The Francis Asbury Society

To Sin or Not To Sin?

Posted on | November 11, 2010 | Comments Off on To Sin or Not To Sin?

By Jim Harriman

John 5:14—Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.”

John 8:10-11—When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

For quite some time I have come to appreciate Jesus words to the man at the pool of Bethesda. Here was a fellow who had had an infirmity for 38 years! Finally, Jesus came along one day and asked him, “Do you want to be made well?” (John 5:6). Of course he did! We know the story…Jesus healed him, but then later he found him in the Temple and here is where we read these incredible words, “Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.”

We may think, “Well, this is an isolated incident.” But then all of a sudden, a few chapters over we read it again! This time Jesus is speaking to a woman who had been caught in the very act of adultery. All her accusers had left because of Jesus’ statement, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” (John 8:7). The scene is riveting. The Lord is left alone with this poor pitiful woman who has been shamed publicly. Then he lovingly says, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” Sin no more? What a statement!

In both incidents we have the Lord saying, “Go and sin no more.” Wow!

Does this fly in the face of modern thinking or what?! Much of modern Christianity suggests that Christians are just forgiven sinners (present tense). In other words, the only difference between a Christian and a sinner is that the former is forgiven and the latter is not, suggesting that habitual “Christian sinning” continues.

Somehow that kind of thinking doesn’t seem to fit Jesus’ words, “Go and sin no more.” Surely Jesus would not have given a command that was impossible to attain in this life. What kind of a God is that? Why would he tease us with a goal that is impossible to achieve? It seems the only way Jesus could say that with a clear conscience is because he knew and understood that it was possible to “go and sin no more.”

Note, he did not say that it was not possible to go and sin any more, but he does seem to suggest that it is possible not to sin. I am convinced that many struggle with this partly because of a wrong definition of sin. Some believe they are sinning when they are not. Others truly are sinning and need Christ’s forgiveness. We need a clear definition of sin. Does Jesus have an answer? The Apostle Paul sure thought so. Check out his words:

Romans 6:22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

I don’t know about you…but to hear the tone in Christ’s words along with Paul’s sure does have a positive ring to it, does it not? Maybe habitual sinning is not the norm after all in the Christian walk. Jesus and Paul certainly voiced it! You can almost hear them exclaiming, “Three cheers for victory!”

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