Tag Archives: sins

Go And Sin No More!

One Way copy

“Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”

The scene was artistically portrayed in Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ. A woman dragged before the Lord, caught in the very act of adultery! Jesus’ hands reach down, tearing through the dusty soil, writing something on the ground. Slowly, feet stamp away, leaving only Jesus and the woman.

It is the condition in which many might find themselves: Remorseful, humiliated, caught in the act! Alone with Jesus on a dusty path. Then, we get a view of our Savior’s heart. He delights in pardoning sin and passing over our transgressions for his children (Micah 7:18).

It isn’t, as some might interpret, an unjust pardoning where God looks the other way at some sin (like adultery) while being severe toward another form of sin (pious arrogance of the religious elite).

Rather, Jesus is deeply concerned with the woman, far more than the crowd had been in their self-righteous zeal.

The crowd was jeering and demanding blood in their own concept of justice. Instead of Jesus weighting one sin over the other, it was the accusers who falsify the scales of sin, deeming adultery to be worse than, say, pride.

Instead, Jesus sees the condition of the sinner as a lost sheep, wandering away from the love of God, and weeps.

What he wrote in the sand is the topic of much speculation. Maybe it was the various commandments that they had broken? No one knows because scripture doesn’t tell us.

Perhaps that’s the point: Jesus doesn’t divulge the sins of others to us when defending against our accusers. Those of the Religious Order delight in exposing other people’s dirty deeds. But our Lord loves, concealing the matter, then paying for it Himself.

It is this kindness, this unfathomable love that draws Christ’s sheep to Him. We love Him because He first loved us. We chose Him, because He chose us! One might say, the woman’s very public sin actually brought her to Jesus, demonstrating how God will use the very evil in this world to bend to His sovereign purpose.

If Jesus did write the sins of the Pharisees in the sand, they did not notice His gentleness, or accept His forgiveness in the sacrifice that only He  could provide. If He showed them this mercy in writing out something that should be a call to repentance, humbly employing his finger in the dirt rather than in their faces, they spurned his grace.

Would you enter the Kingdom of God, the mysterious status of being clothed in Christ’s righteousness and being at once in the presence of God the Father as well as living in this earthly realm with the Spirit of Christ within you?

Then you must enter through the gate of poverty in spirit, having nothing to bring, being accused for your sin, but knowing there is no excuse. You were caught in the very act!

You must mourn for your sinfulness and for the lostness of this fallen creation.

You must be meek, falling at your Savior’s feet.

You must receive His peace that comes at great cost to Himself.

There is no condemnation for those who are found in Christ. There will be no one to accuse you because your sinful rebellion, along with every sin that poured forth from that foul fountain has been cleansed.

“Go, and sin no more…”

When we accept Jesus’ forgiveness, bought by His sacrifice, we can count on His strength to leave our sinful lifestyle behind us. We will struggle with the desires of the flesh, but we will no longer bear the mark of one caught in the very act.

Probing the Sinner’s Heart

Photo by Jacob Walti
Photo by Jacob Walti

For me there’s nothing more frightening than oral surgery. consequently, I cringed more during a torture scene in The Running Man than I probably would during some slasher movie (though I don’t watch them). Why? Because the Nazi doctor begins drilling out Dustin Hoffman’s teeth to get at the secret of “is it safe?”

Creepy.

But there might be something even more terrifying than oral surgery–or whatever strikes the most fear in your heart.

Imagine the classic blackmail scenario. Someone whose career is on the rise and is respected in the community suddenly receives a package with photos he or she would rather be kept secret.

We have a term for such secrets: Skeletons in the closet. And we all have them.

God has a term for this, too: Sin.

That’s not a very PC word these days, or any days–unless we’re talking about someone else, like a death row inmate or some convicted child molester or a corporate fat cat who bankrupted millions of investors. In our own lives, however, we have reasons for what we’ve done against God’s law. If you knew why you’d understand. Anyone else would do the same thing under the circumstances.

Anyone except Jesus.

And there’s the rub, as they say. We are not the measure of one another’s goodness. Jesus is the standard. Before His earthly life, the Law was the standard (which Jesus met completely).

We, unfortunately, do not meet God’s standard and can never do so this side of Heaven. Many will try. In fact, many believe that when they accept Jesus as Savior (more on that in a minute) God gives them the power to meet all the demands of the Law, perfectly.

The answer to that is both yes and no.

I’ll explain.

Yes! The process of the New Birth, or Salvation by Jesus is this: We must confess our sin and repent. By faith, we trust that our sinfulness was then placed on Jesus on the cross where He took the full wrath of God that we deserved, dying in our place. Every believer died on that cross with Christ. Every believer then rose from the grave three days later, with new, perfect life in God’s Spirit. Every believer ascended to Heaven with Jesus and is in the very Presence of God, pleasing to God on account of Jesus completed work. We believers have entered the Sabbath Rest of Heaven. The work is done.

No! While our position in Christ through our repentance, death burial, resurrection and ascension is complete and pleasing to God, satisfying the requirements of the Law (we died for our sin’s in Christ, which satisfied the death penalty), we are not done living in this sinful world, and we are tied to a dead body of sinfulness that drags us down. This body of death, as the Apostle called it, is our self-life which is at war with the new life within us. As long as we’re tied to the self-life, we will continue to break the requirements of the Law and require daily cleansing by Jesus our Lord and brother (as He washed the feet of His disciples). This keeps us from boasting that we can earn our salvation in any way, shape or form.

What happens throughout our Christian growth is that Jesus will continue to probe the depths of our sinful heart, the old self-life that is rotting and tied in our earthly nature in order to help us put these things to death.

But we can never expect to be free from that body of death without true Salvation, without actually being reborn.

I love how our tender Lord addressed the woman at the well. He didn’t say, “believe in me and all your sins are just swept under the rug and you get to pretend it never happened.”

That’s what we like to do. Let’s just forget that ever happened!

No, Jesus told her about her life of immorality. He told her how many men she’d slept with. And he offered her a chance at spiritual satisfaction that didn’t require her to go outside herself to get it!

Picture this, humanity going to the well to get satisfied, always looking outside of ourselves for refreshment and fulfillment. Then, God in flesh tells us, “Drink from my water (spirit) and you will never thirst again!”

No longer would we need to turn to the wells that dot the world, hauling pitchers and letting them down, wondering if we’ll get clean or filthy water. Jesus’ Holy Spirit will be a fountain of fresh water welling up inside, satisfying us in our loneliness, feeding us with bread that no one knows about in our hunger, and assuring us that we belong when we’re cast outside the camp of the world’s society.

But first, in order to receive this water, Jesus had to awake the woman’s memories of her sinfulness. He had to un-sod the grave of the woman’s past. He had to lay bare her life’s secret. Why?

The wound of our soul needs to be cleansed to the very bottom in order for us to be fully healed by the Great Physician.

There must be true confession before there can be full forgiveness.

We must put all of our rebellious sinfulness on the cross with Christ, all of it must be consumed, none of it kept back in order for Salvation’s atonement to be complete.

Have you let Jesus probe the depth of all your sinfulness? Or have you put only the most obvious things on the alter and kept back some of the portions for yourself like Ananias and Sapphira who attempted to lie to the Holy Spirit (recorded in the book of Acts)?

If you haven’t confessed all and repented, and you’re still breathing right now, you have time to do it. If you’d like to talk to someone about this, you’re welcome to Crystal Lake Baptist and we’d love to buy you coffee and talk this through.