Sin No More
As a follower of Christ, moving from sinner to son, my mind is not set on the flesh like it once was. Can I go and sin no more? There are a couple of specific passages of Scripture in which Jesus told a person to go and sin no more. What did He mean by that? Was He talking about sin in general? Was He talking about a specific sin? Let’s explore Scripture and see what we can see. Let’s get a little background on the events of the early ministry of Christ Jesus.
The first sign performed in the ministry of Jesus was the transformation of water into wine at Cana in Galilee. It produced faith in the first disciples He had called to follow Him.
This, the first of His signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested His glory. And His disciples believed in Him.
John 2:11 ESV
A sign is often given to confirm, corroborate, or authenticate the message. It is sometimes a miracle or a healing. This was a change of substances from water to wine. It was a substantial sign that assisted the disciples in receiving the words of Jesus.
Sometime later, while passing through Samaria, Jesus met the woman at Jacob’s well. Samaria was a land that the Jews would typically travel around rather than through, as they looked down upon the Samaritan people. Although to bypass Samaria, if my geography is correct, one would need to go by ship or boat in the Mediterranean Sea, or cross over the Jordan River twice. It is a significant instance that the Messiah had left His people and gone into the heart of Samaria, to Sychar, which was near the center of the nation. He was actually on a return trip to Galilee from Judea.
After meeting the woman at the well and conversing with her, the subject of the Messiah came about.
The woman said to Him, “I know the Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ). When He comes, He will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her,
“I who speak to you am He.”
John 4:25-26 ESV
On a side note, I’ve heard some say that Jesus never claimed to be God. Though He didn’t use those exact words, this instance seems to be a claim to be God, having claimed to be Messiah. He also said, “I and the Father are one.” That’s in John 10:30.
Meanwhile, back to the Samaria story, the disciples joined Jesus at the well and urged Him to eat. Jesus used this time to show His disciples, among other things, that His primary focus was always on the call of God on His life; obedience in love. Pleasures, and even necessities of this world, took a backseat to the call of God and to serving Him.
Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.”
John 4:34 ESV
Jesus spent two days with the people of Sychar, and many came to believe in Him. Verse 43 states, “after two days He departed for Galilee.” So it appears that His return to Galilee was on the third day. Could this be a foreshadowing of future events when He leaves His people and then returns on the third day?
So He came again to Cana in Galilee, where He had made the water into wine. And at Capernaum there was an official whose son was ill.
John 4:46 ESV
Jesus told the man to go home, and that his son would live. The man believed Jesus and went home to find his son well. He and his whole household believed in Jesus.
What have we observed so far?
- Signs, in miracles and healings, were given to confirm the words of Jesus to the people.
- People came to faith through the hearing of the word.
- The signs anchored the word against disbelief.
- The first sign was a transformation of water to wine – physical objects.
- The second sign was the healing of the boy from Capernaum – a word of faith.
- Between those signs was the town in Samaria where many came to believe in Jesus through His encounter with the woman at the well – teaching and preaching of the truths of God.
- The disciples were front and center to learn of Jesus.
- The authority and power of God that Jesus had.
- The priority of obedience in love in serving God.
- The obedience over the tradition of man.
- The priority of the spiritual over the physical in serving God.
- The power in the word spoken in faith.
After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic
called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids – blind, lame, and paralyzed.
John 5:1-3 ESV
At this pool, it is said, an angel would stir up the waters and the first to enter the waters would be healed of whatever ailed them. We learn of a man who tried for a long time to receive such healing. Jesus would encounter this man.
One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been
there a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the
water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” And at once
the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. Now that day was the Sabbath.
John 5:5-9 ESV
Of course the religious Jews took issue because this took place on the Sabbath. They questioned the man as to why he was carrying his bed mat and who it was that healed him. At some point after that, Jesus encountered the man once again.
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.”
John 5:14 ESV
Sin no more. In the natural, to the carnal mind, that sounds like a pretty tall order. We grew so accustomed to sinning before being born again that we think that is the natural way of things. Again, we need to renew our mind. (Episode 45) Let’s look closely at the phrase, sin no more.
- Strong’s Greek #264, hamartanó
- Definition: to miss the mark, do wrong, sin
- Usage: originally: I miss the mark, hence (a) I make a mistake, (b) I sin, commit a sin (against God); sometimes the idea of sinning against a fellow-creature is present
- No more
- Strong’s Greek #3371, méketi
- Definition: no longer, not anymore
- Usage: no longer, no more
Whether in the verse, or in the definitions and usages of the words, I do not see a specific sin referred to in the command of Jesus to sin no more. The obvious question is, is it possible to sin no more. Is that too lofty a standard for a person? Is it out of reach for a child of God?
