Is it necessary to ask for forgiveness? Is it necessary to change our behavior? Most pagans and new age church attenders would answer “no” to both questions. Jesus gives one example where the answers are “No” and “Yes”.
For reference look at John 8:1-11. I will tag it on the end for those who don’t have a Bible handy and are not familiar with the passage. It is referred to as the “Woman Caught in Adultery” episode. A woman was brought to Jesus accused of adultery by a group of Pharisees. They were obviously trying to force Jesus into some kind of public display. They wanted Jesus to endorse stoning the woman to death as the law allow for. Jesus called their bluff and then spoke to the woman.
I don’t think there was any doubt the woman was guilty of adultery. It is also clear that Jesus was not condoning the behavior. He said two things and they must be taken together. First He said He did not condemn her and then Jesus said, “Go and sin no more.”
In regard to my opening question, notice that there is no record of the woman offering a defense or asking for forgiveness. It is possible that it was left out but clear it is not mentioned. Yet in spite of that Jesus offered her forgiveness. Interesting. I would submit that God is not into ritual flow charts, check boxes or games. I would suggest that He can read our hearts and even if we don’t say the approved phrases He responds as if we had. So, no, we don’t need to recite a set piece. It is probably better if we do because it helps to clarify our minds, but God is flexible in ways we don’t understand.
Was it expected that the woman would change her behavior? I would say it was not only expected but required. Jesus did not say, “Don’t worry. I’ve got your back.” He clearly told her to stop sinning. Would Jesus demand something that was impossible? That was a rhetorical question. I suggest that it is also vital to our salvation that we “go and sin no more”.
Here is the relevant passage from the Bible.
(John 8:1-11 KJV) Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.homo unius libri