children to enjoy as the earnest of their inheritance; part of the promise of good things to come. As God’s children we have available to us rich blessings which we can enjoy on this earth as we deal with the challenges of life in a sin cursed world.

When the Holy Spirit is in control of our lives we can enjoy the fruit of the Holy Spirit, blessings that are a beautiful glimpse of what God has in store for us in the world to come. This is described in Galatians 5:22-25 where it is written, “22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”

Please consider this an invitation to always enjoy the Spirit led life.


  1. I tire of reading your message. It is uplifting and I do look forward to reading your works.



  2. Great commentary! Our God and Savior, of course, always had the solution. Thanks. D.

    davidbowerkingwood posted: ““Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”We have here in John 8:8 our Lord’s response when “3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery.” The familiar story is given in John 8:1-11I”


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