Some teachers may say that the problem the man had was caused by sin. But we don’t know that. Though the passage tells us that the man “had been an invalid for thirty-eight years,” there are many details we do not know, such as:
- The age of the man
- The physical ailment specifically
- The cause of the ailment
- How long he was at the pool
- Though Jesus somehow “knew that he had already been there a long time”
- Or anything else about his life, like how well known he was, or did he still have family, etc.
We do not know that his issue was caused by sin in his life. Sin is not always the cause, though it may be at times as a result of consequences for a certain behavior or decision. One example is the man Jesus healed who had been blind since birth.
As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born
blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
John 9:1-3 ESV
I do not need to know why someone is suffering unless God makes it clear to me that He wants to deal with an underlying issue. My job is to obey in love and do the works of God in the kingdom of heaven.
In another instance, as the scribes and Pharisees searched for some charge to bring against Jesus, they brought to Him a woman who had been caught in adultery. The end of the encounter was Jesus in the presence of only the woman standing before Him.
Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I
condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”
John 8:10-11 ESV
Some teachers may say that she was not to commit adultery anymore. This is true; she ought not commit adultery anymore. But again, Jesus did not specify a sin. Which sins would He permit for her? No sin is good in the sight of God.
Here again we have the phrase, sin no more. This is the same phrase and same Greek words as we looked at previously. We have two examples of this, and two is the number of witness. “Sin no more” is the command.
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of
the Scriptures we might have hope.
Romans 15:4 ESV
These stories are written for our instruction and encouragement. No sin is pleasing to God.
Are we operating in our mind according to the flesh or to the spirit? Our spirit in subjection to the Holy Spirit is the way we ought to operate daily.
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their
minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind
that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please
Romans 8:5-8 ESV
As a follower of Christ, moving from sinner to son, my mind is not set on the flesh like it once was, but on the Spirit.
You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ
does not belong to Him.
Romans 8:9 ESV
The Spirit of Christ dwells in us who are born again. Jesus dwells in us.
But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
Romans 8:10 ESV
We must live by the Galatians 2:20 principle as we renew our mind to gain the mind of Christ.
For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who
lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
Galatians 2:19-20 ESV
- I am to renew my mind by the washing of the word
- I am to take up my cross daily
- I am to crucify my flesh daily
- I am to sin no more
- If I say, “I am only human; I’m going to sin”
- I contradict the Scripture of being dead to the law and alive to Christ
- I prophesy negatively over myself with a defeatist attitude
- I set myself up to fail
- If I say, “By the grace of God I will not sin”
- I profess my dependence upon God
- I positively confess that I need not sin
But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, He sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until His
enemies should be made a footstool for His feet. For by a single offering He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.
Hebrews 10:12-14 ESV
Our sins were paid for by Christ Jesus on the cross. Also, should we sin now, we are forgiven by God as we humble ourselves, confess our sin, we are forgiven.
This is the message we have heard from Him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say we have
fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we
have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves,
and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all
unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
1 John 1:5-10 ESV
So, when I do sin, I can be forgiven quickly by repenting quickly.
Jesus, who is my example to follow, did not sin. Can I do likewise; is it possible? I have to say yes. Jesus showed it can be done. I am a new creation in Him. I believe Jesus wants to help me to not sin. I must submit myself to God’s ways, walking in obedience in love.
Temptations come one at a time. Even if they are many, each requires a decision or choice on my part. One at a time.
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but
with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV
With the temptation, I am to resist the devil, and take the way of escape as provided by God. If I sin, I am without excuse. I must humble myself, repent for my sinful behavior, and receive the forgiveness of God.
God is faithful.
- He limits temptation to what I am able to deal with
- He provides the way of escape
- With each and every temptation
- All of the temptations I receive have been received by others
- They are not unique to me
- Since they are individual, one at a time, I can deal with them one at a time
It is possible for us to go and sin no more. The question is, “Will we do it?” We must humble ourselves and be in Christ Jesus.
But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Matthew 19:26 ESV
Though this verse is in a teaching about how “only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven,” I believe the principle applies. Man operating in the flesh faces an impossible task of not sinning anymore. But with God, it is obviously possible as Christ Jesus lived a life without sin. We are to live in Christ, the life of an overcomer.
- We must renew our mind
- developing biblical preconceived notions from which to operate
- We are to build up the abundance of the heart that agrees with the mind of Christ
- The believer need not sin
- This is a reflection of the depth of relationship with God
- This is a reflection of the level of maturity in living the Christian life
- We have moved from bondage to sin, to freedom from sin
The Dream: The Bell Came Crashing Down