Go and Sin No More

(John 5:9-17)

As we study the scriptures there are often the obvious lessons that can be seen, but now and again we see some less obvious teachings. There is one such lesson in this section of scriptues. There were a number of times in the scriptures where Jesus healed or ministered to people and attached conditions to the word. We see a situation such as this in this section of the scripture. The Lord healed a man who had been paralyzed for thirty eight years (as discussed in my previous post) but after the healing he attached a condition to his work.

The Condition

After Jesus had healed the man he went away from him. The Pharisees questioned the man because he was carrying his bed, which he was not supposed to be doing on the Sabbath under the Laws of Moses. When asked who had healed him, the man did not know. Later on Jesus found the man in the temple and we see him speak to the man. “Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.” (verse 14)

Today when doctors work on people they will tell them certain conditions, activities and behaviors they should avoid if they are to maintain their health. For example, a person with a cardio disease will be told not to smoke, lose weight and get more exercise.

Here we see that Jesus added a condition to the healing. But the condition he added was more powerful than that of modern doctors. He told the man to sin no more that nothing worse befall him. In these words he was telling the man that he had a responsibility. The healing he had received from the Lord and the health he now had as a result of God's work in him could be undone if he went back to a life of sin. He had a responsibility to change his life, repent of old ways and seek the Lord.

We don't know what this man had done in his life that had caused the Lord to make such a condition, so we can only make assumptions about this situation. It would appear apparent that the man had been living a life of sin for the Lord to have made such a statement. I say this based on another similar situation where the Lord used similar words.

In John 8:3-11 we see another situation where the scribes and Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery to Jesus to see what he would say about her. Under the law she would have been stoned to death, but we see Jesus showed her compassion by not condemning her. However when he released her to go her way he said, “Go! And from now on, sin no more!” (John 8:11) In this situation it was quite clear that the woman was living in a sinful manner for she was acting in adultery. This the mercy of the Lord was given to her and she was given her life back and given a chance to now live a new life. But the attached condition was that she should not live a life in sin. She should repent and turn her life around.

The fact that the man Jesus healed was also given similar instructions suggests that he too may have been living in a similarly sinful manner. There is no question that all people have sinned and so the same could be said for all of us, but most of the headings the Lord conducted were not conditional as he often said, “Your faith has made you well!” So I can only presume that in this case there was a specific need for this man to turn his life around.

Why add a condition?

Now this begs the question why the Lord would add such conditions as these? Some healings and some of his other works were clearly not conditional but others were.

In my opinion I believe the reasons for these conditions were for the benefit of the people. They had receive the mercy and compassion of the Lord, and so the Lord was instructing them to change their lives to live in accordance with the ways of God. He was telling them to repent of their ways and to turn their life around to live in accordance with the ways of God.

And this aligns with other teachings. John the Baptist taught the people that they should, “Bear fruit that befits repentance.” (Luke 3:8) it is not enough to say that you have repented, you need to act in a manner that aligns with a repentant life. And that means turning away from a life of sin.

Paul also taught in Romans 2:4 that the kindness or grace of God is meant to lead you to repentance. So when the kindness of God was extended to the man who had been healed, and when the kindness of God had been extended to the woman caught in adultery, it was intended to lead them to repentance. All Jesus was doing was emphasizing that point by saying to go and sin no more. They had received the kindness and the grace of God and so should continue to live in that grace by living a repentant life.

A lesson for today

So what can we learn and take from these situations? In the same way we have received the grace of God to forgive our sins, so we too must live a repentant life and not turn back to old ways. We have been released from sin and must not look back.

And the Lord has added other warnings in the scripture about exactly this issue. In Luke 9:62 Jesus said, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” Think about these words for a minute. A man plowing a field must look forward to ensure the furrows are straight. You cannot plow a straight furrow by looking behind you all the time. Can you imagine driving forward and only looking in the rear vision mirror all the time? You would crash within minutes.

