John 8:11 – Go and Sin No More

 

“Go and sin no more.” (John 8:11 KJV)

– “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (NIV)
– “Go, and from now on sin no more.” (ESV)
– “Go. From now on sin no more.” (NASB)

In the 8th chapter of John we meet a woman who is having, what is quite probably, a no good terrible horrible very bad day.

She has been caught in the middle of a sin so great that the consequence is being stoned to death. We don’t know, she may have been living in adultery for some time, or this may have been a first offense–but on this day, she comes face to face with the choices she has made in one horrifying moment.

And just as quickly as things turned for the worse, things turned around. Jesus, whom the Pharisees hoped to trip up in a public display, flipped the situation on the Pharisees, both running off the woman’s accusers and giving her a stay of execution.

Why?

Jesus came to bring people to repentance and free them from sin. 

But Jesus didn’t stop there. He didn’t simply say, “They’re gone, you can go now.” There’s a lot more going on here than Jesus saving her and sending her on her way.

 

1.) Jesus acknowledges her sin.

Jesus doesn’t deny or overlook her sin. They both know her sin, and in the face of that sin, he does the following.

 

2.) Jesus shows mercy, and forgives her sin.

Literally face-to-face with God in flesh, with the state of her sin on public display for all to see, Jesus shows mercy, releases her from the punishment of death, and showing forgiveness, releases her on her way.

 

3.) Jesus shows grace, and sets her on a new path.

Jesus doesn’t leave the woman with only the knowledge of her sin, or with only the freedom of forgiveness, but he charges her to follow through on what just happened by changing her life. “Go, and SIN NO MORE.”  She can make that change in her life because she had a life-changing experience with the Son of God himself!

 

Jesus is in the business of changing lives.

One of my favorite verses is Hebrews 12:1 which charges us to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles” so that we can run the race set out for us. Every time I read it, I picture the sin that easily entangles like a vine or a cord getting tangled up around the feet, tripping a person up. If you’ve ever gotten your feet tangled in a cord, you know how hard the fall is when you come face to face with the floor. (I’ve been there.)

In my mind, I picture the adulterous woman metaphorically wrapped up in a tangled sheet, symbolic of the sin she was caught in. But Jesus came to untangle the sin. He untangled her from the sinful sheet and covered her with his grace, mercy, and a life-changing message for her.

What an encouragement that we can come to Jesus with whatever is tripping us up, and he will change us, too. 

It’s not enough to just bring it to Jesus, or to just walk away with forgiveness. We have to face our sin and let him change us. We won’t be perfect, and we will have to keep letting Jesus change us more and more. But he will!

 

Image Credit: Public Domain

Amber Oliver

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