When Satan tempts his prey, he hides cause from effect, falsely promising short-term pleasure will offer much greater value than any long-term pain. This was the case both for the stone-hearted Pharisees and teachers of the law along with the sand-hearted woman caught in adultery. The accusers had operated in blind religious sin, the accused in licentiousness.
Amidst the tension of the Pharisees and teachers of the law crassly bringing the woman caught in adultery to Jesus in order to trap Him into either breaking Roman law or Jewish law, Jesus spoke His first words: “When they kept on questioning Him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘If any of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her’” (John 8:7). Without sin did not mean “without any moral flaw” because none were. This was simply a direct reference to the Torah (Deuteronomy 13:9 or 17:7), which taught that witnesses to a crime must be the first to stone the victim. In practice, rabbis attempted to avoid invoking the death penalty at nearly all costs. In fact, the potential perpetrator was to be warned in the presence of witnesses before his or her act, and was to state, “I know, and I do not care; I will take the consequences.” Rabbinical courts in the first century usually imposed the penalty of whipping for adultery. Evidently, the warning never happened because the Pharisees were now caught in their attempt to trap Jesus. How could the recipients of God’s covenantal promises, knowing His character and worshiping in the Temple, use a human being created in His image so shamelessly?
When you are tempted to seek control of your own destiny, whether with a religious, hard heart of stone or a loose, licentious heart of sand, ask God to clearly reveal the cause and effect of your potential choices. The Holy Spirit will examine your motives and show you the ripple effect of your decisions, guiding you in the direction that will best advance the Kingdom of Christ.