I doubt that Jesus had ever personally met the woman, but that is speculation on my part. However, regardless of how it happened, she had learned a lot about him. Moreover, she had thought a lot about herself and her condition. But on this particular day, this woman’s spiritual fortunes would change dramatically; she would never be the same again!

If first words make lasting impressions, the woman must have been impressed for a long, long time with the words of Jesus. After Jesus finished talking to Simon and teaching a great lesson about how God treats sinners (as well as just who is a sinner and just who it is who stands in need of forgiveness), “Then He [Jesus] said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’” (Luke 7.48).

The truth that Simon failed to recognize was this: God’s righteous ways have never changed; neither have the principles by which man becomes righteous! If Simon was the typical Pharisee, he believed that the covenant delivered by the hands of Moses made him spiritually elite in some way. He would have deemed some people as totally unfit and unreachable spiritually. Apparently these thoughts included the woman who had entered his house, befriended and comforted Jesus, and who now was the center of everyone’s attention. After all, in Simon’s own words, “…she is a sinner.” (see Luke 7.39). But, that certainly was not the way Jesus [God] saw her! He saw her as a penitent lost person in need of the gift that only he could offer; He saw her as someone who understood the principles by which man may become righteous; He saw her as someone who had the required disposition of heart to become an adopted child of the Almighty!

The principle of righteousness that the woman understood was the same principle that brought Abraham into favor with God; it was the same principle that allowed Noah to escape the worldwide flood; furthermore, it is the same principle by which men today become righteous in God’s sight. When we understand how God treats sinners, we of necessity understand how sinners become righteous. Conversely, until we understand the principle by which man becomes righteous, we fail to understand how God treats sinners.

Paul stated this principle; here it is: “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.” (Galatians 5.6). This is a precise summary of the sinful woman’s right to fellowship the Savior; her faith worked through love. It was that unique and essential blend of faith, works, and love that allowed grace to work in her life and for her sins to be forgiven! Why can’t men see that same principle today?

How God treats sinners depends wholly upon how sinners treat God. When He is approached in the attitude and disposition of this woman, sins are forever forgiven and cast into the sea; when we come to Him on our terms, He reacts in an entirely different way! It is not God’s will or His nature to want to see men perish. He has done everything He can do short of hijacking man’s own will, to bring sinners to Himself. Every ounce of power and patience in heaven was and is being utilized to save sinners; that’s how God treat sinners

Questions:

1. What did Jesus say had saved the woman?

2. What else saved the woman? Did love have anything to do with it?

3. What about works? Weren’t they essential in as much as they were the means by which the woman demonstrated her love and faith? What is faith without works (read James 2.20 & 26)?

4. When we work the works of God, do we come to Him on our terms or on His terms?