In the same way when the Lord has released you from any kind of bondage, whether the bondage to sin, sickness, infirmity or addiction, don't look back! You must go forward to live in your new life in the grace of God. If you look back at your old life, like trying to drive using only the rear vision mirror, you will crash. You will fail. Ad that is why the Lord told those he ministered to that they should go and sin no more. So too with us we must move forward and sin no more.

Finally, the apostle Peter gave the most graphic description of this situation if a person does turn back and turn away from the Lord. If after receiving the grace of God they choose to return to their life of sin, Peter explains their situation as follows in 2 Peter 2:20-22.

20 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first.
21 For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them.
22 What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”

The Lord has made you clean through his sacrifice and entering into his resurrection in baptism. If you then reject the new life and turn back to the world and the ways of your old life, you are doubly condemned because you should have known better. Thus we must heed the words of the Lord and ensure that we too, “Go and sin no more!”

(Picture sourced from stock.xchng www.sxc.hu/ taken by Bill Ault)

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2 Replies to “Go and Sin No More”

  1. Hi. Can I ask you what you think Born again is? Until we stop ALL sin letting our sin nature DIE, JESUS does not enter us. Until then we are having Him knock on our hearts, etc, but Him entering in happens once the sin nature is crucified. TOTALLY.

    FEW find the narrow path, many TRY to enter but cannot, yet they think they are. GOD cannot be mocked HE is Holy Holy Holy. Believeres in Jesus are not IN Jesus, I am not concerned w atheists, believers do not have the Spirit of Christ yet, I work on them.

    • 1 John 3:9 – “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.”

    • John 8:34 – Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

    • 1 John 5:18 – “We know that the person who has been born from God does not go on sinning. Rather, the Son of God protects them, and the evil one cannot harm them.”

    • Galatians 5:20 — “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.”

    UNLESS WE DIE TO sin asking for HEAVEN to come to us here, JESUS to enter us here, then we are not IN yet, make no mistake sister, its called the NARROW PATH few find for a reason.

    NO ambitions, no money, boys, girls, nothing… SURE AFTER we find JESUS for REAL then yes, or if we are married to DROP it all and go find Him then come back YES, but one cannot serve themselves and JESUS, never.

    • Colossians 2:11 — “In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ.”

    • Hebrews 10:26 – If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.

    • Matthew 24:12 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many FALSE prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.

    JESUS LITERALLY APPEARS TO THOSE WHO STOP ALL SIN DYING TO SELF 100 percent hating their life and all that is in it.

    NOTHING ELSE IS SALVATION JUST delusion thinking we are here to have fun and not serve Him and seek to find HIS HOLY SPIRIT so we can sin no more.

    LOTS more people will go to hell than heaven. LOTS. JESUS SAID THE SAME.

    1. Thanks for your comment Alex.

      One thing I would like to point out, in the first line you say, “Until we stop ALL sin letting our sin nature DIE, JESUS does not enter us.”

      It seems you are saying that man can stop sinning by his own strength or power or whatever. That is not what the Bible says. If it were possible for a man to stop sinning by his own means, there would be no need for Jesus to have been sacrificed for our sins. As John the Baptis said in John 1:29, “Behold, the lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” It is not US who can stop sinning, but Jesus who takes them away. We receive the freedom we have from sin only through faith and only by the grace of God.

      When we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, then we have the power to overcome the passions of our human nature that drive us to sin. It is by walking in the Spirit that we can overcome desire in our life. Man by himself cannot do this, only God can and that work was given to the Holy Spirit.

      Yes I agree we must hate sin in our life and do all we can to avoid it, but it is only by the death of Jesus and the working of the Holy Spirit that we can overcome and have the victory.

      You also talk about Jesus entering us. In fact when we are baptised into Jesus death, we “put on Jesus” and enter into His death. As Paul said in Gal 3:27, “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” It is as the Holy Spirit works in our life and transforms us into the image of Christ that Christ is formed in us, that is, the nature of Christ becomes our nature. Note, 2 Corinthians 3:18, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”

      God bless and thanks again for your comment.

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