The real reasons behind ‘go and sin no more’

When you read the words of Jesus: “go and sin no more,” there is a temptation to summarise that the Gospel is all about telling people to stop sinning. At other times, it appears to be about believing that Jesus says this because God is holy and wants us to be holy so that we can dwell with Him. There are also undertones of the threat of going to hell.

 

When I looked at these verses, however, I see a different pattern emerging when I approach them from the perspective of understanding God’s love for humankind. Basically, I am seeing two new strands which are not really discussed but which I believe are even more powerful and in effect the best way to understand these stories.

Go and sin no more

First, in every situation that Jesus said: Go and sin no more, he said only after he had done something significant. He healed a person and told him to go and sin no more (John 5:14). He stopped the stoning of a woman caught in adultery and told her to go and sin more (John 8:11). It is a minor point but something worth our attention. Jesus first ministered to the people in tangible ways. He met their felt needs. It was only after administering to their needs that he told them to go and sin no more. Perhaps for us, this is a cue that we should put more emphasis on ministering to people in very practical ways too as we consider to preach the Gospel. Perhaps we have the opportunity to make the preaching of the Gospel more impactful when we consider ministry to be broader than just the actual preaching.

Second, the next issue that is often overlooked in the impact of sin. When Jesus tells the people to go and sin no more, we often add fillers such as that he wants us to be holy because God is holy, or so that we can go to heaven, or because God hates sin. But there is a more practical side of sin that we tend to overlook. Sin kills, literally. In the case of the lady caught in adultery, what would be the consequence of getting caught again? Mob justice? A fight with the wife? Go and sin no more is more practical. When God tells us not to sin, it is obvious how impossible recommendation is for us to implement. He obviously knows that this is out of question. But He also knows that the wages of sin is death, literally. Sin robs us.It is in our interest not to sin because in a very real way, sin kills.

 

It is my prayer therefore that as Christians, we will approach ministry broadly so that we incorporate practical ministry as part of our overall efforts to spread the Gospel. But on the other hand, we would preach against sin not in a condemning way, but out of love, just as God wants us to avoid sin because of the damage sin does to us.

 

Remain blessed.

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