Series 58


by Francis Dixon
(Scripture Portion: Luke 7:36-50)

The incident recorded here is an illustration of our Lord’s words in Matthew 9:13 and of Paul’s words in 1 Timothy 1:15. It is a moving account of a woman who was well-known in her district for leading a sinful life. She was also well-known by the Lord Jesus. He was indeed a prophet and knew all about her – look at verse 39 and compare John 4:19 and 29. She came to love and trust Jesus as her Saviour and she heard His gracious word of assurance (verse 50). The fact that she was a sinner was this woman’s qualification for coming to the Saviour. He needed her and she needed Him. Thank God, the gospel is for sinners! Of course, the Pharisee in whose house Jesus was a guest was also a sinner, but whereas the woman was a 500-pence sinner (or debtor), Simon was only a 50-pence sinner! But they were both sinners and both needed forgiveness. See what Galatians 3:10 and James 2:10 say! As we look at this sinful woman, however, and trace her path from sin to salvation, from misery to a life of peace and joy, notice the five steps she took.

1. She acknowledged her sin and guilt

It would seem that she had met the Saviour before this, had listened to His gracious words and had actually believed His message and trusted Him. This interview with the Lord Jesus was not the first time she had seen or met Him. Although we have noticed and emphasised the fact that she was a sinner of a special kind, the important thing is that we are all sinners, though we may not be guilty of the sin which characterised the life of this woman. We are sinners by birth, sinners by nature and sinners by practice (Psalm 51:5; Ecclesiastes 7:20; Isaiah 53:6; Romans 3:23). It was because she, and because we, are in such need of salvation that the Lord Jesus came and shed His precious blood to make it possible for us to be saved (Matthew 1:21; 1 Peter 1:18-19). Compare Romans 5:6-8.

2. She exercised faith in the Saviour

We know this because Jesus said so (verse 50). Her action in coming to the Saviour in Simon’s house proved that she believed in Him and was beginning to trust Him, even if she had not yet fully trusted Him. What a moment it was for her to realise that she could be forgiven and made clean! – look up Isaiah 1:18. It was all too wonderful. In the Lord Jesus there was pardon and cleansing for her, just as there is for anyone who will come to Him and confess their sin, trusting completely in Him. It is not enough to believe that He can forgive you, that He can cleanse you; you must trust Him to do it. You must “wash and be cleansed” (2 Kings 5:13-14). This is what the sinful woman did.

3. She at once received full and free forgiveness

We can be quite sure about this because of verses 47-48. Jesus said it, and He is the only One who can forgive sin and cleanse the sinner (Acts 13:38). For your confident assurance look up these references and see what happens to your sins the moment you put your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for pardon.

  1. 1. According to Psalm 103:12 your transgressions are completely removed.
  2. 2. According to Isaiah 1:18 you are made absolutely clean.
  3. 3. According to Isaiah 38:17 your sins are cast behind God’s back.
  4. 4. According to Isaiah 44:22 the record of your sins is erased.
  5. 5. According to Isaiah 43:25 your sins are completely forgotten.
  6. 6. According to Micah 7:19 your sins are cast into the depths of the sea.
  7. 7. According to 1 John 1:9 there is full and free forgiveness for you, every moment of every day, as you come in humble confession and contrition before the Lord.


4. She demonstrated openly her faith and her love for the Lord

We are told this in verses 38-48. The guests were reclining on couches, supporting themselves with one elbow and serving themselves with their other hand. Suddenly this woman, now forgiven, trusting Jesus and overwhelmed with gratitude, came to express her love for her Lord. Look at the gift she brought; notice the tears that flowed; notice her kiss and the tenderness; and with what gratitude she kissed Jesus’ feet! She was forgiven and cleansed on the grounds of God’s free grace; but her love, her gifts, her tears and her kisses were the expression of her gratitude for the salvation which she had received by faith – look up Ephesians 2:8-10.

5. She changed her ways

The words “go in peace” in verse 50 literally read “go into peace”. So the Lord, having forgiven and cleansed her, also gave her the assurance of salvation and sent her out into a new life where she would know peace with God (Romans 5:1) and the peace of God (Philippians 4:7). She was now a new person altogether (2 Corinthians 5:17); she went out to live a changed life, no longer an immoral life but a completely new life. What we read here in Luke chapter 7 was only the beginning. She received a new heart, she built a new home, she gathered around her a new set of friends, she spent her time and earned her living in a new way – in fact everything became new. See the following references to people whose lives were completely transformed by the grace of God and the power of Christ: the demon-possessed man (Mark 5:15); Saul of Tarsus (1 Timothy 1:12-16); the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 6:9-11); the Thessalonians (1 Thessalonians 1:9); the Ephesians (Ephesians 2:1-12).